7 Health Benefits of Cucumbers
When we think of the healthiest green foods, our minds picture kale salads and spirulina smoothies. Only it doesn’t have to be that complicated, the ultimate green food might have been right in front of us all along. Cucumber is one of the most versatile and health-promoting foods to easily bring into any diet and like tomatoes, cucumber is one of those foods used as a vegetable but is technically a fruit. Regardless of it’s botanical classification, it can (and should) still be used as one healthy component of your 5+ a day.
We use cucumbers in everything from tasty pickles, to Greek salads, and even fresh green juices, and this is just one of the reasons we love them. Discover our 7 favorite health benefits of cucumbers below:
1. Incredibly Hydrating (96% Water Content)
Some love lemon or lime in their water, but personally, I’m partial to a few slices of cucumber. With some sprigs of mint, I’ve never tasted anything so refreshing. From time-to-time, some of us have likely been left with unpleasant soggy sandwiches from the water-rich food. It should be no surprise, as they consist of 96% water content, which is used by the body to digest and transport nutrients to exactly where they need to go, as well as being needed for all elements of our health.
2. Good Source of Fiber and Promotes Digestion
Dietary fiber is an often neglected requirement in our daily diets. Fiber is needed to regulate bowel movements and promote good digestive health! Without sufficient fiber intake, of soluble, insoluble, and resistant starch, toxins and wastes can remain unmoved in various stages of the digestive tract, which can wreak all kinds of havoc in the body. Oftentimes this leads to inflammation and chronic disease, so providing your body with the fiber it needs to function regularly is needed for thriving health. To add to the bountiful fiber, adequate hydration is also needed to transport wastes through the body, so the high water content also aids in digestion.
3. Aids in Blood Sugar Control
Insulin resistance and diabetes are some of the US’ most longstanding pressing health concerns. And increasingly, people are looking to preventative approaches and natural ways to manage any risk factors - including their blood sugar control. In some recent studies, diets rich in cucumber have been shown to effectively reduce and control blood sugar levels. Others have taken it further and found that cucumber peel extract reverses diabetes-associated changes to health while decreasing blood sugar. These findings may suggest that these health-promoting benefits may be found in the nutrient-rich cucumber skin, so stop peeling those cucumbers and enjoy them as nature intended!
4. Rich Source of Vital Micronutrients
A healthy, balanced diet is more about the ‘right’ portion of macros - we need sufficient micronutrient intakes (vitamins and minerals) for our healthiest versions of ourselves. Most fruits and vegetables offer a diverse range of micronutrients. Cucumbers are rich in Vitamins C and K, as well as magnesium, potassium, and manganese (11oz contains 10%, 13%, and 12% of RDI’s respectively)!
5. Contains Antioxidants for Cellular Health
Antioxidants are a buzzword in the health and wellness space, but what do they actually do? Through environmental toxicity and widespread other day-to-day factors, our body’s cells are subject to oxidization (a chemical reaction that forms highly reactive atoms with unpaired electrons known as free radicals). Antioxidants are compounds, commonly found in plant-based sources, to prevent chronic health concerns arising over time - including cancer, heart, lung, and autoimmune disease. In one 30-day study, results found that the daily consumption of cucumber powder (a higher intake than one would typically consume), increased antioxidant activity within the body.
6. Low Calorie and May Aid in Weight Loss
When on weight-loss journeys, or calorie-specific diets, individuals at times need to be concerned with caloric intake. For example, for weight loss, one needs to be in a caloric deficit (although this differs from person-to-person and should be done with the advice of a qualified practitioner). The difficulty for many people is that calories also equate to energy, so it’s important to eat low-calorie foods that still have the nutrients to sustain you. Thankfully, cucumber is one of these foods, with 45cal to an 11oz serving. It makes for a great snack with protein-rich dips like hummus to facilitate weight loss.
7. Easy Addition to Any Diet
My personal favorite thing about cucumber is it’s such an easy addition to any diet. You can dice them up in a wrap or sandwich, pickle them for later, use them as a staple in Greek salads or tzatziki, or even use them as a staple ingredient in a cold-press detox juice! Like I mentioned earlier, I sometimes even love to dice them up and add them to a carafe of water for an extra thirst-quenching drink. That way, you can make sure you’re taking advantage of all of the ‘vegetables’ widely available health-promoting properties.
Cucumber is a frequently used ingredient in many detox and cleanse programs, for both it’s health benefits and delicious taste.
Do you have a passion for nutrition & natural healing?. Learn more about the Food Matters Nutrition Certification Program here.