The humble, crunchy cucumber is a wonderful vegetable to beat the scorching summer heat. Cucumber is one of the oldest cultivated crops, believed to have been originated in the Indian subcontinent.
The plant is basically a creeper and belongs to the Cucurbitaceous family, its scientific name being Cucumis sativus. This vegetable is considered as a super food for its effects on the overall health.
This plant is extremely easy to grow and is cultivated in various sizes, shapes and colour. The vegetable is cultivated all over the world. It has a light to dark green thin skin, moisture rich flesh and has tiny edible seeds inside. The vegetable is best harvested when it is young, tender and just short of achieving maturity. It has a slightly sweet flavour and is mainly eaten raw in salad or sandwiches or in the form of juice.
Let’s have a look at the amazing benefits of cucumber for skin, hair and health:
Health Benefits of Cucumber:
1. Fight Constipation:
The amount of calories in cucumber is very low and it contains just 15 grams of calories per 100 grams. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Daily consumption of cucumbers can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation (1).
2. High Fiber:
3. Healthy Urinary Bladder and Kidney:
It has healing attributes in relation to the diseases of urinary bladder and kidney. The water content in cucumber aids the function of kidney by promoting urination. Regular consumption of cucumber can also dissolve kidney stones over time (3).
4. Aids Digestion:
Digestive problems like heartburn, acidity, gastritis and even ulcer can be cured by daily consumption of cucumber or cucumber juice. It can also treat the problem of constipation. Cucumber contains an enzyme called Erepsin which aids in the digestion of protein (4).
5. Fight Intestinal Worm:
Not just cucumber and its juice, but its seeds are also highly beneficial. Cucumber seeds are considered as a natural remedy to eliminate tape worm from intestinal tracts. The seeds also have anti-inflammatory properties (5) which are effective in the treatment of swellings of mucous membranes of the nose and throat.
6. Good Dosage of Potassium:
Cucumbers are one of the best sources of potassium and contain 147 milligrams of potassium per 100 grams. This heart friendly electrolyte reduces blood pressure level in the body and reduces heart rate by minimizing the effects of sodium (6).
7. High in Antioxidants:
Cucumbers contain good amount of antioxidants like B carotene, A-carotene, zea-xanthin and lutein (7). These compounds act as a scavenger against free radicals that lead to ageing and other age related diseases.
8. Reduces Inflammation:
Fresh cucumber extracts are also known to reduce unwanted inflammation. It accomplishes the task by inhabiting activity of pro inflammatory enzymes like cyclo-oxyenase and by preventing over production of nitric oxides which leads to excessive inflammation (8).
9. Beneficial for Diabetics:
Cucumber juice contains hormones. These are needed by the pancreas for producing insulin which is extremely beneficial to diabetic patients. Copper in cucumber also aids to produce healthy blood cells and improves blood circulation in the body (9).
Cucumbers are known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol. These 3 lignans are strongly connected with reducing the risk of developing several kinds of cancer like breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and prostate cancer. When we consume these lignans, bacteria found in our digestive tract take hold of these lignans and convert them into enterolignans. These enterolignans bind on to the estrogens receptors to reduce estrogens related diseases like cancer (10).
[ Read: Prickly Pear Benefits ]
11. Good for Dental Health:
Cucumber also cares for the dental health by combating bad breath. The vegetable releases phytochemical which kill the bad breath causing bacteria. Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of the mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds. The phytochemicals will kill the bacteria responsible for causing bad breath. Raw cucumber increases salivation and brings a neutralisation of acids and alkali in oral cavity. Cucumber juice can effectively treat gum diseases like pyorrhoea and weak gums (11).
12. Cures Hangover:
Cucumber can also be used to cure hangover and headache associated with it. This is because they help to rehydrate the body’s nutrients and eliminate the toxins that are present due to the intake of alcohol. Eat few cucumber slices before going to bed. The sugar, vitamin B and electrolytes content in cucumber will reduce the intensity of hangover and headache (12).
13. Good for Treating Blood Pressure Issues:
Cumber has mild diuretic properties owing to its high potassium and water content. It also has a good amount of manganese, potassium and fibre which regulates the blood pressure and treats both high and low blood pressure. Steam produced while boiling cucumber acts as a stress reliever and calms and relaxes the senses and muscles (13).
14. Flushes Out Waste From the Body:
Cucumber contains 95% water which hydrates and replenishes the body by eliminating the toxins. The high water content in cucumber acts as a system cleanser and sweeps the waste products out of the system (14).