Cucumber are especially benefcial for overall health and are considered very refreshing during summers as it is rich in moisture, low in calories and fat. The plant is basically a creeper, easy to grow and cultivated in various sizes, shapes and colours. Cucumber is a vegetable which is known scientifically as Cucumis sativus, belongs to the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae which include gourds, melons and squashes. This vegetable is one of the oldest cultivated crop, originated mainly in northern India. Today, cucumbers are the fourth most widely grown vegetable crop in the world after tomatoes, onions and cabbage. They are grown worldwide in temeperate regions. Cucumber has light to dark green in colour, moisture rich flesh and tiny edible seeds inside. It has slightly sweet flavour and is mainly eaten raw in salad,sandwiches or in the form of juice. Cucumber comes in two varieties: slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. The pickling varieties tend to be smaller, thicker and have bumpy skin with black dotted spines.
Cucumber are excellent source of vitamins K, C and different B vitamins. They are also very good source of sodium, copper, amino acids, carbohydrates, solube and insoluble fibre content. They also posses various minerals like potassium, manganese, fatty acids, phosphorus, magnesium, biotin and silica. Cucumbers exhibit various health benefits due to the presence of various phytonutrients such as flavonoids ( apigenin, luteolin, quercetin and kaepferol), lignans (pinoresinol, lariciresinol and secoisolariciresinol) and triterpenes (cucurbitacins A, B, C and D).
High in Anti-oxidants
Cucumber contains good amount of antioxidants like B carotene, A- carotene, zea-xanthin and lutein which act as a scavengers against free radiclas preventing cell aging and cell damage
Keeps your body hydrated
As cucumbers contain about 95% water, this vegetable keeps you cool and hydrated. This helps to normalize your body temperature too.
Digestive disorders such as heartburn, gastritis and stomach ulcers can be cured by daily consumption of fresh cusumber. The high fibre content and water content helps to remove toxins and waste from body thus promoting healthy digestion. Daily consumption of cucumber can be regarded as good home remedy for chronic constipation. This vegetables also aids in proper digestion of proteins due to the presence of enzyme Erepsin.
Eating few slices just before going to bed can help to cure hangover due to alcohol consumption. This is basically because the high amount of water content helps to rehydrate the body and helps to eliminate the toxins from body. The sugar, vitamin B and electrolytes content in cucumber also helps to reduce the intensity of hangover and headache.
As cucumber contains 95% of water that helps to hydrate and moisturize the skin. The presence of vitamin E and potassiun helps to reduce fine lines, wrinkles , blemishes and other signs of ageing. Facial mask containning cucumber juice are beneficial for skin tightening and revitalizing the skin. Ascorbic acid and caffeic acid present in cucumber helps to bring down the puffiness and swelling of eyes and also helps to minimize dark circles under the eyes.
Cucumber are considered to be ideal food for people trying to lose extra weight as they are low in fat and calories content. And as they are rich in both soluble and insuluble fibre content, they keep stomach full and prevent from overeating high calorie food.
Promote hair and nail growth
Regular intake of cucumber is suppose to stimulate proper hair and nail growth as they contains minerals such as silicon, sulphur, phosphorus and calcium
Control blood pressure
They contain good source of potassium, magnesium, and fibre which helps in regulating blood pressure. They are also found to be very good in treatment of both low and high blood pressure. Additionally they are found to act as natural diuretic and hence helps to lower the pressure in the arteries.
Promote joint health
Cucumber are very good source of silica that helps to strenghthen connective tissues and promote joint health. It is also contains calcium that helps in proper growth of bones preventing any bone related disorders. Hence their juice is recommended for arthritis patients and they are believed to reduce uric acid level in gout pateints.
The bitterness of cucumber is caused due to the presence of phytochemicals known as cucurbitacins which posses strong anti-cancer properties. And the flavonoid fisetin present in cucumber is also found to be very effective in fighting against prostate cancer cells. Caffeic acid is found to have anti-proliferative and apototc effects on breast cancer cells. Additionally the availability of vitamin C also improves immunity of the body. Hence eating raw cucumber or drinking its juice is found to be very effective in preventing number of cancers such as prostate, breast, ovarian, lung and uterine types.
So next time when summers are at its peak and you feel dehydrated, make a habit to eat few slices of cucumber or drink its juice to gain all nutritional and health benefits of this superb vegetable.