Cucumber or Cucumis sativus is a fruit from the watermelon and pumpkin family. It is a creeping plant from which an elongated, green fruit of approximately 15 cm is obtained.
It has high concentrations of water and great contributions of vitamins , minerals and antioxidants . It is for this reason that it is considered diuretic, cleansing and moisturizing.
In the following article, we will mention seven of the main benefits that eating cucumbers provides for our health, its nutritional properties, and various ideas for adding it to our diet.
What are the health benefits of cucumber?
The properties that confer the nutritional quality of this fruit are those that allow it to be capable of producing an important list of benefits to the consumer’s body. They will be mentioned below to allow their recognition and use:
1. Contains antioxidants that fight free radicals
Antioxidants are molecules that block oxidation , a chemical reaction that forms highly reactive atoms with unpaired electrons known as free radicals. The buildup of these damaging free radicals can lead to various types of chronic diseases.
In fact, oxidative stress caused by free radicals has been associated with heart and lung cancer and autoimmune diseases. Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are especially rich in beneficial antioxidants that may reduce the risk of these diseases.
Highlights: One study measured the antioxidant power of cucumber by giving 30 older adults a cucumber powder supplement. At the end of the 30-day study, cucumber powder caused a significant increase in several markers of antioxidant activity and improved antioxidant status. (1)
Another study investigated the antioxidant properties of cucumbers and found that they contain flavonoids and tannins , which are two compounds that are especially effective at blocking damaging free radicals. (two)
2. Reduces blood cholesterol levels
Research shows that cucumbers contain certain compounds that might lower blood cholesterol levels. These compounds include phytosterols, or plant sterols, which can be found in many types of fruits and vegetables. (3)
Studies show that plant sterols can lower LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 5-15% in most people.
Highlights: In a study that included participants with and without diabetes supplementation with plant sterols, LDL cholesterol levels were found to be reduced by 15% in non-diabetic participants and an impressive 26.8% in non-diabetic participants. diabetics. (4)
Cucumbers also contain pectin , a naturally occurring type of soluble fiber that might lower blood cholesterol. One animal study found that administration of pectin extracted from cucumbers caused a significant decrease in both blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels .
3. Lowers blood sugar
Various animal studies and test tube studies have found that cucumbers may help lower blood sugar levels and prevent some complications of diabetes. (5)
Another animal study examined the effects of various plants on blood sugar. Cucumbers have been shown to effectively reduce and control these levels.
You should know: Cucumbers may also be effective in reducing oxidative stress and preventing diabetes-related complications.
4. Improves blood circulation
Cucumber has the ability to help our body’s blood circulation , due to its low fat content and high concentrations of antioxidants. It is also rich in vitamin K which strengthens the health of our cardiovascular system, produces detoxification in the body and reduces the risk of hardening of blood vessels. (6)
5. Helps keep the body hydrated
Water is crucial for the proper functioning of the body, playing numerous important roles. It is involved in processes such as temperature regulation and the transport of waste and nutrients. In fact, being adequately hydrated can affect everything from physical performance to metabolism. (7)
While most commonly, people meet most of their hydration needs by drinking water or other fluids alone, some people can meet up to 40% of their total water needs from food. Fruits and vegetables, in particular, can be a good source of water in your diet .
Note: Because cucumbers are 96% water , they are especially effective at maintaining hydration and can help you meet your daily fluid needs.
6. Stimulates intestinal transit
Eating cucumber can help to have regular bowel movements . Dehydration is a major risk factor for constipation, as it can upset your water balance and make it difficult to pass stool.
In this sense, cucumbers have a high water content and promote hydration . Staying hydrated can improve stool consistency, prevent constipation, and help maintain regular bowel movements . Also, cucumbers contain fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements. (8)
Takeaway: In particular, pectin , the type of soluble fiber found in cucumbers, can help increase bowel movement frequency.
In fact, one study had 80 participants who were given a pectin supplement. Pectin was found to speed up intestinal muscle movement , plus feeding beneficial bacteria in the gut improved digestive health.
7. Promotes weight loss
Cucumbers could help you lose weight in different ways. First of all, they are low in calories. Each one-cup (104-gram) serving of cucumbers contains just 16 calories , while a whole 11-ounce (300-gram) cucumber contains just 45 calories.
This means that you can eat a lot of cucumbers without eating all the extra calories that lead to weight gain.
Note: Cucumbers can add freshness and flavor to salads , sandwiches, and side dishes and can also be used as a replacement for higher-calorie alternatives.
Plus, the high water content of cucumbers might also help you with weight loss . One investigation analyzed 13 studies, including 3,628 people, and found that eating foods high in water and low in calories was associated with a significant decrease in body weight. (9)
Cucumbers are very low in calories but contain a large amount of important vitamins and minerals. An 11-ounce (300-gram) raw, unpeeled cucumber contains the following:
- Calories: 45
- Total fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 11 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 14% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)
- Vitamin K: 62% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 10% of the IDR
- Potassium: 13% of the RDI
- Manganese: 12% of the RDI
Although, the typical serving size is about one-third of a cucumber, so eating a standard serving provides about one-third of the nutrients listed.
Important: To maximize their nutrient content, cucumbers should be eaten unpeeled . Peeling them reduces the amount of fiber, as well as certain vitamins and minerals, in one serving.
How can you consume cucumber?
Being mild with a distinctly cool, refreshing flavor, cucumbers are commonly enjoyed plain or pickled in everything from salads to sandwiches.
Cucumbers are also often eaten raw as a low-calorie snack or can be spread with hummus, olive oil, salt or some salad dressing to add a little more flavor. With a little creativity, cucumbers can be enjoyed in many ways.
Here are some ideas to help you incorporate cucumbers into your diet:
- Baked Cucumber Fried Chips
- vinaigrette cucumbers
- Thai cucumber salad.
- Infusion of strawberry, lime, cucumber and mint water
- Cucumber and mint sorbet
- Grilled Goat Cheese Cucumbers
- The cucumber is a long fruit, with high concentrations of water and family of the pin and pumpkin. It has always been recognized as a diuretic and moisturizer.
- The levels of antioxidants it provides help the body fight free radicals and improve blood circulation.
- Its diuretic and moisturizing capacity also favors the digestive process and stimulates intestinal transit, plus it is low in calories, provides fiber and keeps the body very healthy.
- It is rich in vitamins and minerals, provides protein and carbohydrates and does not contain fat , so it also takes care of cardiovascular health.