Most people think of cucumber as a vegetable, which is not valid. It is actually a fruit, which is low in calories and is very nutritious.
There are several types of cucumbers, and they come in a variety of colours, but the edible types are usually classified as slicing or pickling cucumbers. Slicing cucumbers are produced for fresh consumption, while pickling cucumbers are produced for ultimate processing into pickles.
The article is a definitive guide on cucumber. If you wish to know its nutritional content, types, health benefits, or risk, just continue reading further and find out.
Nutrients In Cucumber
According to studies, one 142 gram cup of raw, chopped cucumber contains the following nutrients:
water: 137 g
protein: 0.8 g
fat: 0.2 g
carbohydrate: 3.1 g, including 2.0 g of sugar
fiber: 1.0 g
calcium: 19.9 g
iron: 0.3 mg
magnesium: 17 mg
phosphorus: 29.8 mg
potassium: 193 mg
sodium: 2.8 mg
vitamin C: 4.5 mg
folate: 19.9 mcg
beta carotene: 44 mcg
lutein + zeaxanthin 22.7 mcg
vitamin K: 10.2 mcg
What Are The Types Of Cucumbers?
English cucumber is one of the widely available cucumbers. It is abundant in size, has dark green skin, and contains very few or no seeds. Some other popular types of cucumber are as follows:
- Armenian Cucumbers: Also called snake cucumbers are long and twisted, having dark green skin and pale furrows. People generally use it for pickling.
- Kirby Cucumbers: People make use of the Kirby cucumbers to prepare dill pickles. They have thin skin and small seeds and are very crispy.
- Japanese Cucumbers: The Japanese cucumbers are dark green in color and are very narrow. The skin of these cucumbers are thin and have small bumps in them.
- Persian Cucumbers: These are comparatively shorter and thicker than the English cucumbers, and are very crunchy to eat.
- Lemon Cucumbers: These cucumbers are similar to the size of lemons and so are given the name “lemon cucumber.” They appear pale and delicate and are very sweet in taste.
Also Read: 4 Diets For A Healthy Life
What Are The Health Benefits Of Cucumbers?
Following are some of the most popular health benefits of cucumbers:
- It's High In Nutrients: Cucumber is one of the most popular garden vegetables, which is low in calories but high in many essential nutrients. We have already discussed how many nutrients are there in cucumbers in the previous section of the article.
- It's A Good Source Of Antioxidants: Antioxidants are the molecules that form highly reactive atoms with free radicals or the unpaired electrons. When these atoms stockpile in the body, they can cause different types of illnesses. As a matter of fact, this oxidative stress can lead to cancer of the lung, heart, and several autoimmune disorders.
Certain fruits and vegetables are rich in essential antioxidants that can keep these ailments at bay. In a study, thirty older adults were supplemented on cucumber powder. After 30 days, they were examined, and it was found that there was a substantial increase in many markers of antioxidant activity and enhanced oxidative stress.
However, one important thing to note is that the cucumber supplementation powder used in this experiment contained a comparatively higher dose of antioxidants than there is in one average serving of cucumber. One another study on cucumbers suggests that they contain tannins and flavonoids. These two groups of antioxidants are known to be very useful in blocking free radicals in the body.
- It Promotes Hydration: Water is necessary for the smooth functioning of various body organs. It is involved in keeping your body’s temperature under control, and also for transporting nutrients in the body and flushing out waste from the body. Adequate water content in the body can support physical performance as well as the metabolism rate of the body. Cucumbers are composed of 96% water content and so including them in your diet can help keep you hydrated. Some other fruits and vegetables that have high water content can also be included in your diet.
- It May Encourage Weight Loss: There are many different ways cucumbers can help lose weight. Firstly, they are low in calories. Each one-cup serving has only 16 calories, and one ounce of cucumber contains just 105 calories. It implies that you can have plenty of cucumbers, it will make you feel fuller, and also you don’t need to count on calories. You can include them in your salads and have an added flavor of freshness to your salads. You can treat cucumbers as a replacement for many of the high-calorie foods. As cucumbers are full of water, it can support weight loss.
- It May Help Regulate Your Blood Sugar Levels: Several studies suggest that cucumbers are helpful in reducing blood sugar levels and avoid some severe complications of diabetes.
- It Is Convenient To Include In Your Diet: Cucumbers have a very refreshing flavor and can be pickled into everything from salads to sandwiches. They are generally consumed raw as a low-calorie snack or can be consumed in combination with salt, olive oil, hummus, or salad dressing for the added flavor. Use a little bit of creativity and enjoy cucumbers in several ways.
- It Could Help Promote Regularity: Eating cucumbers promote regular bowel movements. One of the significant risk factors for constipation is dehydration. Cucumbers are high in water and fiber that will keep you hydrated and encourage regular bowel movements. Pectin is a particular type of fiber that can increase bowel movement frequency.
What Health Risks Are Associated With Cucumbers?
There are some health risks also associated with cucumbers which are as follows:
- It Can Be Toxic: The presence of certain toxins like cucurbitacins and tetracyclic triterpenoids should not be overlooked. Studies suggest that the bitter flavor of cucumber and many other vegetables is because of these compounds. Researchers believe that eating cucumbers beyond the limit can be dangerous and sometimes even life-threatening.
- It Can Cause Excessive Loss Of Fluid: The seeds of cucumbers are a rich source of cucurbitin, which is an ingredient responsible for the diuretic properties of cucumber. Too much of the diuretic substance can cause excessive fluids to eradicate from the body, obstructing the electrolyte balance. In extreme conditions, they can even leave the body dehydrated.
- It Can Be Dangerous For Your Renal System: Cucumbers are high in potassium, and so higher consumption of them can lead to hyperkalemia. You can experience some of the symptoms, including abdominal cramps, bloating, and intestinal gas, initially. The symptoms worsen with time, interfering with the proper functioning of kidneys. It makes the renal system at risk of decreasing to damages.
- It Can Cause Oral And Skin Allergy: Certain studies suggest that people who are chamomile tea, ragweed pollens, melons, bananas, and sunflower seeds can also experience a similar kind of allergy after consuming cucumbers with skin. Although cooking or grilling cucumbers can eliminate the risk of allergies to some extent, it is recommended to have zucchini for the same to prevent allergies.
- It May Cause Sinusitis: If you have sinusitis or any other chronic respiratory conditions, kindly avoid eating cucumber. Some ayurvedic practitioners believe that the cooling effects of cucumber can provoke such conditions, resulting in severe complications.
Tips To Avoid Side Effects Of Cucumber
Following are some of the essential tips you can consider to avoid the aforementioned side effects of cucumbers:
- Wash the cucumbers thoroughly under running water for about three minutes.
- Make sure to peel out the skin of cucumbers to protect yourself and your family from the harmful toxins hidden on their peels.
- If you are having a hard time eating raw cucumbers, you can grill them before consuming them.
You may have heard that too much if anything can be dangerous, which makes quite a sense in regards to cucumbers. The right amount for cucumber consumption each day can differ from person to person. So, consult a dietician and determine how much cucumbers you can eat without a risk.
Cucumbers are very healthy, refreshing, and nutritious, and can be easily included in any diet. But still, it has some downsides that you need to be careful. Know the widespread health benefits and risks and decide whether its consumption would be right for you.
Tags: Cucumber benefits and side effects, Benefits of cucumber juice, Cucumber benefits for skin