Cucumber has long been known for its numerous health benefits- the ‘cooling’ veggie is said to prevent dehydration and constipation. Moreover, known for its anti-diabetic, lipid-lowering and antioxidant activity, cucumber has a detoxifying and cleansing effect on the overall health. Cucumber provides sufficient amount of essential nutrients including vitamins C and K, and turns out, it may help you lose weight too!
This low-calorie food makes for a great snack and can be included in a range of delicious weight-loss friendly dishes from sandwiches, salads to coolers. Here are some benefits of cucumber and amazing reasons to add it in your daily diet:
The electrolytes in cucumbers can help prevent dehydration.
Cucumbers consist mostly of water, and they also contain important electrolytes. They can help prevent dehydration in hot weather or after a workout.
For people who do not enjoy drinking water, adding cucumber and mint can make it more attractive. Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining a healthy intestine, preventing constipation, avoiding kidney stones, and more.
2. Bone health
Vitamin K helps with blood clotting, and it may support bone health.
A 142-gram (g) cup of chopped, unpeeled, raw cucumber provides 10.2 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend an intake of:
– 90 mcg a day for females aged 19 years and over.
– 20 mcg for males of the same age
Cucumber also contains 19.9 milligrams (mg) of calcium. Adults need 1,000–1,200 mg of calcium a day, depending on sex and age. Vitamin K helps improve calcium absorption. Together, these nutrients can contribute to good bone health.
As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, cucumbers contain high levels of bitter-tasting nutrients known as cucurbitacin.
According to an article in the International Journal of Health Services, cucurbitacins may help prevent cancer by stopping cancer cells from reproducing.
A 133-g cup of chopped cucumber with its skin also provides around 1 g of fiber. Fiber may help protect against colorectal cancer.
4. Cardiovascular health
The American Heart Association (AHA) note that fiber can help manage cholesterol and prevent related cardiovascular problems.
A 142-g cup of unpeeled cucumber also provides 193 mg of potassium and 17 mg of magnesium. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults consume 4,700 mg of potassium each day and 310–410 mg of magnesium, depending on sex and age.
Reducing sodium intake and increasing potassium intake may help prevent high blood pressure.
Cucumbers may play a role in controlling and preventing diabetes. It contains substances that may help lower blood sugar or stop blood glucose from rising too high.
One theory is that the cucurbitacins in cucumber help regulate insulin release and the metabolism of hepatic glycogen, a key hormone in the processing of blood sugar.
One study found that cucumber peel helped manage the symptoms of diabetes in mice. This may be due to its antioxidant content.
Fiber, too, may help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes, according to the AHA.
Cucumbers score low score on the glycemic index (GI). This means they provide essential nutrients without adding carbohydrates that can increase blood glucose.
Cucumbers may have anti-inflammatory benefits. Inflammation is a function of the immune system.
Experts believe inflammation may help trigger the development of various health conditions, such as:
– cardiovascular disease
– autoimmune conditions
7. Skin care
Some research has suggested that cucumber’s nutrients may provide benefits for skin health.
Applying sliced cucumber directly to the skin can help cool and soothe the skin and reduce swelling and irritation. It can alleviate sunburn. Placed on the eyes, they can help decrease morning puffiness.
Cucumber also contains a range of B vitamins, vitamin A, and antioxidants, including a type known as lignans.
Antioxidants help remove substances from the body known as free radicals. Some free radicals come from natural bodily processes, and some come from outside pressures, such as pollution. If too many collect in the body, they can lead to cell damage and various types of disease.
Studies have suggested that the lignans in cucumber and other foods may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer.