They have a mild, refreshing taste and a high water content. They can be refreshing and pleasant to eat in hot weather and help prevent dehydration. It is eaten savory, but it is strictly a fruit.
Cucumbers have been grown in India for food and medicinal purposes since ancient times, and they have long been part of the Mediterranean diet.
Depending on the type, cucumber can be sliced in a salad or eaten whole as a snack or to clean the palate after a meal. They can be consumed with or without the skin.
Cucumber also features in a number of beauty products.
This article looks at the nutritional content of cucumber, its possible health benefits, tips for eating or using cucumber, and any potential health risks.
Fast facts about cucumber
- Cucumbers consist mainly of water.
- Some people use cucumber to soothe sunburn.
- Early research shows that a compound found in cucumbers might help fight cancer.
- Cucumbers contain lignan, which may help fight cardiovascular disease.
- Cucumber is a versatile food that can be added to a variety of dishes.
Consisting mostly of water, and containing important electrolytes, cucumbers can help prevent dehydration during the hot summer months or during and after a workout.
Adding cucumber and mint to water can increase water consumption by making it more attractive to drink.
Dehydration is important for many things including maintaining a healthy intestine, preventing constipation, and avoiding kidney stones.
Researchers have concluded that cucumbers may help control and prevent diabetes.
Cucumbers, like squash, gourd, melon, and other related foods, contain Cucurbita ficifolia, which may help reduce spikes in blood sugar.
Cucumber peel, too, has been found to help with symptoms of diabetes in mice.
One theory is that the cucurbitans in cucumber stimluate insuline release and regulate the metabolism of a key hormone in the processing of blood sugar, hepatic glycogen.
They also have a low score on the glycemic index (GI), which means they provide important nutrients without adding carbohydrates that can increase blood glucose.
Cucumbers are believed to have anti-inflammatory benefits.Used directly on the skin, sliced cucumber has a cooling and soothing effect that decreases swelling, irritation, and inflammation. It can alleviate sunburn. Placed on the eyes, they can help decrease morning puffiness.
Cucumber beauty tips include:
Toner: Blending and sieving to collect the juice for a natural toner. Leave on the skin for 30 minutes, then rinse. This is said to have astringent properties and to help clear the pores.
Face pack: Mix equal amounts of cucumber juice and yogurt to make a face pack that help reduce dry skin and blackheads.
Cucumbers are best consumed raw. They have a mild taste and cool crunch that makes them a great addition to any salad or sandwich.
Try the following:
- Mix sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese for a Greek-style side dish
- Jazz up your water by adding mint leaves and cucumber
- Slice cucumbers into thick slices and dip them in your favorite hummus
- Combine them with cheese or sliced turkey in a sandwich
- Cucumber juice, alone or combined with the juice of other vegetables, such as carrot and celery, makes a healthful and refreshing drink
- Puree cucumbers with tomatoes, green peppers, and onions to make a chilled gazpacho soup