(Organic Facts) Cucumber, (Cucumis sativus), is a fruit from the Cucurbitaceae family. Scientifically known as Cucumis sativus, it belongs to the same family as zucchini, watermelon, pumpkin, and other types of summer squash. The plant where cucumber grows is a creeping vine that develops these cylindrical, edible fruits throughout the year.
There are dozens of different cucumber varieties grown around the world, and they are usually eaten fresh or pickled, but three main varieties of cucumbers are most widely available today:
1. Cucumbers, typically for slicing and eaten fresh, are called slicing cucumbers.
Slicing cucumber Image credit: Organic Facts
2. Specially produced to make pickles are called pickling cucumbers (Gherkin cucumber or kirbys) These are much smaller in size than the slicing ones. Slicing cucumbers are available throughout the year, but they are at their best between May and July.
Pickled cucumber Image credit:Going Evergreen
3. And the so called seedless cucumbers.
Seedless cucumber Image credit: Sunbelle – “The finest produce under the sun”
(Dr. Axe) Cucumbers have been studied most in regard to their diuretic effects. This has earned them a reputation as a healing food in both traditional folk medicine and modern medicine.
You may have always assumed that cucumbers were full of water but offered little nutrients. Well, think again. More than just a way to make pickles or reduce puffiness around your eyes, cucumbers have some impressive benefits when it comes to fighting free radical damage and inflammation thanks to the impressive cucumber nutrition profile.
What’s there to love about cucumber nutrition? Cucumbers contain very few calories but supply powerful polyphenol compounds that can help naturally slow aging caused by oxidative stress.
Cucumber is a creeping plant of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae)
Known among researchers for their anti-diabetic, lipid-lowering and antioxidant activity, cucumbers have a detoxifying, cleansing effect on the body. They’re also naturally “cooling” and a great way to prevent dehydration, constipation and overheating.
(Organic Facts) Cucumbers are extremely beneficial for overall health, especially during the summer since they are mostly made of water and important nutrients that are essential for the human body. The flesh of cucumbers is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid, while the hard skin is rich in fiber and a range of minerals including magnesium, molybdenum, and potassium.
Additionally, cucumber contains silica, a trace mineral that contributes greatly to strengthening our connective tissues. They are known to heal many skin problems, under eye swelling, and sunburn. Cucumbers also contain ascorbic and caffeic acids which prevent water loss, therefore they are frequently applied topically to burns and dermatitis.
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||0.11|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||3.63|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||0.5|
|Sugars, total [g]||1.67|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||16|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||0.28|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||13|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||24|
|Potassium, K [mg]||147|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||2|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||0.2|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||2.8|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.04|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||7|
|Vitamin B-12 [µg]||0|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||5|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||105|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||0.03|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]||0|
|Vitamin D [IU]||0|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]||16.4|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||0.04|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||0.01|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||0.03|
|Fatty acids, total trans [g]||0|
|Sources include : USDA|
Cucumbers are rich in various nutrients, vitamins, minerals, energy, and water. According to USDA cucumbers are a good source of potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin K. They also provide iron, sodium, zinc, riboflavin, and vitamin B-6.
Eating cucumbers with the peel provides the maximum amount of nutrients.
One-half cup of sliced cucumbers has just 8 calories.
Healthline: IS IT GOOD TO EAT CUCUMBER EVERYDAY?
Image credit: Feeding My Kid
YouTube: Eating just one cucumber every day will result in numerous positive health changes and beauty benefits! Cucumbers might be low in calories, but they are extremely rich in minerals and vitamins. … – Since cucumbers contain so much water, they’re great at cleansing your body of harmful toxins.
WHY WE SHOULD EAT CUCUMBER AT NIGHT?
Maria Marlowe: A few veggie sticks, such as carrots, celery, or cucumber, can be an easy to digest late night snack. It’s better to eat them on their own, but if you want to use a dip, choose one without a lot of sodium, as too much salt can leave you bloated and dehydrated. A homemade hummus can work well.
Cucumbers are rich in various nutrients, vitamins, minerals, energy, and water. According to USDA cucumbers are a good source of potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin K.They also provide iron, sodium, zinc, riboflavin, and vitamin B-6.
Image credit: Dr. Axe
The health benefits of cucumber are not widely known in many cultures. The taste of fresh cucumber is somewhat bland in comparison to other squashes, but the thirst quenching and the cooling qualities of this squash are truly refreshing. Cucumber benefits range from preventing acidity to keeping skin well-toned.
Image credit: YouTube
> Cucumbers contain antioxidants, including flavonoids and tannins, which prevent the accumulation of harmful free radicals and may reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Antioxidants are molecules that block oxidation, a chemical reaction that forms highly reactive atoms with unpaired electrons known as free radicals.
The accumulation of these harmful free radicals can lead to several types of chronic illness.
