There are a lot of people that always seem to get a craving for pickles, though some might not know where pickles come from. At one point, each pickle was a cucumber before it went through the process of being brined. Still, there are many of us that are eating plenty of cucumbers without being pickled. They might have a much different taste, but cucumbers themselves are pretty sweet for being a fruit that most consider a vegetable.
The most popular way of eating a cucumber is as a salad topping, though you can slice them up and eat them on their own. Some don’t even eat cucumbers at all, instead opting to put slices of them on their faces. No matter how you are eating or using cucumbers, there are plenty of benefits that you can get. Let’s look at the nutritional breakdown of cucumbers, and the proven health benefits that you can start seeing immediately.
Nutrition of Cucumbers
Cucumbers are tremendously low in calories, as you are only getting 16 in each serving. It’s not a small serving, either, as you get an entire cup peeled and chopped. There isn’t a large amount of any one nutrient in cucumbers, but you are getting a wide range without the calories. Cucumbers contain about one gram of both protein and dietary fiber in each serving. Of the vitamins, vitamin K is the most abundant with 12 percent of your daily recommended value.
Cucumbers are also a significant source of vitamin C, bringing seven percent of your daily value. The many other vitamins and minerals all come in at around five percent of recommended value. These include vitamin A, thiamin, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese and calcium. Though your body will need more nutrients, cucumbers are a great addition to your diet.
We mentioned earlier that some people like to take cucumber slices, and place them over their eyes. This is a great way to make your skin more moisturized, giving yourself a glowing complexion. The reason for this is because cucumbers contain silica, which combines with water to give your skin that healthier complexion. In the long run, the better absorption of water allows for your skin to avoid signs of aging such as wrinkles and sunspots.
Whether you are placing slices on your eyes to reduce swelling and redness or mixing cucumbers into a facial or even a lotion, cucumbers will help in a lot of different ways. They also smell better than a lot of vegetables and fruits that are used in beauty products, making them very refreshing and relaxing at the same time. No trip to the spa is complete without some sort of cucumber treatment.
As we see how common heart disease can be, plenty of us are on the hunt for heart healthy foods so that we can avoid problems in the long run. Cucumbers are a good asset for heart health, as they contain a healthy amount of potassium. Potassium helps your heart by allowing it to contract with more efficiency.
It has also been shown through studies that the minerals in cucumbers (including potassium) are able to lower your blood pressure. The studies showed that foods such as cucumbers can drop your blood pressure by up to six points in the process. There hasn’t been a major finding as to the cucumber’s effect on cholesterol, but it certainly won’t be raising your cholesterol levels anytime soon.
If you are trying to take control of your blood sugar or even manage your diabetes, cucumbers are the way to go. Cucumbers are so low on the glycemic index, in fact, that their number doesn’t even register on the scale. This means that there are no carbohydrates in cucumbers that get processed into glucose, so you won’t be seeing a spike or a crash in your blood sugar because of cucumbers.
Even most fruits and vegetables contain a decent amount of sugar in each serving, but that’s not the case with cucumbers. It’s a bit surprising, too, as they are naturally sweet. You may have noticed an increase in cucumber extract, which has been used in supplements that increase your vitamin intake and control blood sugar.
Cucumbers are considered by some to be one of those “negative calorie foods” because of how much you can eat without taking in many calories at all. Eating an entire cup of chopped cucumbers brings in nearly no calories, with just 16 in each serving. With the process of chewing and digesting, you’re only getting a few net positive calories when eating a cup of cucumbers.
Eating cucumbers as a snack alone should be enough to help kickstart your diet, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Since cucumbers contain a decent amount of fiber, this fruit will actually help you feel more full. Add in the fact that the sweeter taste might even help you curb some of your cravings, and cucumbers are the perfect ammo for any war against weight.
Cucumbers are packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that allow your body to fight off a bevy of diseases. Among the best ones are lignans that are in the polyphenol family. Early studies that have been conducted in lignans have showed that you can reduce your chance of certain types of cancer (including prostate and breast cancer) by consuming them more often.
As for the anti-inflammatory properties, you are helping to keep free radicals at bay, while the vitamins boost your immune system. When working together, you are making sure that you avoid minor illnesses in the short term and major ones in the long term. Of course, you should be taking more vitamins on top of cucumbers, but it’s a good base to build upon.
Summing it Up
There really aren’t many negatives that you need to worry about when it comes to cucumbers. Just like any other fruit or vegetable, they are susceptible to pesticides or other viruses, but buying them from a supermarket should just about eliminate any fear you have. There are also some that might be allergic to cucumbers, though that is also rare. The only thing you really need to worry about is eating too many cucumbers causing you to have excessive gas.
For some of us, you might not even be able to tell if your level of gas has even raised or lowered. You also don’t want to eat too many because cucumbers are a diuretic, so if you’re not drinking enough water, you can become dehydrated. Adding cucumbers to your diet will likely not lead to any problems at all, as long as you aren’t exclusively eating cucumbers as part of some crazy diet. So enjoy cucumbers all you can, and you’ll see the fantastic health benefits involved.