Health Benefits of Cucumbers

Cucumber

Cucumber is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae. It is a creeping vine that bears cylindrical fruits that are used as culinary vegetables. There are three main varieties of cucumber: slicing, pickling, and burpless. Within these varieties, several different cultivars have emerged.

Product Description


General Information


Cucumber is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae. It is a creeping vine that bears cylindrical fruits that are used as culinary vegetables. There are three main varieties of cucumber: slicing, pickling, and burpless. Within these varieties, several different cultivars have emerged. Health benefits of cucumbers are aplenty, read further to know more.


Storage, Cleaning & Preparation


Cucumbers that are raw are best when they are crispy and fresh. Unfortunately, cucumbers can start going bad quickly when improperly stored. This means that you must eat them quickly to prevent them from starting to rot in your fridge or find a new way of storing the cucumbers. Fortunately, it is possible to store cucumbers so that they stay fresh even after more than a week.

Storage: Since cucumbers can be very sensitive to heat, you’ll be on safer grounds if you choose those that are displayed in refrigerated cases.

Cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator where they will keep for several days. If you do not use the entire cucumber during one meal, place it in a tightly sealed container so that it does not become dried out. For maximum quality, cucumber should be used within one or two days. Cucumbers should not be left out at room temperature for too long as this will cause them to wilt and become limp.

How to Store Cucumbers - Wrapped in Plastic

How to Store Cucumbers

Cleaning & Cutting: Wash the cucumber in order to remove any dirt and germs that it carries.

Carefully cut off the ends of the cucumber and throw them away and Peel the cucumber with a potato peeler and then slice it.

How to Buy:

Avoid cucumbers that are yellow, puffy, have sunken water-soaked areas, or are wrinkled at their tips. They should be firm, rounded at their edges, and their color should be a bright medium to dark green, test the firmness of the cucumber.

Special Steps:

Wrap the cucumber in plastic wrap and then put it into the fridge. Keeping the cucumber wrapped minimizes the amount of moisture on the cucumber, which slows the process of decay.

A paper towel is another option for wrapping up the cucumber. Raw cucumbers surrounded by a paper towel are kept dry due to the absorption of water and moisture by the towel. Putting the cucumber into the vegetable crisper of the fridge while surrounded by the paper towel will help keep the cucumber fresh as the moisture level is lowered. It also allows the cucumber to last longer than a week.

TIP:

To eliminate the bitter taste, repeatedly rubbed the tip of the cucumber with the tip you cut off, making a light foam.


Nutritional Benefits


Cucumbers belong to the same plant family as squash, pumpkin, and watermelon. Cucumbers are made up of mostly (96 percent) water, which means eating them on a hot summer day can help you stay hydrated.

However, there’s reason to eat cucumbers all year long. With vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese, cucumbers can help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies that are widespread among those eating a typical American diet.

Mineral Content: It is a very good source of potassium, an important intracellular electrolyte. 100 g of cucumber provides 147 mg of potassium but only 2 mg of sodium.

Vitamin & Compounds: Cucumbers contains unique anti-oxidants in moderate ratios such as β-carotene and α-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-A, zea-xanthin and lutein. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Their total antioxidant strength, measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value), is 214 µmol TE/100 g. They surprisingly have a high amount of vitamin K, provides about 17 µg of this vitamin per 100 g.

Water Content: Cucumber is 96 percent water by weight.

Carbohydrate Content: Cucumber provide only 15 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.

 


Health Benefits


Cucumbers contain unique polyphenols and other compounds that may help reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

Brain Health: Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin that appears to play an important role in brain health. In addition to improving your memory and protecting your nerve cells from age-related decline, fisetin has been found to prevent progressive memory and learning impairments in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.

Heart Health: Cucumbers contain potassium, which is associated with lower blood pressure levels. A proper balance of potassium both inside and outside your cells is crucial for your body to function properly.

Antioxidant Properties: Cucumbers contain numerous antioxidants, including the well-known vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain antioxidant flavonoids, such as quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol, which provide additional benefits.

Freshen Your Breath: Placing a cucumber slice on the roof of your mouth may help to rid your mouth of odor-causing bacteria. According to the principles of Ayurveda, eating cucumbers may also help to release excess heat in your stomach, which is said to be a primary cause of bad breath. Cucumber juice refreshes and heals diseased gums, leaving your mouth smelling good.

Manage Stress: Cucumbers contain multiple B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and vitamin B7. B vitamins are known to help ease feelings of anxiety and buffer some of the damaging effects of stress.

Support Your Digestive Health: Cucumbers are rich in two of the most basic elements needed for healthy digestion: water and fiber.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Cucumbers are very low in calories, yet they make a filling snack. The soluble fiber in cucumbers dissolves into a gel-like texture in your gut, helping to slow down your digestion.

Keeps you hydrated: If you are too busy to drink enough water, munch on the cool cucumber, which is 96 percent water.

Fights heat, both inside and out: Eat cucumber, and your body gets relief from heartburn. Apply cucumber on your skin, and you get relief from sunburn.

Flushes out toxins: All that water in cucumber acts as a virtual broom, sweeping waste products out of your system. With regular use, cucumber is known to dissolve kidney stones.

Lavishes you with vitamins: A B and C, which boost immunity, give you energy, and keep you radiant. Give it more power by juicing cucumber with carrot and spinach.

Supplies skin-friendly minerals: magnesium, potassium, silicon: That’s why cucumber-based treatments abound in spas.

Aids in weight loss: Enjoy cucumbers in your salads and soups.