In fact, oxidative stress, an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage, has been associated with cancer and heart, lung and autoimmune disease.
Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are especially rich in beneficial antioxidants that may reduce the risk of these conditions.
One study measured the antioxidant power of cucumber by supplementing 30 older adults with cucumber powder.
At the end of the 30-day study, cucumber powder caused a significant increase in several markers of antioxidant activity and improved antioxidant status.
However, it’s important to note that the cucumber powder used in this study likely contained a greater dose of antioxidants than you would consume in a typical serving of cucumber.
> Halitosis.. Bad breath be gone! Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds. The phytochemicals will kill the bacteria that are responsible for causing bad breath!
s contain Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, folic acid, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
Not to mention crunchy vegetables help remove plaque on teeth and gums, which bacteria can feed on!
> Rich in silica, which is an essential component that aids in developing strong and healthy connective tissues in the muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and bones.
> Doctors often recommend cucumber juice because of the silica content for a healthier and brighter skin. Dr. Barry Popkin, an American food science researcher and a professor at the University of North Carolina, in his study, highlights the importance of fluids and hydration and cucumber’s high water content makes it naturally hydrating. It is also well known that moisture is the best friend to healthy skin.
> The extract of cucumbers is often used topically for treating various types of skin ailments like sunburn and swelling under the eyes. Ascorbic and caffeic acid are the two vital compounds in cucumbers that prevent water loss from the body. These are some of the reasons why cucumbers are applied topically for various skin problems.
> Promotes healthy hair growth and can treat skin ailments like psoriasis, eczema, and acne.
> Prevent constipation and kidney stone. Cucumbers are a perfect blend of both fiber and water. Therefore, they help to protect your body from constipation and kidney stones. Reports say that a majority of Americans prefer to have a cucumber rich salad regularly as it is a great way to increase the fiber intake. Cucumber is also a good source of vitamin C, silica, potassium, and magnesium; all of which have their own health benefits. These fruits have an extraordinary amount of water (about 96%) that is naturally purified, thus making the water content much higher in quality than ordinary water. Cucumber skin contains high levels of vitamin A, so you will gain more nutrition if you eat the entire thing.
> Control blood pressure. The studies done at DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) consisted of people consuming foods high in magnesium, potassium, and fiber. The results were clear; their blood pressure lowered to normal levels. The group eating a diet rich in these complexes along with the other foods on the diet like seafood, low-fat dairy items, lean meat, and poultry saw their blood pressure falling by 5.5 points (systolic) over 3.0 points (diastolic). Cucumber, therefore, regulates blood pressure and contributes to the proper structure of connective tissues in our body, including those in the muscles, bones, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons.
> Manage diabetes. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology throws light on the anti-hyperglycemic effect of cucumber. Cucumbers have been used for diabetic patients for many years. They possess a hormone required by the beta cells during insulin production. The glycemic index (GI) of cucumbers is actually zero. The presence of carbohydrates and their result on the body is measured by the quantity of glycemic index (GI). Every food item contains essential nutrients in different percentages. The carbohydrates contribute to raising the glucose level, however, the ones present in the cucumber can be easily digested by diabetic patients. Thus, consumption of this cool fruit keeps the glucose level in check. Nowadays, most commercial stores have cucumber supplements as spiny sea cucumber extract powder, which is very effective in combating the effects of diabetes.
> Maintain overall health.(Organic Facts) Cucumbers have excellent cleaning properties, and they actively remove accumulated waste and toxins from your body. These fruits are very good for optimizing urinary bladder, kidney, liver, and pancreatic functions. Cucumber juice along with carrot juice is extremely effective for rheumatic conditions caused by excessive uric acid in the body. Drinking cucumber juice on a regular basis also helps cure gout and eczema. If you are having lung or stomach problems, be sure to add it to your diet. It also promotes muscle flexibility, while the magnesium content of cucumbers ensures proper blood circulation and relaxed nerves. Since cucumbers are rich in minerals, they even prevent splitting of the finger and toenails. Cucumbers often act as antioxidants when you consume them with barbecued and fried foods. As per a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging, month-long consumption of cucumber powder shows significant improvement in body’s antioxidant activities.
> High alkaline levels, thus regulating the body’s blood pH and neutralizing acidity. People with gastric issues should consume cucumbers frequently.
> Help normalize body temperature during summer. Cucumber juice is a diuretic, so it is able to prevent kidney stones too. It can also counter the effects of uric acid, which prevents inflammation from conditions like arthritis, asthma, and gout.
> Headaches: If you suffer from headaches from chasing your babies all day (or pets or your husband), or had a little too much wine with dinner and want to avoid a hangover, eat half of a cucumber before bed. Cucumbers are high in B vitamins, sugar, and electrolytes, and they replenish the nutrients missing in your body to help you avoid a hang over or to beat that headache that’s been threatening to take over. The Magnesium Present in Cucumbers Have Significant Benefits for Treating Migraines
> Suppress the growth of cancer cells in the body because of its bitter taste.
