Cucumbers are very low in calories. They have a high quantity of water in them and soluble fiber that helps them in the promotion of hydration in the body and the consumption of it also promotes weight loss.
Cucumber is quite often considered as a vegetable, but there is some truth to it being a fruit actually. It comprises of nutrients that are very beneficial for the human body, along with some plant compounds and antioxidants that contributes in the treatment and prevention of certain health related conditions.
These however, are not the only benefits that cucumbers have. There are much more that cucumbers help our body with.
- It is rich in Nutrients
With low calories
and high amount of minerals and vitamins, a cucumber weighing around
300 grams contains only 45 calories, 0 grams fat, and 11 grams of
carbs, 2 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber when eaten raw and
unpeeled. The presence of a high amount of minerals and vitamins is
composed of 14% Vitamin C, 62% Vitamin K, 10% Magnesium, 13%
Potassium, and 12% Manganese.
However, people usually tend to eat only one-third of a standard sized cucumber, so the nutrients availed from that intake can provide only 33 percent of the nutrients mentioned above.
Cucumbers are also mostly waster based. In fact, cucumbers are known to have 96 percent of water in their composition.
In order to avail all the benefits listed in this article of a cucumber, they are suggested to be eaten unpeeled. If consumed peeled the amount of fiber, along with the minerals and vitamins get reduced.
- It comprises of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are the molecules that helps with the blockage of oxidation. The build-up of such toxicity free chemicals is probable to cause various kinds of sicknesses, chronic illnesses, and even diseases like cancer. The increase in oxidation also increases the chances of heart and lung diseases.
There are certain vegetables and fruits that are quite high in important antioxidants that helps with the reduction of such illnesses.
A study was conducted to determine the effects of cucumber. The sample group in the study consisted of 30 adults (of an older age) and they were given cucumber powder to consume.
The study concluded with results that implied the antioxidation properties of cucumbers as the sample group returned an improved status of bodily antioxidation, but it is quite important to check that the powdered cucumber serving that was used in the study had a higher amount of antioxidants than a person would normally consume while having a standard intake of cucumber.
There was another study conducted which concluded the effectiveness of reducing oxidation by the properties presented in cucumbers, like flavonoids, tannins and other elements, that minimize the chances of developing chronic diseases.
- It Promotes Hydration
An integral element that helps you with functioning in your daily life is water and it has other numerous roles, too. It helps with processes like the regulation of temperature and transporting the waste products and nutrients throughout your body. Proper hydration holds enough power to influence a person’s physical performance, as well as, their metabolism.
Where you get a large percentage of your required fluids by regular intake of water, some foods are also capable of providing you the necessary liquids for the body. Incorporating vegetables and fruits in particular in your diet is a great way of keeping your body hydrated.
A study was conducted among 442 children, in which it was found that the increase in the consumption of fruits and vegetables had a high association with respect to the improvement in their body’s hydration status.
Since, cucumbers are already 96 percent water, it makes them highly effective for the promotion of hydration and they help a person meet their daily criteria of liquid intake.
- It can help with losing weight
With so many benefits revolving around cucumbers, there is one more thing it can help you with and that is weight loss as it has minimum calories, which is already discussed. 104 grams or one cup of serving contains only about 16 calories, at most. On the other hand, a whole cucumber weighing 11-ounce or 300 grams has 45 calories. So, it is quiet fair to say that you eat one cucumber after the other, without having to take care about your calorie intake resulting in any increase in weight.
Cucumbers, like most greens, add a healthy effect to your meal. They can be added as a flavor in salads, appetizers, and even sandwiches. Also, you can munch on them as an alternative to a higher calorie snack.
- It also helps with lowering blood sugar
Many research studies claim that cucumbers can be the potential blood sugar reducer and it could also help in preventing diseases like diabetes from getting more complicated.
Another study analyzed the effects of different plants on blood sugar, and cucumbers were found to tone down the levels of blood sugar effectively.
Some mice were supplemented with the extract of cucumber peel that made their blood sugar levels decrease. This study was based on diabetes in mice and there certainly was an association found.
A test-tube study examined that cucumbers are also important for the reduction of bodily stress resulting from oxidation and they prevent worsening symptoms of diabetes, as mentioned earlier.
