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Cucumber and its hidden benefits

The humble cucumber may seem to be an unlikely source as a health supplement. But that lowly cucumber packs some serious benefits beyond a crunchy addition to a salad or vegetable tray. It seems likely that all of us implicitly know that cucumbers are healthy, but we may not be aware of how beneficial cucumbers can be. 

The cucumber is generally thought of as a vegetable. It is, in fact, a fruit. Cucumbers have more in common with certain types of melons. Loaded with vitamins and minerals cucumbers have long been a staple of salads, at least in America. 

How much do we really know about cucumbers? What are cucumbers exactly? What kinds of vitamins and minerals are found in cucumbers? And what are the many health benefits of cucumbers? This article will explore all there is to know about the simple cucumber. And we will explain the many hidden benefits of cucumbers. 

What is a cucumber?

Cucumbers are known formally by the scientific name of Cucumis sativus. They are a member of the family of plants we commonly call gourds or the family Cucurbitaceae. 

Cucumbers are thought to have originated in parts of Southeast Asia. They are now cultivated all over the world. 

Cucumbers can vary in size, shape, and color. They come in several varieties. Most have bright green skin and are the familiar cylindrical shape. The most common types of cucumbers are slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumber. English Cucumber has grown in popularity in recent years. These are narrower and have softer skin.

Slicing cucumbers are the variety we are probably most familiar with. These are the types that grow in gardens all over the United States and are great raw in salads and vegetable platters. 

Pickling cucumbers are generally smaller. They are not grown to be eaten raw but are instead used in pickling. The common dill pickle is made from pickling cucumbers.   

Cucumber benefits

Cucumbers are low in calories. They contain plenty of water and soluble fiber. Cucumbers are great at maintaining hydration and for helping with weight loss. There are also multiple health benefits for cucumbers. 

Naturally high in nutrients

Low in calories but high in natural nutrients, cucumbers are filled with vitamins. An 11-ounce unpeeled cucumber contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 45
  • Total fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 11 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Vitamin C: 14% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 62% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 10% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 13% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 12% of the RDI

Contains antioxidants 

Antioxidants block the oxidative stress caused by the presence of free radicals in the body. Oxidative stress has been linked to a host of chronic illnesses and cancer. Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are rich in antioxidants that reduce the likelihood of developing things like autoimmune diseases. 

Studies that focused specifically on cucumbers found that eating cucumbers or taking a supplement that contained cucumber powder significantly reduced the markers of oxidative stress.

Other studies showed that the presence of flavonoids and tannins specifically present in cucumbers are especially effective at blocking the presence of free radicals. 

Helps with hydration

The basic element for being healthy is water. Any fitness plan or program of general health must begin with making sure you get enough water. Everything from temperature regulation to the elimination of waste from your body depends on getting enough water. The most basic functions of your entire metabolism depend on maintaining proper hydration

The majority of our hydration comes from simply drinking enough water. But many people get as much as 40 percent of their hydration needs from food sources. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of hydration. 

Cucumbers are composed of about 96 percent water. Of all the food sources that provide you with hydration, cucumbers are among the best. 

Helps you lose weight

Cucumbers help with weight loss in several ways. First, they are low in calories. Snacking on cucumbers is a great way to feel full while consuming a few calories. 

Also, the high water content of cucumbers helps you shed weight by assisting your body in burning calories and fats. Studies have shown that consistently eating foods that are high in water content helps you lose weight. 

Can lower blood sugar

Numerous studies show that eating cucumbers can help reduce blood sugar levels. This can reduce the danger of complications from diabetes. 

Another study examined the effects of taking a cucumber extract as a supplement. This research found that an extract of cucumber peels can significantly reduce blood sugar levels. 

In addition to reducing blood sugar levels, additional research has found that the antioxidant properties of cucumbers also help reduce the symptoms of diabetes. 

Promotes regularity

Perhaps this is not the most pleasant thing to talk about, but regular bowel movements are a necessary bodily function for good health. One of the main causes of intestinal irregularity is dehydration. 

Since cucumbers are so high in water content, they naturally promote regularity. What is more, the high fiber content of cucumbers also helps promote bowel regularity.

Cucumbers also contain high levels of a specific soluble fiber called pectin. Research has shown that pectin helps promote healthy intestinal bacteria, and this also maintains proper intestinal regularity. 

Cucumber nutrition

The general breakdown of nutrition in cucumbers is given above. Cucumbers are a great source of what are called phytonutrients. These are plant chemicals that are known to prevent a variety of diseases. Cucumbers also contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and anti-cancer properties. 

The peel and seeds of cucumbers are the most nutrient-dense parts of the plant. They contain high amounts of fiber and also high concentrations of beta-carotene which helps protect the skin, promote immunity, and may prevent cancer. 

Cucumbers are also a great source of vitamins and minerals. They contain high concentrations of calcium to promote bone health. Cucumbers are also naturally low in calories, sodium, fat, and cholesterol. 

From cucumbers, you can get about 4 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and vitamin A. 