> Energy booster. If you’re feeling tired in the afternoon, grab a cucumber. There are just enough carbohydrates and B vitamins to give you a longer-lasting and healthier boost of energy.
> Facial. Slice up a cucumber and boil it in a pot of water. The chemicals inside of the cucumber will mix with the steam. Remove the pot from heat and lean over it, letting the steam hit you. Your skin will be more radiant and healthy, and you will feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
> Fat busting: Do you ever wonder why women put cucumbers on their eyes to relieve puffiness? The photochemical in cucumbers makes the collagen in your skin tighten, thus the lack of puffiness.
Did you know that you can rub a cucumber on a problematic spot of cellulite anywhere on your body to lessen the visibility of it?
Did you also know that it has the same effect on wrinkles?
Wow, it makes purchasing those expensive creams seem a little silly, doesn’t it? You can also rub a little bit under your kiddo’s eyes after a long bout of crying to avoid that puffy ‘I cried for an hour straight’ look.
Cellulite treatment Source: Glamrada
OTHER CUCUMBER BENEFITS:
> Crayon on the walls. Take an unpeeled cucumber and rub the crayon off of the walls in the event that your kiddo left you some art. You can also use this technique to erase a pen mistake.
> Tarnish remover. If you’re finding tarnish on your stainless steel kitchen faucets and appliances? Rub it off with a cucumber slice. Not only will it remove years of tarnish, it will leave it streak free and your hands will thank you, and your kids won’t be put at risk from a dangerous chemical.
> Shoe polish. Cut a slice off of your cucumber and rub it on your shoe. It will not only shine it up, but it will repel water.
> Pest control. Put three or four slices of cucumber in a small pie tin and place them in your garden. The chemicals in the cucumber have a reaction that pests hate. You won’t smell it, but it will drive them from your garden all year long. Replace them periodically.
(Organic Facts) Cucumbers originated in India almost 10,000 years ago, but are now cultivated in many countries. Different varieties of cucumbers are traded in the international market and you will find them in abundance all year long.
In the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, the cucumber was very popular, and its uses were not limited to just being food. It was also praised for its beneficial effects on the skin. Louis XIV cherished cucumbers greatly and the process of cultivating them in greenhouses was invented during his time to make sure he was able to have a steady supply of the enjoyable fruit during any season. The American colonists also took this variety of crunchy and healthy squash to the United States.
It is still unknown when cucumbers began to be used for pickling, but researchers have speculated that the gherkin variety of cucumber was developed from a native African plant. Spain was one of the countries, during ancient times, that started pickling cucumbers since Roman emperors imported them from this Mediterraneancountry.
FEATURES AND VARIETIES OF CUCUMBERS
You are probably familiar with the phrase “cool as a cucumber”, which speaks directly to the soothing and cooling nature that cucumbers have when eaten. These fruits are grown mainly to be eaten fresh, and in India, you will often find sliced cucumbers being sold on sunny afternoons. They are usually cylindrical in shape and vary in length from about six to nine inches. However, the size of cucumbers varies according to a variety of cultivating factors as well.
The skin of the cucumbers can vary in color from green to white, and sometimes it may be smooth or ridged depending on the variety. Inside the cucumber skin, you will find pale green flesh that is thick yet aqueous and crispy at the same time. The interior core of cucumber has numerous, edible fleshy seeds.
Many cucumber varieties are also grown in greenhouses; they are seedless with thinner skin and a longer length, usually between 12 and 20 inches. Often known as “burpless”, this variety of cucumber is bought by a majority, since it is easier to digest than the other kinds of cucumbers.
Some of the more common cucumber varieties include:
- Green Burpless
- Boston Pickling
- Suyo Long
HOW TO BUY CUCUMBERS?
Cucumbers are very sensitive to heat, so try to select the ones which are displayed in the refrigerated cases in the stores. Look for firm ones and check if the color is bright medium green to dark green. Avoid the yellow, puffy cucumbers that have water-soaked areas or wrinkled tips. You will find fewer seeds in the thinner cucumbers.
HOW TO STORE CUCUMBERS?
Storing cucumbers in the refrigerator will help retain their freshness for a longer time. If the entire fruit is not used in one meal, then wrap the remainder tightly in plastic or place it in a closed container so that it does not get dried out. Try to eat cucumbers within one or two days of buying them or else they will become limp, especially if kept for more than a week.
HOW TO CUT AND EAT CUCUMBERS?
Cucumbers can be cut into various shapes and sizes and can be sliced, diced or cut into sticks. Cucumber seeds are edible and very nutritious, but some people prefer not to eat them. You can cut them lengthwise and use the tip of a spoon to gently scoop the seeds accordingly.
