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Health Benefits of Cucumber
Cucumber is a popular snack and ingredient in many people’s diets. In fact, the demand for fresh cucumbers in the United States has been on the rise since the 1970s.1
According to botanical classification, cucumber is considered a fruit since it is a seed-bearing product and it grows from the flower of a cucumber plant. However, within culinary classification, cucumbers are considered vegetables because it has a tougher texture, tastes blander, and often requires cooking in recipes.2
Cucumber contains essential nutrients and is high in water content. Here are some of the health benefits of cucumber.
High in nutrients
Cucumber contains a lot of nutrients. One raw cucumber contains several essential vitamins and minerals including 62% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, 14% of the recommended vitamin C, 13% of potassium, and 12% of manganese.3
These vitamins and minerals are important for the body:
- Vitamin K helps make proteins needed for blood clotting and building bones
- Vitamin C helps boost immunity and collagen production4
- Potassium is necessary for the management of fluid levels inside your cells, while also supporting a healthy blood pressure and muscle contractions5
- Manganese aids your body in bone growth, blood sugar regulation, and nerve function6
Cucumbers are low in calories, making them a great snack if you’re trying to manage your weight or lose weight. One medium-sized cucumber is only 45 calories.
If you eat half or a third of a cucumber, the number of calories is even lower. Additionally, cucumber contains a high amount of water and fiber, helping you to stay full for longer.
High amounts of sodium can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure can negatively affect the heart and increase your risk of heart disease.
Cucumbers are low in sodium, making them a great heart-healthy food.7 Cucumber is also high in potassium, which works to lessen the effects of sodium and ultimately lower your blood pressure. Additionally, cucumber contains fiber, which binds to fatty acids and flushes them out the body and helps to reduce your cholesterol levels.8
Cucumbers contain antioxidants, which are molecules that block oxidation. This is important because oxidation is a reaction formed with free radicals, which are harmful and can lead to several types of chronic diseases.9
Antioxidants, including flavonoids and lignans that are found in cucumber, are essential when it comes to fighting inflammation in the body, which can help reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Helps manage blood sugar
Cucumber is a good snack if you’re trying to manage your blood sugar levels. They score low on the glycemic index (GI), which is a rating system that measures how quickly food affects your blood sugar. This makes cucumber a good snack for those who have diabetes.7
Additionally, if someone is at risk for obesity or type 2 diabetes, cucumber is a good snack choice because it is low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar, all of which are important to consume in moderation. The antioxidants in cucumbers might also help slow the progression of diabetes.
Fruits and vegetables can be a good source to increase your intake of water, especially cucumbers. Cucumbers can promote hydration because they are 96% water.3
Water is important because it aids in hydration, which is crucial to your body’s normal functioning such as temperature regulation and nutrient transportation.
Promotes gut health
Cucumbers can help promote gut health. The high-water content in cucumbers naturally aids in digestion, which allows your body to properly break down food and nutrients.7
There’s also fiber in cucumbers, which helps to regulate bowel movements and prevent gastrointestinal blockages.8
Inflammation in the body can lead to many health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
Cucumbers are one of the foods that can help fight inflammation in the body due to polyphenols called lignans. Lignans have a structure similar to steroids, which work by reducing inflammation in the body.10
Provides heartburn relief
Many people experience heartburn, which is caused by acid in the stomach reaching into the esophagus and throat.
Cucumber is considered to be an alkaline fruit, which helps to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. Additionally, since most of the cucumber consists of water, it can dilute or weaken any acid in the stomach.10
Cucumbers are high in vitamin K, which is a bone-healthy vitamin that reduces your risk of issues such as bone fractures.
Vitamin K also helps your body absorb calcium, which is needed for building and maintaining strong, healthy bones. Having a low bone mineral density can increase your risk for osteoporosis.7
How to Eat Cucumbers
One of the best parts about cucumbers is how versatile they are. They can be enjoyed alone as a snack, or added to many different meals and recipes. Here are some ideas on how you can eat cucumbers.
- Slice cucumber and eat it as a snack with ranch or hummus
- Add cucumber to your veggie plate or tray
- Make cucumber chips
- Add cucumbers to your salad
- Make fresh cucumber juice
- Add cucumbers as an ingredient in your smoothie
- Add sliced cucumbers to your sandwich or wrap
- Eat your sliced cucumber as a cracker, topped with cream cheese and veggies
About Saber Healthcare Group
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Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Fresh cucumber imports capture nearly 90 percent of U.S. market.” U.S. Department of Agriculture, ers.usda.gov. Accessed May 11th, 2023. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/chart-gallery/gallery/chart-detail/?chartId=101346.
- “Is a Cucumber a Fruit or a Vegetable and Why?” Co-founded by the European Union, eufic.org. March 4th, 2020. Accessed May 15th, 2023. https://www.eufic.org/en/healthy-living/article/is-a-cucumber-a-fruit-or-a-vegetable-and-why#:~:text=The%20botanical%20classification%3A%20Cucumbers%20are%20fruit.,-A%20botanist%20would&text=A%20botanical%20fruit%20would%20have,the%20flower%20of%20the%20plant.&text=With%20this%20definition%20in%20mind,flower%20of%20the%20cucumber%20plant.
- Ajmera, Rachael. “7 Health Benefits of Eating Cucumber.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. February 28th, 2023. Accessed May 4th, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-cucumber.
- “5 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Vitamin C.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. September 4th, 2020. Accessed May 12th, 2023. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/5-vitamin-c-benefits.
- “Potassium.” The President and Fellows of Harvard College, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Accessed May 12th, 2023. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/potassium/#:~:text=Its%20main%20role%20in%20the,and%20supports%20normal%20blood%20pressure.
- “Manganese.” Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, mountsinai.org. Accessed May 12th, 2023. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/manganese#:~:text=Manganese%20helps%20the%20body%20form,normal%20brain%20and%20nerve%20function.
- “6 Health Benefits of Cucumbers.” Cleveland Clinic, clevelandclinic.org. April 3rd, 2023. Accessed May 4th, 2023. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-cucumbers/.
- “Dietary Fiber: Types and Health Benefits.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. September 27th, 2022. Accessed May 12th, 2023. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/fiber-types-and-benefits.
- Ware, Megan. “How can antioxidants benefit our health?” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. May 29th, 2018. Accessed May 12th, 2023. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/301506.
- Thom, Alexis. “13 Health Benefits of Cucumbers (+ Best Refreshing Recipes).” Get Healthy U, gethealthyu.com. August 15th, 2022. Accessed May 5th, 2023. https://gethealthyu.com/health-benefits-of-cucumbers/.