Cucumbers are very good for you. They are full of water, fiber and other important nutrients—keeping you hydrated, helping you maintain a healthy weight and much more.
When most of us think cucumbers, we envision the refreshing crunch of a summer salad or the cool, rejuvenating sensation of cucumber slices on the eyelids. From cuisine to skin care, cucumbers are used for a variety of purposes—and for a good reason. Cucumbers provide many benefits for your skin, body and general health and well-being.
First of all, cucumbers are comprised mainly of water—95 percent, to be exact. That means they help you stay hydrated, supplying about one-quarter of your daily recommended water intake in just one vegetable! And because cucumbers are mostly water, they’re also low in calories: a cup of sliced cucumber only has about 16 calories.
But even though cucumbers are low-calorie, that doesn’t mean they aren’t filling. One cup contains about half a gram of soluble fiber. This helps you feel fuller longer because fiber breaks down into a gel-like substance once it's in your stomach, which slows digestion. This is also why fiber-rich foods are thought to help with weight control.
Cucumbers can also help freshen up your breath after a meal! Vegetables rich in fiber and water tend to make you salivate more, which helps to wash away the odor-causing bacteria that create bad breath. Next time you could use a little refresh, try pressing a small slice of cucumber against the roof of your mouth.
Beyond hydration, weight control and fresh breath, cucumbers offer even greater health benefits. They contain potassium, which is a vital electrolyte. It interacts with sodium to help your cells perform essential functions: nerve transmission, muscle contraction and even heart function. A diet rich in potassium has also been linked to a reduction in blood pressure.
Cucumbers also promote brain health. They contain fisetin, a powerful flavonol with anti-inflammatory properties. Fisetin has been shown to improve memory and guard nerve cells against damage that typically occurs as we age. Taking that one step farther, fisetin has also been shown to aid in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: one animal study showed that fiestin helped prevent progressive learning and memory deterioration in subjects suffering from this disease.
Cucumbers offer many important benefits, and incorporating more of them into your diet is a great idea. Just be careful if you have certain allergies—the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reports that cucumbers can trigger oral allergy syndrome in some individuals, particularly those with an allergy to ragweed.
You should also be cautious about which cucumbers you choose. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, has ranked them as the 9th most contaminated food. To reduce your risk, choose organic cucumbers over those that have been conventionally grown with pesticides and other chemicals.
Possible short-term side effects
- allergic reaction
Ingredients to be aware of
- helps maintain a healthy weight
- freshens breath
- promotes heart health
- improves brain function