Cucumber Health Benefits For Weight Loss, Skin & Hair..Side Effects & Nutrition Facts
Cucumber is a cylindrical green fruit with a white flesh. It is believed to have first been cultivated in India and has been used for food and medicinal purposes since ancient times. This fruit is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of vines that also include melon and pumpkin.
Its use as food is seen in sandwiches and salads, as well as prepared for its juice. The cucumber fruit contains a high amount of water that makes it a good detoxifying agent as well as important vitamins and minerals that makes it a natural remedy for various health problems.
In this article, we shall take a look at some of the many benefits of eating this fruit as well as some of the side effects.
Nutritional facts about cucumbers
Cucumbers are made mostly of water, but they contain essential body vitamins and minerals like vitamin K. The cucumber fruit is also low in fat, cholesterol, calories, and sodium, which are all harmful to the health in large amounts.
Based on information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 52-gram serving of cucumber with peel contains 49.52 grams of water, 76 mg of potassium, 8 mg of calcium, 7 mg of magnesium, 0.9 grams of fiber, 0.87 grams of sugar, 0.15 mg of iron, 1.5 mg of vitamin C, 12 mg of phosphorus, and trace amounts of B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin K, among other nutrients.
Health benefits of consuming cucumber
The following are some of the health benefits of consuming cucumbers:
- To hydrate the body: Cucumbers are mostly made of water with as high as 95% of the fruit being water. This means that eating some cucumbers when you feel dehydrated will help to revitalize you.
- To strengthen the immune system: Cucumbers are packed with important body nutrients that aid in boosting immunity. The antioxidants in the fruit give it its immune-boosting capability.
- To relieve constipation: The high water content of cucumbers has many health benefits including helping to relieve constipation. Besides, cucumbers are also rich in insoluble fiber, which is essential for digestion. Constipation patients can benefit a lot from eating cucumber or drinking cucumber juice, while non-constipation persons can prevent constipation by regular intake of the fruit.
- Good for the hair: Hair loss can be prevented by eating cucumber. This is because cucumbers contain silicon and sulphur that prevent hair loss.
- Good for the eyes: Several studies have suggested that cucumbers can help in the treatment of some eye problems. A researcher has also reported that drinking cucumber juice can help to improve eyesight as the fruit is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that protect the eyes from eye conditions like cataract. Besides, cucumbers contain vitamin A, even though in trace amounts, which is great for the eyes.
Furthermore, you must have seen pictures of persons placing cucumber slices on top of their eyes. What they are doing is not just for fun; they do this to get rid of the dark circles and sagging skin (puffiness) under the eyes. Due to the antioxidants in cucumbers, this topical application of the slices helps to get rid of skin irritation. Moreover, the presence of vitamin C in the fruit helps to lighten up the skin.
- Good for the mouth: Eating cucumbers help to stimulate the production of saliva in the mouth which is essential for keeping the mouth free from bacteria. Halitosis or bad breath is usually due to the bacteria activity in the mouth and can be treated by eating cucumbers.
- Good for the skin: Since cucumbers have high water content, it means that they not only help to refresh the body after dehydration, but also helps to keep the skin moisturized. In addition, the effects of aging on the skin such as wrinkles and sagging of the skin can also be reduced by eating or using cucumbers on the skin.
- For treating sunburn: cucumber has a soothing effect that makes it applicable in the treatment of sunburn. To do this, slice the cucumber fruit or make puree from it and apply on the affected area(s). Leave the slices or puree for some time and then remove.
- Remedy for cellulite: cellulite refers to lumpy fat deposits o the thighs of a woman. Cucumber is effective in treating this condition due to the presence of phytochemicals that stimulate the release of collagen in the body. For this purpose, you will need to mix cucumber juice with raw honey and crushed coffee to form a paste. Apply the mixture to the affected areas and wrap in a cloth to be exfoliated after some minutes.
