Cool, crisp, refreshing — these are just a few reasons why people typically love cucumbers. They make a great addition to summer salads, on sandwiches, sliced up and dipped in hummus and simply eaten as is. Is it just me or do cucumbers feel like an essential summer food item? You may be surprised to know that cucumbers are actually a fruit, and their benefits go far beyond what we may already be aware of.
Some of the benefits of cucumbers include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, maintaining a healthy weight, detoxifying the body, enhancing the skin, alkalising the blood — even treating cancer. They can also help to support and regulate digestion, control blood sugar levels, combat bad breath, support bone health, and repair damaged hair and nails.
This watery fruit has been used since ancient times for herbal medications specifically in India. They contain lipid-lowering and anti-diabetic properties that can also prevent the body from overheating because they offer a natural cooling effect. Many people add cucumbers to water for a refreshing beverage, but really, you may be better off just simply eating it as this fruit is 90% water and is an excellent way to hydrate the body from a cellular level.
Essential Vitamins & Minerals
Cucumbers are loaded with Vitamins A, B, C, K, Manganese, Copper, and potassium. These are all very beneficial for the body and support the immune system. You can’t go wrong by eating cucumber daily.
The Healing Power Of Cucumbers!
Many of the health benefits were listed above, but here are some more in greater detail.
Cucumbers can protect your brain because they contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin that has been shown to play an important role in brain health. Fisetin can improve your memory and protect your nerve cells from age-related decline. A study showed how this flavonol was able to prevent progressive memory and learning impairments in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.
Polyphenols found in cucumbers called lignans, can help to reduce the risk of developing breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancers. They also contain phytonutrients called cucurbitacins, also containing anti-cancer properties. According to the Georeg Matejilan Foundation,
“Scientists have already determined that several different signalling pathways (for example, the JAK-STAT and MAPK pathways) required for cancer cell development and survival can be blocked by the activity of cucurbitacins.”
Cucumbers are loaded with numerous antioxidants that include, vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain antioxidant flavonoids such as quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol, which all have their own benefits to the body.
Bad breath? Place a slice of cucumber on the roof of your mouth to help eliminate odor-causing bacteria. According to Ayurvedic principles, eating cucumbers can assist with the release of excess heat in the stomach, which is believed to be the primary cause of bad breath in the first place.
Cucumbers contain the two most basic factors that are required for optimal digestion, water, and fiber. By adding cucumber to your salad, sandwich or juice you can ensure you are getting the adequate fiber the body needs to properly digest.
If all this wasn’t enough, cucumbers can also help aid in healthy weight management. Cucumbers are very low in calories but provide a filling snack. Because the soluble fiber in cucumbers dissolves into a gel-like texture, it helps to slow down your digestion. This helps you to feel full longer and is one of the reasons why all foods rich in fiber can aid with weight management.
Did I mention, cucumbers are also beneficial for your skin, nails, and hair? They contain silica which can strengthen dry and brittle hair and prevent hair loss, and strengthen bones, nails, and teeth. The classic depiction of cucumber slices on the eyes at a spa is one to keep in mind, cucumbers can reduce the appearance of bags or dark circles under the eyes. You can blend some up and apply it as a mask to the face or hair for some extra hydration and boost of essential vitamins and minerals.
Ways To Get The Goodness Into Your System
The list of the benefits of cucumbers literally goes on and on, but maybe it’s time to stop talking about them and start eating them?! Cucumbers make an excellent base for any fruit or vegetable juice. Their mild flavor and high water content are perfect for your juicer and do really well in my favorite green juice
Simple Recipe For Go-To Green Juice
This recipe is from our friends at Grounded Nutrition.
*Use organic whenever possible, if not possible be sure to wash the produce before use.
- 1 English Cucumber
- 1/2 Bunch Celery
- 1/2 Bunch of Lacinato or Dino Kale
- 1/2 Lemon Peeled
- 2-3 Apples
- Optional add-ins: a small handful of cilantro, parsley or dandelion OR 1 small nub of ginger.
Cut up all ingredients and put through a good quality juicer, to get the best yield an auger style juicer works very well. Drink immediately or store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
How about a salad? Chopped up cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red or green peppers, red onion, Kalamata olives, white wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, BAM! You have yourself a delicious, nutritious and simple Greek salad.
Of course, cucumbers can be added to any salad for a nice refreshing crunch. They are also a great addition to sandwiches, pitas, wraps, cut into circles or strips and used to dip. Also, just eating as is can satisfy a thirsty body and tummy at the same time.