Most people think about cucumbers as nothing more than a simple vegetable that usually serves as an addition to a salad. However, when you learn about the nutritional value of cucumber and about the health benefits of this underrated vegetable, you may find that there are a lot of things about it that you don’t know about it.
During the hot summer months, nothing cools you down faster than digging into a few slices of cucumber combined with fat-free yoghurt!
Cucumbers come in two varieties: the slicing variety and the pickling variety. I believe that the fresh variety is much tastier but this is a personal preference.
Health benefits of Cucumbers
Cucumbers seem like they are made mostly of water and fiber, but it might surprise you to know that these vegetables are packed with vital nutrients like Vitamins C, A, molybdenum, potassium, manganese, magnesium and folate.
The hard outer skin contains traces of silica, potassium and magnesium. Silica keeps the connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bones healthy. Silica is also beneficial for the skin. That is why cucumber juice is recommended for clearing up the skin. Cucumber is also used to make face packs and as facial scrubs.
Cucumber soothes the stomach and gives the body a mélange of useful nutrients in addition to water. Thus, it is naturally hydrating and is one of the best foods to eat when the weather is hot.
Since cucumber is cooling and anti-inflammatory, it is sued to soothe skin inflammation, burns and sunburn. Certain elements in cucumbers effectively block water retention. That is why they are used under baggy or swollen eyes. Interestingly, ancient cultures knew of the soothing effects of cucumber and included this vegetable in their beauty preparations.
Crunchy cucumber is full of fiber. Fibrous foods are very healthy as they aid digestion and help elimination. Since cucumber aids elimination, people who suffer from constipation may take in cucumbers to aid regular elimination.
Cucumber also has the ability to help regulate blood pressure. According to studies, foods that are rich in potassium, fiber and magnesium have the ability to lower high blood pressure. Cucumber has all of these elements.
Cucumber has very low calorie content. Thus, it is one of the most recommended foods for people who are currently on a diet plan. It is crunchy and fleshy, making it pleasant to the palate. The fiber content in cucumber keeps hunger at bay.
How to eat Cucumber
The best way to take in cucumbers is to eat it raw. Some people like to peel the hard outer cover, particularly because commercially grown cucumbers may be sprayed with insecticides or coated with wax to improve their shelf life.
- Add cucumbers to salads.
- Add a dash of lime juice and pepper to sliced cucumber to make fresh, fat-free green salad.
- Add tiny pieces of cucumber to low fat yoghurt. This is soothing, filling and low in calories.
- Puree cucumbers, tomatoes, green pepper and onion. Add a dash of salt and pepper to make instant soup.
- Diced cucumbers may be added to chicken in a variety of dishes.
- Cucumber also makes excellent finger foods for children, who might enjoy having them with their favorite salad dips.
Cucumber is tasty, water, nutrient and fiber rich. It is great for the body – both for internal consumption as well as external application. So, staying away from cucumbers is equivalent to sabotaging your good health. Include it in your fat burning kitchen foods.