- To curb appetite: Cucumber contains enough water and fiber which gives a filling effect when consumed. The filling effect of eating cucumber means that you feel hungry less frequently. As a result, you get to eat less during the day and leads to the next benefit – promoting weight loss.
- For weight loss: The fiber content of cucumbers help to regulate body weight. Moreover, cucumbers have a low caloric content which makes it ideal for overweight and obese persons. Overweight individuals are not only afforded this benefit as people with a normal weight can manage their weight by adding cucumbers to their daily diet.
- To reduce body acidity: Most parts of the body like the stomach are acidic in nature; a problem arises when this acidity becomes too much, leading to presence of free radicals. Diseases such as cancer arise as a result of these free radicals. To balance this acidity and make the pH level of the body stable, you can drink cucumber juice, which is alkaline in nature.
- For pain relief: Cucumbers are packed with antioxidants including flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties, and tannins, which help to fight off the effects of free radicals. A report in the Journal of Young Pharmacists shows that all parts of the cucumber fruit have great benefits including helping to relieve headaches.
- Good for brain health: People suffering from age-related brain disorders can benefit from eating cucumbers due to the presence of a chemical compound called fisetin. Fisetin has anti-inflammatory properties associated with such diseases.
- Good for the bones: Cucumbers are packed with many nutrients including vitamin K, which is vital for calcium absorption in the body. Calcium is a major mineral in the bones, and a deficiency of this mineral can lead to various bone conditions such as osteoporosis. Regular consumption of cucumbers provides the body with a good dose of vitamin K for health bones.
- To promote sleep: Eating cucumbers can help to improve your sleep. This is as a result of the calming effect that the fruit has on the nerves, helping to relieve the body of stress (a major contributor to lack of sleep). So, if you are not sleeping well enough, you should consider eating some cucumbers.
- As a detoxifier: The fact that more than ninety percent of the cucumber fruit is made of water means that the fruit is also a cleansing or detoxifying agent. Drinking cucumber juice or eating the fruit is a natural way of detoxifying the body of harmful chemical substances.
- Against inflammations: The presence of flavonoids in cucumber gives the fruit its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammatory conditions such as hemorrhoids and rheumatism can be reduced by a regular consumption of cucumbers.
- For cancer prevention: Cancers are caused by various factors including inflammations. By helping to reduce inflammations in the body, the consumption of cucumbers also helps to reduce the risk of cancer development. Apart from this, cucumbers have been found to contain cucurbitacins, which have cancer-fighting properties.
- To regulate blood pressure: The presence of potassium in cucumbers helps to lower blood pressure in contrast to high sodium levels that elevate blood pressure. Studies also hint that cucurbitacins found in cucumber can help to prevent coronary heart disease.
- Good for diabetics: Various researches have proven that the presence of cucurbitans in cucumber also helps in reducing high blood sugar levels. Another report also suggests that insulin production can be stimulated by the consumption of plants rich in cucurbitans.
Risks and side effects of consuming cucumbers
While the consumption of cucumbers have a lot of health benefits to the body, it should be stated here, that, there are possible side effects and risks to this.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends that when choosing your cucumbers, you should opt for the organics ones over non-organic or genetically modified ones. This is due to the fact that they found cucumbers to be the ninth most contaminated food.
Another risk of consuming cucumbers is in the fact that the fruit is rich in vitamin K. While vitamin K is essential for good bone health, a high concentration of the vitamin in the body can lead to abnormal blood clotting.
Cucumber, like other members of the Cucurbitaceae family, contains cucurbitacins. Although cucurbitacins have anti-cancer properties, they are also known to be toxic. Hence it is advised that people do not eat the plant on which the cucumber grows. However, common cucumber is not likely to cause this toxicity as the cucurbitacins concentration is not too much.
Cucumber has a lot of health benefits due to the presence of several nutrients and minerals needed by the body. Adding this wonderful fruit to your diet will help to boost your overall health.