Cucumber may seem like a somewhat bland fruit and you probably never thought of it as being particularly healthy. After all, it tastes pretty much just like water…
Well as it happens, cucumber is actually packed with goodness and that watery flavor is only telling of some of its additional selling points. Read on to find out where the expression ‘cool as a cucumber’ came from (maybe).
You weren’t wrong in noticing that cucumbers were water, in fact they are 95% water. Actually though, that watery nature is a good thing and is what helps to make cucumber so great for hydration. Most of us are dehydrated the vast majority of the time and this can cause numerous side effects from tiredness and headaches to weight gain. Remember, humans are 75% water too! We have more in common with cucumbers than you might think…
We actually get a large amount of our hydration from our food and cucumber is one of the best sources of that hydration. So give it a try!
As plants, cucumbers are rich in phytonutrients – chemicals that come from plants and have health benefits. These include flavonoids, lignans and triterpenes which provide numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Vitamins and Minerals
As with many fruits, it’s the seeds and the peel that are the most nutritious, with the skin in particular containing beta-carotene – a precursor to vitamin A that’s very good for eye health and the immune system. There’s also about 19% of our RDA for vitamin K in cucumber which is important for strengthening the bones. This vitamin is also good for heart health. Small amounts of vitamin C, calcium and iron aren’t life changing but it all helps!
Another great thing about cucumber is that it’s super low in calories. In fact, a serving of cucumber (about half a cup) will only contribute 8 calories to your total. That’s such a tiny amount that you can snack on them all day to fight hunger pangs and not worry about piling the weight on. You can also use them to bulk up a salad sandwich, where the watery texture will aid digestion and absorption.
Just be careful to wash your cucumber thoroughly before you munch on it. Cucumbers are one of the ‘dirty dozen’ fruits named by the Environmental Working Group meaning they have relatively high exposure to pesticide residue.