Such studies, however, are only limited to animals and test-tube studies. It is suggested that further research should be conducted in order to find out more associations with cucumbers and their effects on blood sugar level in humans.
- It is good for skincare and beauty
Many beauty experts suggest the incorporation of cucumbers in your beauty routine. It is very effective in terms of a beauty ingredient, for it helps with the nourishment of the skin. It is mainly used in Asian households as an efficient homemade cosmetic product. It can easily be used as a homemade face mask to get rid of puffiness around the eyes or dark circles. Most people also use it as a toner or even as an alternative of soap.
The question yet remains, is cucumber a fruit or a vegetable? It may come as a surprise to you, because cucumber just might be both of them. Cucumbers grow out of flowers and they carry seeds, hence they turn out to be a suitable match for a fruit. However, it is the cooks who believed otherwise and declared them a vegetable.
Understanding the properties of fruits and vegetables
If you are still not in the favor of accepting cucumber as either a fruit or a vegetable, or both. Understanding the characteristics of both fruits and vegetables individually may give you a clear view to come up with a solution yourself.
It is a common misconception that all fruits are sweet and vegetables are supposed to taste bitter. However, separating fruits and vegetables on the bases of how they taste is not the right way to go.
It is safe to say that cucumber ids a fruit in the garden, because its plant usually grows fruits. As claimed by National Geographic, a fruit is produced when a flower is fertilized and those fruits carry the seeds of the plant. If you plan on growing cucumbers, you will notice little flowers coming out of the plant. While some of them will simply be the petals, a few of them at the base will be the baby cucumbers.
There are a lot of other fruits that are considered as vegetables, too, according to the Mayo Clinic. Botanical fruits like beans, tomatoes, avocados, and squash, they all are presumed vegetables, while they actually are botanical fruits.
It is in the kitchen where cucumbers are known as the vegetable. According to LiveScience, any part of the plant besides its fruit is a vegetable. This is where the cooks contradict and suggests that any part of the plant that is edible and not sweet is considered a vegetable. You will probably not come across any desert made up of cucumbers, but it is a high chance of stumbling upon a salad or anything savory that has cucumbers in them, like a pickle maybe?
It is not an exaggeration to say that the readers may be left stunned with this enlightenment, but cucumber is legally a vegetable. Even the Supreme Court declared it so, that yes, cucumbers, tomatoes and every other botanical fruits were in fact, vegetables.
But how did such a small issue like this one made its way to the Supreme Court? There was an importer named Kohn Nix, who was bringing a shipment having tomatoes in it from the West Indies. A 10% import tax on the “foreign vegetables” was applied by Edward Hedden, a customs official. It was reasoned by Nix how tomatoes were fruits and they should not be taxed.
The issue was raised in the Supreme Court in 1893, and it was established by Justice Horace Gray that tomatoes, cucumbers, and every other “fruits of the vine”, are vegetables. Hence, cucumbers were legally declared as vegetables and they were not used for deserts that rapidly.
Understanding the biology of a cucumber
Even though they were legally pointed out as vegetables, it is still a debate among people whether the cucumbers belong to the family of fruits or vegetable. They seem to be very close relatives of some fruits.
The cucurbitaceae family is what the cucumbers (cucumis sativus) a part of and they are associated with the genus cucumis. Now cantaloupes are also in that genus according to the USDA, and they most definitely are fruits. There are other close relatives too, like pumpkins, squash, and watermelon.
Cucumbers have categories. There are those ordinary American slicing or pickling cucumbers which contain seeds, just like any other botanical fruits. However, some cucumbers like the English ones, do not carry any seed, but the nonexistent seeds does not necessarily mean that they qualify as a fruit.
It only means that the cultivators are now using parthenocarpy to grow the fruit without having to fertilize it. It is a procedure that happens naturally in some fruits, like pineapples or bananas, but parthenocarpy can be encouraged by the cultivators in watermelons, squash, and cucumbers.
The category of cucumbers which does not carry seeds in them may technically be fruits, but they do provide many perks to their growers. The bees do not get attracted to them and you do not have to worry about pollinating the plant’s lowers. Also, they are much easier to grow in greenhouses, without the pollinators. These cucumbers also stay longer than the other category containing seeds.
The only drawback of growing these cucumbers is that you will not be let with any seeds to grow more, so you will be require to buy new seeds every year if you need them to grow in that variety.