The average adult takes in about 3 quarts (12 cups) of water every day. Around a quarter of that typically comes from food. Cucumbers are an excellent source. Each one is about 95% water. That’s important because your cells need enough water to work right. Without it, you can get dizzy and sick. In serious cases, you may need to go to the hospital for treatment.
Keeping a Healthy Weight
All that water in cucumbers doesn’t just hydrate your cells. It also fills your belly, and that may help you eat less. A cup of sliced cucumbers has just 16 calories. That means it has very low “energy density.” People who eat more foods with low energy density often find it easier to lose weight.
Cucumbers are packed with them. In just a single cup of cucumber slices, you’ll get 14% to 19% of the vitamin K you need for the day. You’ll also get vitamins B and C along with minerals like copper, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.
Blood Sugar Control
High blood sugar can help create too many cell-damaging substances known as ROS and ROC. Cucumbers have shown some promise, mostly in animal studies, in controlling this problem. Rats that ate more cucumbers made less ROS and ROC. More studies on people are needed to back up these results.
These feisty little chemicals help protect your cells from damage due to substances that form in your body called “free radicals.” Cucumbers have a unique set of antioxidants, including flavonoids, lignans, and triterpenes. They not only protect cells but also lessen inflammation that’s linked to arthritis and other long-term conditions.
Cucumbers are good for your ticker when you include them with a well-balanced diet. Their antioxidant activity helps slow or stop heart-related disease. And some research seems to show that the unique mix of nutrients in cucumber seeds could help improve your cholesterol numbers, which could have a direct impact on heart health. So skip those “seedless” cucumbers and go for the real thing!
Keeps You Regular
Eat lots of healthy foods like cucumber, and you leave less room for high-salt and high-fat foods that can slow your digestion. Plus, the hydration boost you get from all that water in cucumbers can prevent you from getting stopped up (constipation). They also have a fair amount of fiber, which aids in keeping things moving along.
To ferment cucumbers, you leave them in a salt solution until bacteria start to feed on them. This makes a complex flavor and a distinctive sour bite. It also creates “good bacteria” (probiotics) that seem to help your body fight germs, absorb nutrients, digest food, and even control anxiety. But buyer beware: Many supermarket “pickles” are simply cucumbers in a vinegar solution, which is not the same.
IMAGES PROVIDED BY:
1) Pilipphoto / Getty Images
2) Rostislav_Sedlacek / Getty Images
3) Moseva / Getty Images
4) AndreyPopov / Getty Images
5) RICTOR S LEW / Medical Images
6) Eraxion / Getty Images
7) SasinParaksa / Getty Images
8) pretti / Getty Images
American Academy of Family Physicians: “Dehydration.”
National Center for Health Statistics: “Daily Water Intake Among U.S. Men and Women, 2009–2012.”
CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets: “Gut emotions – mechanisms of action of probiotics as novel therapeutic targets for depression and anxiety disorders.”
Fitoterapia: “Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber.”
Harvard Health Publishing: “Natural ways to relieve constipation,” “Fermented foods for better gut health.”
Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences: “Effect of Hydroalcoholic and Buthanolic Extract of Cucumis sativus Seeds on Blood Glucose Level of Normal and Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Constipation.”
Journal of Food Science: “Evaluation of the Effects of Cucumis sativus Seed Extract on Serum Lipids in Adult Hyperlipidemic Patients: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.”
Journal of Young Pharmacists: “Free Radical Scavenging and Analgesic Activities of Cucumis sativus L. Fruit Extract.”
Maurer Foundation: “What Are Free Radicals.”
U.S. Department of Agriculture: “National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release.”
Journal of Medicinal Plant Research: “Effect of Hydroalcoholic and Buthanolic Extract of Cucumis sativus Seeds on Blood Glucose Level of Normal and Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats.”
Journal of Scientific Research: “Hypoglycemic and Hypolipidemic Effects of Cucumber, White Pumpkin and Ridge Gourd in Alloxan Induced Diabetic Rats.”
Nutrients: “Link between Food Energy Density and Body Weight Changes in Obese Adults,” “Contribution of Water from Food and Fluids to Total Water Intake: Analysis of a French and UK Population Surveys.”
Nutritional Reviews: “Water, hydration, and health.”
Psychiatry Research: “Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model.”
The Nemours Foundation: “Dehydration.”
Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition and Science Policy: “Discover the Digestive Benefits of Fermented Foods.”