The cucumber is a member of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae, along with honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon. Made up of 95% water, cucumbers are naturally low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium.
Their high water content helps ward off dehydration and combat the heat while their refreshing and mild taste appeals to even the pickiest eaters.
Possible health benefits of consuming cucumbers
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions.
Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like cucumber decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
Made up of mostly water and full of important electrolytes, cucumber is a perfect food to have on hand during the hot summer months to prevent dehydration. Adding cucumber to water is a great way to increase water consumption as well.
When used topically, cucumber has a cooling and soothing effect that decreases swelling, irritation and inflammation. Cucumber slices can be placed on the eyes to decrease morning puffiness or placed on the skin to alleviate and treat sunburn.
3) Bone health
Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption can be achieved by eating a proper intake of fruits and vegetables (one cup of cucumber provides 11% of your daily needs) and is important for improving calcium absorption essential for optimal bone health.1
As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, cucumbers contain high levels of nutrients known as cucurbitacins. Cucurbitacins are known to block the JAK-STAT and MAPK signaling pathways that are used by cancer cells to proliferate and survive. Cucumbers contain cucurbitacins A, B, C, D and E.
Nutritional breakdown of cucumber
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of raw sliced cucumber with peel (approximately 119 grams) contains 115 grams of water, 16 calories, 0.8 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat and 2.9 grams of carbohydrate (including 0.9 grams of fiber and 1.8 grams of sugar.
One cup of cucumber provides 11% of vitamin K, 4% of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and manganese and 2% of vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc and copper needs for the day.
Cucumbers also contain lignans, which research has shown may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as several types of cancer.