Cucumber: Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts
We are all familiar with cucumbers. Whether we eat them raw as a snack or in salads or love the crisp sour flavor of pickled cucumbers, this summer vegetable is a staple for many of us. What we may not know is there are many cucumber benefits beyond the great taste.
Cucumber benefits include the vitamins and minerals cucumbers contain. Cucumbers may seem like simple watery vegetables, but they are loaded with health benefits. That high water content also contains a good dose of antioxidants.
And much of the appeal of cucumbers is they are so easy to consume. Cucumber benefits come with something you simply cut up and enjoy as a snack. Cucumbers are extremely versatile. You can put them in just about any salad and get the cucumber benefits along with the crisp summery flavor.
What are cucumber benefits? Are they different kinds of cucumbers? And how do you get the most benefits from eating cucumbers? There may be many things you do not know about cucumbers, and this guide is designed to help you understand the benefits of cucumbers.
What is a Cucumber?
Cucumbers are known formally by the scientific name of Cucumis sativus. They are a member of the family of plants we commonly call gourds or the family Cucurbitaceae.
Cucumbers are thought to have originated in parts of Southeast Asia. They are now cultivated all over the world.
Cucumbers can vary in size, shape, and color. They come in several varieties. Most have bright green skin and are familiar with cylindrical shapes. The most common types of cucumbers are slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. The English Cucumber has grown in popularity in recent years. These are narrower and have softer skin.
Slicing cucumbers are the variety we are probably most familiar with. These are the type that grows in gardens all over the United States and is great raw in salads and vegetable platters.
Pickling cucumbers are generally smaller. They are not grown to be eaten raw but are instead used in pickling. The common dill pickle is made from pickling cucumbers.
Types of Cucumber
Like most commonly cultivated fruits and vegetables, there are multiple varieties of cucumbers. Some of the most common, and the most delicious include the following:
This variety is long and slender. They generally measure between 10 and 15 inches. English cucumbers have a dark green skin that is thin enough to eat so you do not need to peel an English cucumber. These are common in European countries but have only recently become popular in the United States. The English cucumber is a bit sweeter than the common North American cucumber. They are also seedless and are often marketed as seedless cucumbers.
Green Fingers Persian cucumber
As the name says, this is a Persian cucumber that is great for snacking. They are a small variety, measuring only about 3 to 5 inches. Green Fingers Persian cucumbers are easy to grow from seed and germinate in about seven days. Green Fingers Persian cucumbers have a long growing season and will continue to produce fruit well into late fall in milder climates.
These cucumbers are great for slicing. They grow to be between 8 and 10 inches long. When picked young they can be used for pickling. Muncher cucumbers are seedless and contain little of the chemical cucurbitacin which causes the belching so often associated with cucumbers. The skin of muncher cucumbers is thin and edible.
This is an heirloom variety of cucumber developed in South Carolina. Ashley cucumbers are popular in southern climates since they are resistant to forms of fungus that can plague other types of cucumbers in these regions. They are between 6 and 8 inches in length. Ashley cucumbers are commonly sold in farmer’s markets.
This is a snack-sized cucumber that is ready to pack in school lunches and the like. Reaching only about 5 inches long, Diva cucumbers have a crisp texture and flavor. This is another seedless variety of cucumber that is ideal for vegetable plates.
These are regarded as one of the best pickling cucumbers around. They are also great to eat raw. Alibi cucumbers tend to max out at about 4 inches in length—perfect for making pickles. They have smooth green skin. One of the best things about Alibi cucumbers is they are naturally resistant to diseases and are easy to grow in your garden.
Sweet Success cucumbers
This variety is ready to harvest in less than two months. These are large cucumbers, measuring about 14 inches. They are seedless and burpless and have a smooth taste that is free of bitterness. The skin is dark and smooth and thin enough to be eaten. Sweet Success cucumbers are another disease-resistant variety.
Antioxidants block the oxidative stress caused by the presence of free radicals in the body. Oxidative stress has been linked to a host of chronic illnesses and cancer. Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are rich in antioxidants that reduce the likelihood of developing things like autoimmune diseases.
Studies that focused specifically on cucumbers found that eating cucumbers or taking a supplement that contained cucumber powder significantly reduced the markers of oxidative stress. Other studies showed that the presence of flavonoids and tannins specifically present in cucumbers is especially effective at blocking the presence of free radicals.
Helps with hydration
The basic element for being healthy is water. Any fitness plan or program of general health must begin with making sure you get enough water. Everything from temperature regulation to the elimination of waste from your body depends on getting enough water. The most basic functions of your entire metabolism depend on maintaining proper hydration.
The majority of our hydration comes from simply drinking enough water. But many people get as much as 40 percent of their hydration needs from food sources. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of hydration.
