Do you like cucumbers? Pick a firm, dark green cucumber and pop it into your basket when you go out shopping and congratulations! You have just bought yourself a fruit (yes fruit, not a vegetable) full of good health! Well while most people think of cucumbers as vegetables, they are actually a fruit(surprised?) They contain seeds and grow from the ovaries of flowering plants. They are most used “vegetables” in salads and sandwiches, because they add delicious crunch to salads, but how healthy are cucumbers?
Cucumber is about 96 percent water, which puts it on top of the list of high-water content fruits and vegetables, along with watermelon, lettuce and others. That’s a statistic to remember when working out, because research shows eating cucumbers after an intense exercise session may hydrate the body twice as effectively as plain water or sports drinks. Scientists attribute the phenomenon to the amino acids, natural sugars, and vitamins found in cucumbers. Today let us look at this list of the impressive health benefits that a cucumber carries:
Cucumber Helps In Managing Stress
Stress is a leading factor behind many health problems of today’s time and we should do our best to stay as cool and relaxed as possible. Eating cucumbers help us in doing so because of the presence of multiple B vitamins like vitamin B1, vitamin B5 and vitamin B7 in them, and these vitamins help in combating stress and provides relaxation.
Keeps You Hydrated
Water is crucial to your body’s function as it plays numerous important roles. Proper hydration can affect everything from physical performance to metabolism. If you are too busy to drink enough water, munch on the cool cucumber, which is 96 percent water. It will cheerfully compensate!
Flushes Out Toxins
Cucumber is a wonderful cleansing agent and eating cucumber on a regular basis helps in removal of accumulated waste and toxins out of the body that is, all that water in cucumber acts as a virtual broom, sweeping waste products out of your system. Also cucumber is considered as a natural diuretic agent as it aids in the urine secretion and this makes it very effective for urinary bladder, kidney, liver and pancreatic functions.
May brighten skin
Everyone is familiar with the practice of putting sliced cucumber on your eyelids at the spa right? Yeah, cucumber nourishes you with vitamins A, B and C, gives you energy and keeps you radiant. Give it more power by juicing cucumber with carrot and spinach, it supplies skin-friendly minerals: magnesium, potassium, silicon. That’s why cucumber-based treatments are popular in spas.
Aids In Weight Loss
Cucumbers are very low in calories, yet they make a filling snack (one cup of sliced cucumber contains just 16 calories.) This means that you can eat plenty of cucumbers without packing on the extra calories that lead to weight gain. Cucumbers can add freshness, crunchiness and flavor to salads, sandwiches and side dishes and may also be used as a replacement for higher calorie alternatives.
Support Heart Health
Cucumber is good for our heart and cardiovascular health. It contains potassium, which is associated with lower blood pressure levels. A proper balance of potassium both inside and outside your cells is crucial for your body to function properly. Potassium in our body interacts with sodium to help control muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission and heart function. So if you want to keep a control on your blood pressure level and live a healthy life then this is a very valid reason to eat cucumber for health.
Excellent Source of Vitamin K
Cucumber is rich in vitamin K. One cup of sliced cucumber contains about 19 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K. This essential nutrient plays an important role in blood clotting and bone health.
May Lower Blood Sugar
Cucumber has been found to be very beneficial for the patients of diabetes because it possesses a hormone that is required by beta cells during insulin production. The glycemic index of cucumber is zero which means eating cucumber doesn’t contribute to increasing in blood sugar level. Although there are carbohydrates present in cucumber but this carbohydrates can be digested by diabetic patients very easily and helps in controlling diabetes.
Protects The Brain
Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin that appears to play an important role in brain health. The fisetin helps reduce the risk of development of cognitive diseases and other age-related neurological disorders/diseases like Alzheimer’s etc. In addition to this, fisetin has been found to prevent memory and learning impairments.
Relieves Bad Breath
The phytochemicals in cucumber can kill the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath (2). Hold a slice of cucumber against the roof of your mouth for around a minute and feel refreshed.
Some Side Effects of Cucumber are;
- Bloating And Flatulence
- Frequent Urination
- Oral And Skin Allergy
- May Cause Sinusitis
- May Cause heart burns
Also Note that the cooling effects of cucumber can delay menstrual periods. Hence, eating cucumber for about a week before your dates can keep your periods at bay for quite some time. You may also avoid eating cucumber during menstruation.
Here are a few tips you can try to avoid the side effects of cucumber as mentioned above.
- Wash the cucumber thoroughly under running water.
- Remove the peels of the cucumber to protect yourself from the toxins hidden on the peels.
- If you find it difficult to munch on raw cucumbers, then try sautéeing or grilling it.
Obviously, the health benefits of cucumbers are quite surprising. So enjoy cucumbers in your salad, pasta, sandwich or just grill them with a seasoning of your choice. You can even bake them like your favorite potato chips! However as you already know, excess of anything is bad and same goes with cucumbers. You should always eat cucumbers in moderation to prevent the aforementioned side effects.
…healthy foods, healthy lives.
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