Cucumbers are a refreshing, nutritious and incredibly versatile addition to any diet. Though commonly thought to be a vegetable, cucumber is actually a fruit. It’s high in beneficial nutrients, as well as certain plant compounds and antioxidants that may help treat and even prevent some conditions.
Also, cucumbers are low in calories and contain a good amount of water and soluble fiber, making them ideal for promoting hydration and aiding in weight loss.
High in Nutrients
Cucumbers are low in calories but high in water (about 96%) and several important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C&K, iron, potassium and manganese. Eating cucumbers with the peel provides the maximum amount of nutrients.
Antioxidants are molecules that block oxidation, a chemical reaction that forms highly reactive atoms with unpaired electrons known as free radicals. The accumulation of these harmful free radicals can lead to several types of chronic illness. In fact, oxidative stress caused by free radicals has been associated with cancer and heart, lung and autoimmune disease.
Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are especially rich in beneficial antioxidants that may reduce the risk of these conditions.
Water is crucial to your body’s function, playing numerous important roles. It is involved in processes like temperature regulation and the transportation of waste products and nutrients. In fact, proper hydration can affect everything from physical performance to metabolism.
While you meet the majority of your fluid needs by drinking water or other liquids, some people may get as much as 40% of their total water intake from food.
May Aid in Weight Loss
Cucumbers could potentially help you lose weight in a few different ways.
First of all, they are low in calories. Each one-cup (104-gram) serving contains just 16 calories, while an entire 11-ounce (300-gram) cucumber contains only 45 calories. This means that you can eat plenty of cucumbers without packing on the extra calories that lead to weight gain.
Cucumbers can add freshness and flavor to salads, sandwiches and side dishes and may also be used as a replacement for higher calorie alternatives. Furthermore, the high water content of cucumbers could aid in weight loss.
May Lower Blood Sugar
Several animal and test-tube studies have found that cucumbers may help reduce blood sugar levels and prevent some complications of diabetes (although additional research is needed). Cucumbers were shown to effectively reduce and control blood sugar levels.
Could Promote Regularity
Eating cucumbers may help support regular bowel movements.
Dehydration is a major risk factor for constipation, as it can alter your water balance and make the passage of stool difficult. Cucumbers are high in water and promote hydration. Staying hydrated can improve stool consistency, prevent constipation and help maintain regularity.
Moreover, cucumbers contain fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements. In particular, pectin, the type of soluble fiber found in cucumbers, can help increase bowel movement frequency.
Easy to Add to Your Diet
Mild with a distinctly crisp and refreshing flavor, cucumbers are commonly enjoyed fresh or pickled in everything from salads to sandwiches.
Cucumbers are also often eaten raw as a low-calorie snack or can be paired with hummus, olive oil, salt or salad dressing to add a bit more flavor.