Everyone enjoys eating pastries, chocolates, ice-creams, but when it comes to vegetables like bitter gourd, spinach, cabbage on our plate, we make sad faces. Thats because we dont enjoy their taste. But surprisingly, cucumber is one of the vegetable which everyone loves to eat without any reluctance. And the credit goes to its crunchy and refreshing taste which makes you feel calm and energized. Does anyone knows, why this vegetable is so favourite especially among youngsters? This is mainly because this marvellous vegetable is packed with nutrients and energy rich components that makes it one of the healthiest and refreshing snacks, mostly during peak summers. Therefore cucumber is categorised as one of the “superfood”.
Cucumber, scientifically known as Cucumis sativus, belongs to the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae that include gourds, melons and squashes. This vegetable is basically a creeper that is easly grown and hence cultivated worlwide in various sizes, shapes and colors. It is one of the oldest cultivated crop, originated mainly in northern India. Cucumber has light to dark green in color, moisture rich flesh and tiny edible seeds inside. It has slightly sweet flavor and is mainly eaten raw in salad, sandwiches or in the form of juice. Cucumber mainly comes in two varieties, which are slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. The pickling varieties are usually smaller, thicker and have bumpy skin with black dotted spines as compared to the slicing variety.
Cucumber are excellent source of vitamins K, C and different B vitamins. They are also very good source of sodium, copper, amino acids, carbohydrates, soluble and insoluble fiber content. They also posses various minerals like potassium, manganese, fatty acids, phosphorus, magnesium, biotin and silica. Cucumbers exhibit various health benefits due to the presence of phytonutrients such as flavonoids ( apigenin, luteolin, quercetin and kaepferol), lignans (pinoresinol, lariciresinol and secoisolariciresinol) and triterpenes (cucurbitacins A, B, C and D). Although cucumbers have several health benefits because of it high nutritional content, they have not got enough attention and importance. Here are 10 major impressive health benefits of cucumber which will help you to understand their importance much better.
10) Promote hair and nail growth
Regular intake of cucumber is believed to stimulate proper hair and nail growth as they packed with minerals such as silicon, sulfur, phosphorus and calcium, which are vital components of bones and other tissues. The silica in cucumber act as a conditioner for hair and fingernails growth. The high content of magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins prevent nails from cracking or peeling. Overall the presence of high content of moisture in cucumber helps to keep our body hydrated and gives hair a shiny texture.
9) Cures hangover and bad breath
Eating few slices of cucumber just before going to bed can help to cure hangover after alcohol consumption. This is basically because the high amount of water content helps to re-hydrate the body and helps to eliminate the toxins from body. The sugar, vitamin B and electrolytes content in cucumber also helps to reduce the intensity of hangover and headache associated with it. Similarly the phytochemicals present helps to fight against bacteria in mouth which gives bad breath. Eating few slices of cucumber helps to get rid of bad breath and makes you feel fresh. So next time when you plan for late night parties, try to include this vegetable in your menu.
8) Reduce weight
Cucumber are considered to be ideal food for people trying to lose weight as they are low in fat and calories. They are good choice of low calorie snacks, as they keep stomach full and prevent from overeating high calorie food. In fact, cucumber are used in several cultures by hunters and travelers as a nutrient dense pack foodwhile travelling. So, if you are weight control diet, try to incorporate cucumber to get better results.
7) Skin care
As cucumber contains 95% of water , it totally helps to hydrate and moisturize the skin. The presence of vitamin E and potassium helps to reduce fine lines, wrinkles , blemishes and other signs of ageing. Facial mask containing cucumber juice are beneficial for skin tightening and revitalizing the skin. Ascorbic acid and caffeic acid present in cucumber helps to bring down the puffiness and swelling of eyes and also helps to minimize dark circles under the eyes. Studies have shown high amount of vitamin c and anti-oxidants in cucumber makes it an important ingredient in many beauty creams used in treatment of eczema, psoriasis, acne etc. Cucumber juice also acts excellent on sunburn affected area where it gives cooling and healing effect.
6) Control blood pressure
They contain good source of potassium, magnesium, and fiber which helps in regulating blood pressure. Like celery, this colorless drink is found to be very good in treatment of both low and high blood pressure. The presence of sterols in this vegetable helps to lower cholesterol level and thus regulating blood pressure. Additionally they are found to act as natural diuretic which means they helps to lower the pressure in the arteries.
5) Fight cancer
The bitterness of cucumber is caused due to the presence of phytochemicals known as cucurbitacins which posses strong anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown, the flavonoids present in cucumber is also found to be very effective in fighting against prostate cancer cells. Caffeic acid posses anti-proliferating effects on breast cancer cells. Additionally the availability of vitamin C and other vitamins in cucumber also improves overall immunity of the body. Hence eating raw cucumber or drinking its juice is found to be very effective in preventing number of cancers such as prostate, breast, ovarian, lung and uterine types.
4) Promote joint health
Cucumber are very good source of silica that helps to strengthen connective tissues, muscles, cartilage , ligaments and hence promote proper joint health. It also contains calcium that helps in proper development and functioning of bones preventing any bone related disorders. Calcium also plays important role in muscle contraction and also used by nervous system to transmit nerve impulses. Therefore cucumber juice serves as a vegan –friendly source of calcium. Studies have shown , cucumber helps to reduce uric acid level in gout patients. Because of its high health benefits in promoting good bone and joint health, their juice is mainly recommended for arthritis patients and other joint related disorders.
3) Aid digestion
Digestive disorders such as heartburn, gastritis and stomach ulcers can be cured by daily consumption of fresh cucumber. The high fiber content and water content helps to remove toxins and waste from body thus promoting healthy digestion. The alkalinity of the minerals present in cucumber juice helps in regulating body’s blood pH, neutralizing acidity and gives relief from other stomach disorders. Therefore daily consumption of cucumber is found to be beneficial home remedy for chronic constipation and gastritis.
2) High in Anti-oxidants
Cucumber contains good amount of antioxidants like B carotene, A- carotene, zea-xanthin and lutein which act as a scavengers against free radicals preventing cell aging and cell death. Studies have shown the these beneficial compounds present in cucumber boost overall immunity of the body and cucumber juice serves as a energy packed drink in lethargic conditions.
1) Keeps your body hydrated
As cucumbers contain about 95% water, this vegetable keeps your body cool and hydrated and therefore act as a natural coolant for the body. This helps to normalize your body temperature too. Cucumber supplies the necessary electrolytes and restores hydration of the body cells, thus reducing water retention. Another important benefits of having high water content is that it cleans body system by removing toxins and waste and should be included in regular diet in form of salads, cucumber buttermilk, cucumber raita or its juice. Cucumber juice is considered to be ideal drink after and before workouts and best part is that, it can be consumed in summers as well in cold seasons. And Hence it is the best choice to replenish your lost electrolytes in sweat and workouts.
From skin care to anti-cancer properties, cucumbers are found to posses various beneficial properties for overall health. They are also considered to be the most refreshing and healthy snacks during summers as they contain high moisture content and are relatively low in calories. Therefore many people are finding that cucumber and it juice are wonderful and healthy replacement for sugary drinks, coffee and tea. So next time when summers are at its peak and you feel dehydrated, make a habit to eat few slices of cucumber or drink its juice to gain all nutritional and health benefits of this superb vegetable.