Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a vegetable that belongs to the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae, which includes gourds, melons, and squashes.
Cucumber is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables and is believed to be originated in northern India. Today, cucumbers are the fourth most widely grown vegetable crop in the world – after tomatoes, onions and cabbage. They’re grown worldwide in temperate regions.
There are two types of cucumbers: slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. The pickling varieties tend to be smaller, thicker, and have bumpy skin with black-dotted spines.
Cucumber is often regarded as a healthy food because it is low in calories and fat. Cucumber also contains many vitamins and minerals that make them a healthy choice for cooking and snacking. Here are 15 health benefits of cucumber:
- Keep you hydrated
Cucumber has 96% water content that is more nutritious than regular water, which helps in keeping the body hydrated and regulating body temperature. It also helps in flushing out the toxins from the body.
- Skin care
The high water content and the presence of certain vitamins and minerals make cucumber an essential part of skin care. Facial masks containing cucumber juice can be used for skin tightening. Ascorbic acid and caffeic acid present in cucumbers can bring down the water retention rate which in turn diminishes the puffiness and swelling under the eyes. Cucumber skin also can bring relief to the skin caused by sunburn or windburn.
- Fight cancers
Cucumber contains lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol – three lignans that have a strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of several cancer types, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer.
- Control Blood Pressure
Cucumber juice contains a lot of potassium, magnesium and fiber which are very helpful for regulating blood pressure. This makes cucumber especially good for treating both low blood pressure and high blood pressure.
- Beneficial for teeth and gums
Cucumber juice is also beneficial for people with teeth and gums problems, especially in cases of pyorrhea. Cucumber is a good source of dietary fiber and this fiber massage in the teeth and gums.
- Aid digestion
Digestive disorders, such as heartburn, gastritis, and even ulcers, can be cured by the daily consumption of fresh cucumber juice. The high water content and dietary fiber in cucumber are very effective in driving away the toxins from the digestive system and hence aid digestion. Daily consumption of cucumber can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation.
- Promotes joint health
Cucumber is an excellent source of silica which is known to help promotes joint health by strengthening the connective tissues.
- Get rid of bad breath
The photochemicals present in cucumber help kills the bacteria in your mouth which are responsible for bad breath. To get rid of bad breath, press a slice of cucumber in between your mouth with your tongue for at least 30 seconds.
- Nail care
The high silica content in cucumber also helps prevent splitting and spoiling of nails of the fingers and toes.
- Relieve gout and arthritis pain
Cucumber is a best ingredient for gout pain relief. When mixed with carrot juice, they can relieve gout and arthritis pain by lowering the uric acid levels.
- Cures diabetes
The cucumber juice has been found to be beneficial for the diabetic patients. This vegetable contains a hormone needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin.
- Reduces cholesterol
Researchers found that some compound called sterols in cucumber may help reduce cholesterol levels.
- Stimulate hair growth
Cucumber contains silicon and sulphur and thus a regular intake of cucumber can help promote healthy hair growth. For best results, mix cucumber juice with the juices of carrot, lettuce or spinach.
- Acts as a diuretic
The water content of cucumber acts as a diuretic. It encourages the elimination of waste products from the body through urination. Regular intake of cucumber helps to dissolve bladder or kidney stones.
- Aid in weight loss
Due to its low calorie and high water content, cucumber is an ideal diet for people who looking for weight loss.
When buying cucumber, choose the ones that are firm to touch and dark green in color. Do not buy overly matured or yellow colored as they are prone to contain more insoluble fiber and mature seeds. Go for organically grown cucumber to get a rich taste and more nutrients content.
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