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Cucumber

The cucumber is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with squash and different kinds of melon. Cucumbers are high in water and low in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

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.


Benefits

Cucumber makes a refreshing snack and it offers a range of health benefits.

Fruits and vegetables of all kinds offer a range of health benefits.

Plant foods, such as cucumber, have been linked to a lower risk of obesitydiabetesheart disease, among others, while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and a healthy body weight.

The chemical profile of cucumbers is thought to give them a number of possible health benefits.

1) Hydration

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.

2) Bone health

A sufficient intake of vitamin K has been associated with healthy bones that are less likely to fracture.

One cup of cucumber provides 8.5 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) recommendsthat women aged 19 years and over consume 90 mcg of vitamin K each day, and men 120 mcg. It also contains calcium. Vitamin K helps improve calcium absorption. Together, these nutrients contribute to good bone health.

3) Cancer

As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, cucumbers contain high levels of nutrients known as cucurbitacins, which may help prevent cancer by stopping cancer cells from proliferating and surviving.

Cucumbers contain cucurbitacins A, B, C, D, and E.

There are currently no current anti-cancer therapies that utilize cucurbitacins. Laboratory research has produced promising results, but more work is needed to confirm their antitumor effects.

4) Cardiovascular health

The American Heart Association (AHA) encourage people to eat more fiber, as this can help prevent a buildup of cholesteroland the cardiovascular problems that can result from this. Cucumbers are a good sources of fiber, particularly in the skin. They also provide potassium and magnesium.

The AHA also recommend reducing sodium and increasing potassium intake to help prevent high blood pressure.

The cucurbitacins in cucumber may also help prevent atheroslcerosis.

5) Diabetes

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.

6) Skin

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 minues, 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.



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