5 Health Benefits of Cucumbers
By Madalina Hubert
Cucumbers are one of the most refreshing foods to have during the summer. Both traditional and Western medicine have praised the health benefits of cucumbers, not only for cooling and hydrating the body but also for promoting weight loss, soothing the skin and eyes, among others.
Interestingly, we often treat them as vegetables, but like tomatoes, cucumbers are actually fruits. Like many fruits, they are best enjoyed raw (cucumber and tomato salad is especially refreshing in the summer), but they are also a great complement to cooked dishes. In fact, stay tuned for some delicious recipes at the end of this article.
In the meantime, here are 5 health benefits of cucumber that you can take advantage of.
1. Cucumbers Keep You Cool and Hydrated
In the summer, as temperatures swell, the body heat also rises. It’s important to stay hydrated and cool, and what better way to do that than eat your water? Cucumbers are made up of more than 95% water, so they are great to keep you cool and hydrated. This high water content also supports regular bowel movements and flushes out toxins, among other benefits. Other than enjoying them in meals, you can also take advantage of the health benefits of cucumbers by adding slices to water or drinking cucumber juice. For an especially cooling drink, try cucumber and celery juice. You can find a recipe here.
For more tips on staying cool this summer, click here.
2. They Can Help You Lose Weight
Cucumbers are very low in calories (approximately 15 calories per 100g), so you can eat them without packing on the pounds. At the same time, they contain fibre, which is important for a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements. Fibre also gives the body a feeling of fullness, which often works to reduce food cravings. The high water content of cucumbers also contributes to this feeling.
Thanks to their low calories, hydrating and cleansing properties, cucumbers also make for a healthy snack. Some people even use cucumber slices as alternatives for chips to scoop up dips. Not only are they not fattening, but they can also counter the high salt content of these dips.
3. Cucumbers Soothe the Skin
Their anti-inflammatory and cooling properties are some of the most important health benefits of cucumbers and have a particularly soothing effect on the skin. You can apply cucumber slices or cucumber juice as a topical remedy to the skin to reduce irritation, swelling, sunburn, acne, dryness and help reverse aging. Here are 7 cucumber facial remedies that you can prepare at home.
4. They Relieve Tired Eyes
The anti-inflammatory and cooling properties of cucumbers can also soothe the eyes, especially when they are swollen, dry, hot or irritated. A simple remedy is to place slices of cold cucumber on each eye and keep them there while you rest for 10-20 minutes. This treatment can also help keep the skin around the eyes hydrated and reduce dark circles and bags under the eyes. Here are more ways to soothe your eyes with cucumbers.
5. Strengthen Bones
Did you know cucumbers can help strengthen bones? Among the health benefits of cucumbers is vitamin K, a nutrient that is essential to bone formation. Alongside calcium and magnesium, vitamin K helps maintain healthy bones and prevent fractures due to aging. In addition to strengthening bones, vitamin K also contributes to heart health, helps with blood clotting, and may even work against certain types of cancer. One cup of cucumber has approximately 20% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin K.
When enjoying cucumber, keep in mind that peel contributes to some of the most important health benefits of cucumbers, so try not to discard it. However, note that the peel is also the one most affected by pesticides, so make sure to wash it thoroughly before eating.
Finally, as promised, here are some wonderful cucumber recipes to keep in mind:
Madalina Hubert is a Toronto-based writer specializing in art, culture, travel, and culinary explorations.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are purely informational and educational in nature. The information is not a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.