Although generally considered a vegetable, the cucumber is actually a fruit.
It is rich in beneficial nutrients, as well as certain herbal compounds and antioxidants that can help treat and even prevent certain diseases.
In addition, cucumbers are low in calories and rich in water and soluble fiber, making them ideal for promoting hydration and weight loss.
1. Contains antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that block oxidation, a chemical reaction that forms highly reactive atoms with unpaired electrons called free radicals.
The buildup of these harmful free radicals can lead to several types of chronic disease.
In fact, oxidative stress caused by free radicals has been linked to cancer and heart, lung and autoimmune diseases.
Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are particularly rich in beneficial antioxidants that can reduce the risk of these conditions.
One study measured the antioxidant power of cucumber by adding 30 elderly people to the cucumber powder.
At the end of the 30-day study, cucumber powder caused a significant increase in several markers of antioxidant activity and improved antioxidant status.
However, it is important to note that the cucumber powder used in this study most likely contained a higher dose of antioxidants than a regular serving of cucumber.
Another in vitro study looked at the antioxidant properties of cucumbers and found that they contain flavonoids and tannins, which are two groups of compounds that are particularly effective at blocking harmful free radicals.
2. It is rich in nutrients
Cucumbers are low in calories but rich in many important vitamins and minerals.
An unpeeled raw cucumber weighing 11 ounces (300 grams) contains:
- Calories: 45
- Total fat: 0 grams
- Carbs: 11 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 13% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 63% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 11% of the RDI
- Potassium: 12% of the RDI
- Manganese: 13% of the RDI
Recommended Daily Intake
Although the typical serving size is about one-third of the cucumber, eating a a standard serving would provide about one-third of the nutrients listed above.
In addition, cucumbers have high water content. In fact, cucumbers are made up of about 96% water.
To maximize the nutrient content, cucumbers should be eaten unpeeled. Peeling them reduces the amount of fiber, as well as certain vitamins and minerals.
3. It can help lose weight.
Cucumbers can potentially help you lose weight in several different ways.
First of all, they are low in calories.
Each serving per cup (104 grams) contains only 16 calories and the whole 11-ounce cucumber (300 grams) contains only 45 calories.
This means that you can eat many cucumbers without taking in extra calories, which leads to weight gain.
Cucumbers can make salads, sandwiches, and accompaniments for freshness and aroma, and can also be used as a substitute for more caloric alternatives.
In addition, the high water content of cucumbers can also help to lose weight.
One the study reviewed 13 studies, including 3,628, and found that eating water-rich, low-calorie foods was associated with a significant reduction in body weight.
4. It can lower blood sugar
Several animals and in vitro studies have shown that it can lower blood sugar and prevent certain complications of diabetes.
An the animal study looked at the effects of various plants on blood sugar. Cucumbers have been shown to lower and effectively control blood sugar.
Another the animal study caused diabetes in mice and then supplemented them with cucumber crust extract. The skin of a cucumber completely changed the diabetes-related changes and resulted in a decrease in blood sugar.
In addition, an in vitro study has shown that cucumbers can be effective in reducing oxidative stress and preventing complications from diabetes.
However, current data are limited to in vitro and animal studies. More research is needed to determine how cucumbers can affect people's blood sugar.
5. Promotes hydration
Water is essential for the functioning of your body, playing many important roles.
It is involved in processes such as temperature control and the transport of waste and nutrients.
In fact, proper hydration can affect everything from physical performance to metabolism.
While you meet most of your fluid needs by drinking water or other fluids, some people may get up to 40% of their total water intake from food.
Fruits and vegetables, in particular, can be a good source of water in your diet.
A study evaluated the state of hydration and collected food data from 442 children. They found that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables was associated with better hydration.
Since cucumbers contain about 96% water, they are particularly effective at improving hydration and can help you meet your daily fluid needs.
6. It can promote regularity.
Eating cucumbers can help maintain regular bowel movements.
Dehydration is a major risk factor for constipation, as it can change the water balance and make it difficult to pass stools.
Cucumbers are rich in water and contribute to hydration. Maintaining hydration can improve stool consistency, prevent constipation, and help maintain regularity.
In addition, cucumbers contain fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements.
In particular, pectin, a type of fiber soluble in cucumbers, can help increase the frequency of bowel movements.
One study involved 80 participants with pectin. It has been found that pectin accelerates the movement of the intestinal muscles while nourishing beneficial bacteria in the intestines that improve digestion.
7. Easy to add to your diet.
Sweet with a distinctly fresh and refreshing taste, cucumbers are usually served fresh or marinated in everything from salads to sandwiches.
Cucumbers are also often eaten raw as a low-calorie snack or can be combined with hummus, olive oil, salt or a vinaigrette to add a little more flavor.
They are low in calories, but contain many important vitamins and minerals, as well as being rich in water.
Eating cucumbers can lead to many potential health benefits, including weight loss, balanced hydration, regular digestion, and low blood sugar.