The cucumber has a reputation as a bland vegetable that doesn’t benefit your health much.  But the truth is completely different: cucumbers contain a range of nutrients and phytochemicals – beneficial nutrient-like plant compounds – that may help prevent heart disease, cancer, and skin problems.

 

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Here are a few reasons why you should add them to your salad:

The cucumber, or its scientific name Cucumis sativus, is a tropical plant related to the Cucurbitaceae family, whose members include the pumpkin and cantaloupe.  Even though on a daily basis we include it among the vegetables we eat, it’s actually not a vegetable but a fruit.  It originated over 10,000 years ago in India and in certain parts of the Mediterranean. During the 17th century, greenhouses developed methods of growing it, and today it’s considered the fourth most- common “vegetable” in the world after the tomato, cabbage, and onion.
 
 

Cucumbers

Fresh cucumbers contain mostly water, but they are also rich  in nutrition. The inner fleshy part of the cucumber is a great source of vitamin C and beta carotene that are powerful antioxidants, and also for folic acid.  The peel of the cucumber is rich in fiber and contains a variety of important minerals, including silica, which is important for hair and nails; potassium and magnesium, important for heart health, including blood pressure; manganese, important for building bone; and molybdenum, a mineral that plays a part in many enzymatic processes in the body.

The cucumber also contains vitamin B5, which has a role in creating energy, and vitamin K needed for proper bone formation and clotting processes in the body.  People on blood thinners, such as warfarin, should restrict their intake of vitamin K, and therefore cucumbers, to a strict and small amount set by a doctor, after  clotting has been tracked.

What are the cucumber’s nutritional advantages?

1.  Contributes to strengthening the connective tissues – As already mentioned, the cucumber is an excellent source of  silica  and for trace minerals that contribute to strengthening the connective tissues, which actually hold our body together: muscles, tendons, cartilage and bone. Without silica, connective tissues cannot be properly built.

2.  Reduces the chance of heart disease and cancer – The cucumber also contains lignans, a group of chemical compounds found in plants related to the polyphenol family. Extensive research  found that  they reduced the risk for heart and vascular diseases and also some types of cancer (breast, uterus, ovarian, and prostate). Bacteria in our digestive system turn these lignans into materials that can bind to estrogen receptors and  supply anti-estrogen or estrogen-promoting activity – depending on the status of estrogen in the body.

3.  Contains antioxidants – Other materials belonging to the same family are flavonoids, acting as antioxidants.  Initial animal trials revealed consistent and clear evidence that extracts produced out of fresh cucumbers have antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties (suppressing the Cox-2 enzyme). It also has been found that the cucumber contains substances called cucurbutacins, which have anti-cancer properties: they delay development and inhibit survival of cancer cells.  Many pharmaceutical companies are currently researching these substances, hoping their research will lead to development of new anti-cancer medicine.s Of course, human trials need to be conducted to confirm these effects from daily consumption of cucumbers.

4.  Treats swelling under the eyes – The health advantages of the cucumber can also be realized through external use for a variety of skin problems, including swelling under the eyes and sunburn. This is thanks to two compounds in cucumbers that prevent water retention: ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid.

Here’s a great recipe for Curried Chicken, Cucumber, and Scallion salad that makes this simple and healthy cucumber an absolute treat!

Find out more about 5 foods not to eat in our presentation.

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Comments 34

  1. Profile photo of ossie-sharon

    Hi, mtmaddox. The five foods are artificial sweeteners, conventional and processed soy, regular whole wheat bread, regular margarine, and regular store-bought orange juice. However, note that these specific foods are just examples of the larger problem, and we encourage you to always seek the best, unprocessed versions of foods.

    • Profile photo of kuharcsik2000

      HI I just joind yesterday, I don’t understand something….if the soy product are one of the five bad food we should not eat why is on my vegetarian menu ? I change my menu from vegetarian to notmal because of that….Am I miss understanding something here?

      • Profile photo of ossie-sharon

        Hi, kuharcsik, and welcome! The video discussed artificial or overprocessed versions of popular foods that should be healthy, but have been manipulated into being particularly harmful to your goals. Rather than giving up on them altogether, we encourage better versions in their original, natural forms. Note that the foods discussed in the video are only examples, and many other popular foods have been similarly affected—so it’s good to read labels, be aware of how a food is made, and choose whole foods as much as possible. Conventional and overly processed soy is discouraged, but organic is fine, and minimally processed items such as tofu, yogurt, and milk, as well as fermented items such as tempeh and natto are fine. However, most pre-packaged mock meats tend to be a problem.

  2. Profile photo of ossie-sharon

    Hi, RitaCody. Cucumbers are associated with gas in a fair number of people. This can be eased somewhat by peeling and removing the seeds before eating.
    If you are gassy in general, how this diet can help depends on the cause and other symptoms. If you would like more information, please do post your query in one of the Community forums, and I will work with you there.

  3. Profile photo of ossie-sharon

    Hi, HarrietAnderson. Mini-cucumbers are not GMO, they were just a different type of cucumber that is naturally small, or common cucumbers that were harvested before they matured (like green bell peppers). Because of that, the latter may have lower levels of the key nutrients.

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