Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) belong to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes gourds, melons and squashes. Cucumbers are the 4th most cultivated vegetable in the world and is believed to have originated in the Indian sub-continent.
Nutritional Content of Cucumbers
The refreshing power of cucumbers is in part because of their high water content and is often part of low-carb diets. Importantly, cucumbers are low in fats and calories. They are rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C and D, calcium, potassium and folate making them excellent in the everyday diet.
Health Benefits of Cucumbers
1. Hydrates the Body: Freshly cut cucumber slices or cucumber juice can re-hydrate the body as cucumbers are 95 % water and replenish vital nutrients. This characteristic is great as it also helps flush out toxins and harmful free radicals from the body.
2. Reduces Headaches and Cures Hangovers: Cucumbers contain natural sugars, B-vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients and reduce intensity of hangovers. A glass of cucumber juice works great to rid of hangovers.
3. Fights Cancers: Lariciresinol, pinoresinol and secoisolariciresinol- 3 lignans that have been linked to reduced risk of several types of cancer, including breast, prostate, uterine and ovarian cancer are contained in cucumbers.
4. Strong Bones: Calcium and phosphorus are found in cucumbers and they help in building bones. Vitamin K found in cucumbers regulates bone mineralization and helps maintain bone density.
5. Aids Digestion: Digestive problems like heartburn, acidity, gastritis, constipation and even ulcers can be cured by the regular consumption of fresh cucumber juice. These benefits are mainly due to the high amounts of dietary fibers that aid digestion.
6. Oral Health: Foul mouth odors can be combated by eating cucumbers. Cucumbers also promote stronger teeth, gums and also kill bacteria in the mouth.
7. Weight Loss: The high water content, low calories and fat and high dietary fiber make cucumbers great for people who are looking to lose weight.
8. Control Blood Pressure: Cucumbers contain adequate amounts of potassium, magnesium and fiber which are great at regulating blood pressure for patients of both high and low pressure.
9. Stimulates Hair and Nail Growth: Cucumbers contain silicon and sulfur, elements that promote shiny healthy hair and nails.
10. Benefits Diabetics: Cucumbers contain a hormone which can be useful for the pancreas to produce insulin making them highly beneficial to diabetics.
11. Protein Digestion: Erepsin, an enzyme contained in cucumbers aids in the digestion of proteins.
12. Healthy Joints: Cucumbers are rich in silica which promotes healthy joints and strengthens connective tissues.
13. Reduces Cholesterol: Reportedly, compounds called sterols found in cucumbers help reduce cholesterol levels.
14. Kidney Health: Cucumbers lower uric acid levels in the system greatly benefiting the kidneys. They also show healing attributes in relation to diseases of the urinary bladder and the kidney. In fact, cucumbers are one of the best natural diuretics.
15. Healthy Skin: High water content and presence of particular vitamins and minerals work in tandem to nourish skin. Puffiness and swelling under the eyes can be alleviated due to the ascorbic acid and caffeic acid present in cucumbers that bring down water retention rates.