Revives the eyes: Placing chilled slices of cucumber on the eyes is a cliched beauty visual, but it really helps reduce under-eye bags and puffiness.

Stabilizes blood pressure. Patients of blood pressure, both high and low, often find that eating cucumber brings relief.

Smooths hair and nails: Silica, the wonder mineral in cucumber makes your hair and nails stronger and shinier.

Soothes muscle and joint pain: All those vitamins and minerals in cucumber make it a powerful enemy of muscle and joint pain.

Keeps kidneys in shape: Cucumber lowers uric acid levels in your system, keeping the kidneys happy.

Good for diabetics: Patients of diabetes can enjoy cucumber while also reaping its health benefits: cucumber contains a hormone needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin.

Reduces cholesterol: A compound called sterols in cucumber helps reduce bad cholesterol.

Fight Constipation: The amount of calories in cucumber is very low and it contains just 15 grams of calories per 100 grams. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Daily consumption of cucumbers can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation.

High Fiber: Cucumber peel is a very good source of dietary fiber. It helps to reduce constipation and indigestion and prevents stomach related diseases by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.

Healthy Urinary Bladder and Kidney: It has healing attributes in relation to the diseases of urinary bladder and kidney. The water content in cucumber aids the function of kidney by promoting urination. Regular consumption of cucumber can also dissolve kidney stones over time.

Fight Intestinal Worm: Cucumber seeds are considered as a natural remedy to eliminate tape worm from intestinal tracts. The seeds also have anti-inflammatory properties which are effective in the treatment of swellings of mucous membranes of the nose and throat.

Reduces Inflammation: Fresh cucumber extracts are also known to reduce unwanted inflammation. It accomplishes the task by inhabiting activity of pro inflammatory enzymes like cyclo-oxyenase and by preventing over production of nitric oxides which leads to excessive inflammation.

Cures Hangover: Cucumber can also be used to cure hangover and headache associated with it. This is because they help to rehydrate the body’s nutrients and eliminate the toxins that are present due to the intake of alcohol.

Flushes Out Waste From the Body: Cucumber contains 96% water which hydrates and replenishes the body by eliminating the toxins. The high water content in cucumber acts as a system cleanser and sweeps the waste products out of the system.

Strengthens Bones: Vitamin K in cucumbers plays a very important role in strengthening bones by promoting orthotropic activity. The high amount of silica in it promotes joint health by strengthening the connective tissue. It is also a good source of calcium making it perfect for vegan diet.

Treats Alzheimer’s: Copper in cucumber help the people to make neurotransmitters, the family of chemicals, which brain needs to communicate. It also helps in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by limiting neutral damage in the brain.

Home care: Eliminates a foggy mirror. Before taking a shower, rub a cucumber slice along a mirror and it will eliminate the mirror fogging up, take a cucumber slice and rub it along a squeaky hinge and your door will stop squeaking.

 


The other side


Allergic Reactions: Allergies, especially around oral cavity, itchiness and swelling may also develop due to allergy. This can be redeemed by cooking the food rather than eaten it in its raw form.

Gas: Cucumber can also lead to gastritis problems in some people which are mainly caused due to a compound known as cucurbitacin which causes indigestion.

Toxicity: Cucumber can also cause toxicity and baldness caused by chemicals found in the cucumbers. This usually happens when one consumes excess of cucumber.

Harmful For Renal System: Hyperkalemia is a medical condition that arises due to the presence of high potassium content in the body. It leads to bloating, abdominal cramps, and intestinal gas, initially. The condition worsens over the time, hampering the functioning of the kidneys in an effective way. This, in turn, puts your renal system at the risk of succumbing to damages.

The Wax Issue: Some people wonder if the waxy finish found on supermarket cucumbers contains harmful chemicals. The artificial wax coatings replace the natural waxiness on certain vegetable skins, including cucumbers, that are often lost in the handling of field-to-market produce. If you have sensitivity to any of those products, cucumber skins could theoretically cause side effects.

It May Cause Sinusitis: If you have sinusitis or any kind of chronic respiratory conditions, then it is advisable to stay away from eating cucumber. If Ayurvedic practitioners are to be believed, the cooling effects of these veggies aggravate such conditions, leading to complications.

It Could Prove To Be Toxic: The presence of the toxins, such as cucurbitacins and tetracyclic triterpenoids in cucumber is a thing to worry about. Studies have proven that these elements trigger the bitter taste in these wonderful veggies. Researches point out that consuming cucumber beyond moderation could even be life threatening.

 


Recipes


Here are some simple and delicious Broccoli recipes.

1) Hungarian Cucumber Salad http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Hungarian-Cucumber-Salad/?prop24=hn_slide1_Hungarian-Cucumber-Salad&evt19=1

2) Cucumber Sandwiches http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cucumber-Sandwiches-I/Detail.aspx?evt19=1&referringHubId=1083

3) Refreshing Cucumber Lemonade http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Refreshing-Cucumber-Lemonade/Detail.aspx?evt19=1&referringHubId=1083

4) Tomato Cucumber Salad http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Tomato-Cucumber-Salad/Detail.aspx?evt19=1&referringHubId=1083

Sources: 1) http://www.ehow.com/info_8273633_ways-store-raw-cucumbers.html

2) http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cucumber.html

3) http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/23/health-benefits-cucumbers.aspx

4) http://www.care2.com/greenliving/16-superb-health-benefits-of-cucumber.html

5) http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-cucumber-for-skin-hair-and-health/

6) http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/strange-side-effects-of-cucumber/

 

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