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All you need to know about cucumber (nutrition, as a fruit, vitamins and benefits)
Cucumber is a fruit (not a vegetable) that contains a high percentage of water and is high in vitamins and minerals. It belongs to the Curcurbitaceae family which is the same family as zucchini, pumpkin and watermelon. An 11-ounce (300-gram) raw and unpeeled fruit of cucumber contains folic acid and several nutrients as well as a range of vitamins and minerals. These include the following:
11 grams of carbs
2 grams of fiber
2 grams of protein
14 percent of the RDI of Vitamin A
62 percent of the RDI of Vitamin K
10 percent of the RDI of Magnesium
13 percent of the RDI of Potassium
12 percent of the RDI of Manganese
It contains 45 calories which is relatively low. It also contains 96 percent water and is better consumed unpeeled as this delivers the fiber contained in its hard skin. With so many nutrients to offer, the fruit has several health benefits. These are the top ten:
#1 Reduces the Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease
Some compounds found in cucumbers help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. These include Lignans which fight against ovarian, prostate and breast cancer. These compounds also improve cardiovascular health. They improve heart health and circulation by reducing vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels).
Other compounds found in the fruit such as Cucurbitacins are capable of hindering the growth of cancer cells.
#2 Controls Blood Pressure
Results from the studies done at DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) showed that blood pressure was lowered normal levels when people consumed foods rich in fiber, magnesium and potassium with other foods like seafood, poultry and lean meat.
Cucumber is rich in fiber, magnesium and potassium.
#3 Prevents Constipation and Kidney Stones
The fiber and water content of cucumber makes it well suited for preventing constipation and kidney stones.
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#4 Heals Skin Problems
Cucumbers contain ascorbic and caffeic acids which help the body prevent water loss. They are therefore applied to burns and dermatitis. It is ideal for treating skin problems such as sunburn and swelling under the eyes. It can also be used for the treatment of skin problems like eczema, acne and psorlasis.
#5 Diabetes Management
Cucumber contains a hormone needed by beta cells during insulin production. Carbohydrates present in the fruit can be easily digested by diabetic patients. This differentiates it from many other foods when it comes to managing diabetes. Consuming cucumber therefore keeps the glucose level in check.
#6 Reduces Inflammation
Cucumber plays a vital role in fighting inflammation in your body by inhibiting the activities of pro-inflammatory enzymes.
#6 Improves Digestive Health
Two of the basic elements needed for healthy digestion are water and fiber. The naturally purified water present in cucumber combined with fiber help maintain a healthy digestive system. Fiber helps food travel more quickly and smoothly through your digestive tract for healthy elimination.
#7 Helps in Stress and Anxiety Management
Cucumbers contain ascorbic and caffeic acids which help the body prevent water loss. They are therefore applied to burns and dermatitis. It is ideal for treating skin problems such as sunburn and swelling under the eyes. It can also be used for the treatment of skin problems like eczema, acne, and psorlasis.
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#8 Strengthens Connective Tissues
Cucumber is rich in silica, a trace mineral which helps strengthen the body’s connective tissues. It contributes to the proper structure and working of the connective tissues in your bones, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons.
#9 Helps Protect Your Brain
The anti-inflammatory flavonol found in cucumber called fisetin helps to improve your memory and protect your nerve cells from decline as you age. Thus it plays an important role in brain health.
#10 helps in Overall Health Maintenance
The numerous antioxidants present in cucumber which includes vitamin C and beta-carotene make the fruit ideal for maintaining overall health. The fruit has excellent cleansing properties which remove accumulated waste and toxins from the body.
The water, fiber and low calorie content also make cucumber an ideal fruit for weight loss or management.