Types of Cucumbers

Like most commonly cultivated fruits and vegetables, there are multiple varieties of cucumbers. Some of the most common, and the most delicious include the following:

English cucumbers

This variety is long and slender. They generally measure between 10 and 15 inches. English cucumbers have dark green skin that is thin enough to eat so you do not need to peel and English cucumber. These are common in European countries but have only recently become popular in the United States. The English cucumber is a bit sweeter than the common North American cucumber. They are also seedless and are often marketed as seedless cucumbers. 

Green Fingers Persian cucumber

As the name says, this is a Persian cucumber that is great for snacking. They are a small variety, measuring only about 3 to 5 inches. Green Fingers Persian cucumbers are easy to grow from seed and germinate in about seven days. Green Fingers Persian cucumbers have a long growing season and will continue to produce fruit well into late fall in milder climates. 

Muncher cucumbers

These cucumbers are great for slicing. They grow to be between 8 and 10 inches long. When picked young they can be used for pickling. Muncher cucumbers are seedless and contain little of the chemical cucurbitacin which causes the belching so often associated with cucumbers. The skin of the muncher cucumbers is thin and edible. 

Ashley cucumbers

This is an heirloom variety of cucumber developed in South Carolina. Ashley cucumbers are popular in southern climates since they are resistant to forms of fungus that can plague other types of cucumbers in these regions. They are between 6 and 8 inches in length. Ashley cucumbers are commonly sold in farmer’s markets. 

Diva cucumbers 

This is a snack-sized cucumber that is ready to pack in school lunches and the like. Reaching only about 5 inches long, Diva cucumbers have a crisp texture and flavor. This is another seedless variety of cucumber that is ideal for vegetable plates. 

Alibi cucumbers 

These are regarded as one of the best pickling cucumbers around. They are also great to eat raw. Alibi cucumbers tend to max out at about 4 inches in length—perfect for making pickles. They have smooth green skin. One of the best things about Alibi cucumbers is they are naturally resistant to diseases and are easy to grow in your garden.  

Sweet Success cucumbers

This variety is ready to harvest in less than two months. These are large cucumbers, measuring about 14 inches. They are seedless and burpless and have a smooth taste that is free of bitterness. The skin is dark and smooth and thin enough to be eaten. Sweet Success cucumbers are another disease-resistant variety.  

Cucumber side effects

There are no known adverse effects from eating cucumbers. The only thing you may want to pay attention to is how the cucumbers are grown. Exposure to pesticides from certain fruits and vegetables is always a concern. Buy your cucumbers from a trusted source. Organic, pesticide-free cucumbers are commonly found at farmer's markets and specialty grocery stores. Some major supermarkets now stock organic produce that is certified to be pesticide-free.  

Cucumber FAQs

What is a cucumber? 

Cucumbers are known formally by the scientific name of Cucumis sativus. They are a member of the family of plants we commonly call gourds or the family Cucurbitaceae. 

Are cucumbers nutritious? 

Cucumbers are extremely high in vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of hydration and they are high in soluble fiber. 

Are there other health benefits to cucumbers? 

Cucumbers contain high quantities of antioxidants that protect against inflammation, autoimmune disease, and cancer. Cucumbers can also help reduce blood sugar levels and help reduce the symptoms of diabetes. 

Are there different kinds of cucumbers?

There are multiple varieties of cucumbers. The most common cucumbers in the United States are the common American cucumber and the English cucumber. 

Hydrate Cucumber Product Showcase

Cucumbers are a great source of nutrition, and they are a great way to stay hydrated. As we see above, there are nutrition and health supplements that include cucumber extract. The best cucumber hydration supplement is Hydrate 2.0 from NF Sports. 

Hydrate 2.0 is a hydration drink mix formulated with the optimal electrolyte and sustamine blend to amplify hydration and increase performance. Our all-natural formula helps the body rehydrate, replenish, and recover. It includes the most bioavailable forms of electrolytes.

Intense levels of activity and long workouts can dehydrate your body and drain your cells of glycogen, the main energy source for your muscles. Hydrate 2.0 can increase performance.

Maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal system is crucial to your overall well-being – a healthy gut is key to supporting your immune system. Hydrate 2.0 is designed to aid in digestive system health.

Conclusion

Most people who are invested in health and fitness know what is going on in the world of nutrition and health supplements. These people keep up with the latest developments in sports nutrition. As the science of health and fitness evolves, athletes and people who maintain a workout regimen know about the latest developments. 

But sometimes the best things to know about are the simplest things. The things that are already in our kitchens can offer some of the most important health benefits. Such is the case with cucumbers. It turns out cucumbers are one of the healthiest foods to keep around. Packed with vitamins and minerals, cucumbers are a simple and delicious way of maintaining our health.  

Cucumbers are also good for helping us stay hydrated as we workout. These simple fruits have a water content of about 96 percent. Snacking on cucumbers keeps us hydrated while we stay full. 

The other benefits of cucumbers are just as important. Packed with antioxidants, cucumbers can help reduce inflammation, can help fight chronic illnesses, and can even help prevent cancer. Something as simple and obvious as cucumbers provide us with one of the best health supplements we can find. 

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