Cucumbers are composed of about 96 percent water. Of all the food sources that provide you with hydration, cucumbers are among the best.
Helps you lose weight
Cucumbers help with weight loss in several ways. First, they are low in calories. Snacking on cucumbers is a great way to feel full while consuming few calories.
Also, the high water content of cucumbers helps you shed weight by assisting your body in burning calories and fats. Studies have shown that consistently eating foods that are high in water content helps you lose weight.
Can lower blood sugar
Numerous studies show that eating cucumbers can help reduce blood sugar levels. This can reduce the danger of complications from diabetes. Another study examined the effects of taking a cucumber extract as a supplement. This research found that an extract of cucumber peels can significantly reduce blood sugar levels. In addition to reducing blood sugar levels, additional research has found that the antioxidant properties of cucumbers also help reduce the symptoms of diabetes.
Perhaps this is not the most pleasant thing to talk about, but regular bowel movements are a necessary bodily function for good health. One of the main causes of intestinal irregularity is dehydration. Since cucumbers are so high in water content, they naturally promote regularity. What is more, the high fiber content of cucumbers also helps promote bowel regularity.
Cucumbers also contain high levels of a specific soluble fiber called pectin. Research has shown that pectin helps promote healthy intestinal bacteria, and this also maintains proper intestinal regularity.
Cucumber nutrition facts
The general breakdown of nutrition in cucumbers is given above. Cucumbers are a great source of what are called phytonutrients. These are plant chemicals that are known to prevent a variety of diseases. Cucumbers also contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and anti-cancer properties.
The peel and seeds of cucumbers are the most nutrient-dense parts of the plant. They contain high amounts of fiber and also high concentrations of beta-carotene which helps protect the skin, promote immunity, and may prevent cancer.
Cucumbers are also a great source of vitamins and minerals. They contain high concentrations of calcium to promote bone health. Cucumbers are also naturally low in calories, sodium, fat, and cholesterol. From cucumbers, you can get about 4 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and vitamin A.
How to consume Cucumber
Perhaps the best thing about cucumbers is that you can simply eat them as they are. Peel the skin, slice, and eat. Cucumbers are a fantastic and refreshing snack and compliment just about any meal.
Raw cucumbers are a staple in fresh green salads. The English cucumber can be eaten with the skin partially intact. Simply score the skin and slice as you like.
The familiar pickled cucumber is about as ubiquitous as snack foods get. Everything from hamburgers to homemade fresh bread and butter dills is a favorite.
You can add cucumbers to your favorite smoothies. They add water and provide all the health benefits of cucumbers. Cucumbers will work great with other veggies and even most of your favorite fruits.
Chilled cucumber soup is a delicious summer favorite. Add a little yogurt or sour cream with fresh tarragon to bring out the summery flavors.
If you want to leave the carbs behind for a while you can use cucumbers for making wraps. Thinly slice cucumbers along the width and you can use them to wrap all your favorite wrap ingredients. All the same, things will work, from tuna salad to completely vegetarian options, cucumber wraps are a delicious non-carb and vegan option.
There are no known adverse effects from eating cucumbers. The only thing you may want to pay attention to is how the cucumbers are grown. Exposure to pesticides from certain fruits and vegetables is always a concern. Buy your cucumbers from a trusted source. Organic, pesticide-free cucumbers are commonly found at farmer's markets and specialty grocery stores. Some major supermarkets now stock organic produce that is certified to be pesticide-free.
Spartan Detox Salads
Spartan Detox offers an array of delicious and healthy salads designed to complement and replenish your nutrition along with Spartan Detox juices and smoothies.
There are many benefits to eating and drinking fruits and vegetables. They range from weight loss, stronger immune system, and overall a healthier lifestyle. Many of us are always on the go and rarely have the time to take in the proper nutrients our body needs to speed up our metabolism.
Your normal fast food is horrible for your system and often slows down your metabolism therefore the reason for such rapid weight gain. Our salads are made with ingredients that are proven to help you lose weight so you can live a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Therewith is more to simple cucumbers than being great snacks. The truth is athletes and people who are committed to fitness have long been including cucumbers as part of their diets. People have come to understand that cucumbers offer much more than great taste.
Including cucumbers in your diet provides you with a solid dose of vitamins and minerals. Cucumbers contain powerful antioxidants. And the water content of cucumbers is great for assisting your body in eliminating toxins.
While there are many great benefits to cucumbers, perhaps one of the best things about them is that they are so easy to consume. Raw cucumbers are a delicious and simple snack. You can include cucumbers in simple green salads, or you can dress them up in more complicated dishes. The versatility of cucumbers is one of the many benefits.
The health benefits of cucumbers are one of the main reasons they are included in the salads offered by Spartan Detox. These salads are filling, they are delicious, and they are one more component of good health in a detox diet from Spartan Detox.