Cucumbers are commonly used in a number of recipes. You can use half-inch thick cucumber slices and serve them with chopped vegetable salads. Cut the cucumbers into a dice shape, mix them with sugar snap peas, mintleaves, and pour rice wine vinaigrette into the mixture.
You can also make an excellent purée with cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, and onions. Add salt and pepper for some extra flavor. Cucumbers give a fresh taste to tuna fish or chicken salad preparations. They can be eaten alone in their sliced form or with sprinkled salt and pepper. No matter how you eat cucumbers, you are sure to get a whole lot of nutrition from these truly “cool” foods.
TIPS FOR GROWING CUCUMBERS
- Believe it or not, cucumbers are a tropical fruit/vegetable that thrive when the weather is hot. They also do well in humid climates where water is plentiful.
- Plan to grow cucumbers during times of the year when there’s warmer weather and rain. They are sensitive to frost and shouldn’t be planted until the soil temperatures is in the 70-degree range. Wait at least two weeks after the last frost date to plant cucumbers.
- Cucumber plants grow in two forms: vining (more popular) and bush. Vines scramble along the ground or clamber up trellises, while bush types form a plant lower to the ground. Bush types are suited to containers and small gardens, but vining types produce more crops.
- Plant cucumber seedlings 36 to 60 inches apart, depending on variety. For vines that you plan to have grow upward, space plants one foot apart.
- You can help to keep the plants warm and moist by using pine straw, wheat straw, chopped leaves or your favorite organic mulch shortly after planting the seedlings.
(Dr. Axe) Cucumbers seem to be pretty harmless and very rarely cause allergies. As mentioned earlier, it’s best to buy organic (ideally unwaxed) cukes whenever you can to avoid high levels of chemicals.
Another thing to consider is the potential for contamination if you make your own fermented pickles. Complex microbiota are responsible for the changes observed during cucumber fermentation, and it’s possible that if your equipment or jar is contaminated with bacteria, you can become sick once eating them. Use sterile equipment whenever fermenting veggies, and buy organic produce to further limit this risk.
You can consume cucumbers raw, in salads, crushed, spiralized, or blended. They keep you healthy and active inside out.
(Organic Facts) CUCUMBER WATER RECIPE: THE POPULAR DETOX
- 1 large cucumber (or 2 small cucumbers)
- 1 quart water
- citrus fruit slices (optional)
- fresh mint (optional)
Wash the cucumber under cold, running water to remove any dirt or grime from the skin. It’s best to use cucumbers with the skin as the peel has several nutrients. However, if you prefer to peel the cucumber, use a vegetable peeler. You can make it pretty by peeling it in alternate strips.
Add the cucumber slices to a pitcher of water. You can add ice cubes too. This helps to chill the drink and also pushes the floating cucumber slices deeper into the water so that there is a stronger infusion of flavor.
Let the cucumber slices steep for an hour. For best results, you can let the cucumbers marinate overnight. Stir gently before serving.
You add make variations of cucumber water by adding mint, chopped ginger, or citrus fruits like lemon, orange slices, or even strawberries!
(SUNSET® Produce) Shaved Cucumber Slaw
Have some leftover ham after the holidays? Use it to make this flavorful and refreshing slaw, perfect for after all that feasting.
1 Tbsp Vidalia onion, very finely diced
½ Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
¼ C grapeseed oil
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 C carrot, peeled
3 C SUNSET® mini cucumbers
2 C fennel
1 C torn leftover ham
¼ C dried cranberries
In a small bowl, mix onion, mustard, and balsamic vinegar together. Slowly whisk in grapeseed oil until completely emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, shave carrot, cucumbers and fennel into long, thin ribbons.
In a large bowl, mix carrots, cucumber and fennel with 1/3 of the dressing. Let sit for 10 minutes, then mix in remaining ingredients.
Unique and refreshing, the cool of cucumber plays well with fresh mint and rum in this creative twist on a Mojito.
Makes 1 serving
4 – 5 slices SUNSET® Cucumber
4 – 5 sprigs fresh mint
2 oz silver rum
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz simple syrup*
1 1/2 oz soda water
Garnish: cucumber wheel and fresh mint sprig
Drop the cucumber slices and mint into a cocktail shaker. With a muddler, press the cucumber and mint to release their flavors. Fill the shaker with ice. Measure in the rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. Cap and shake vigorously. Pour into a large glass. Garnish with cucumber wheel on the rim of the glass and mint sprig.
*Simple syrup is available at bar supply stores. You can make it by combining 2 cups sugar with 2 cups water. Bring to a quick boil. Cool. Store refrigerated for up to one month.
Packed with cucumber and red pepper, these vegetarian sushi rolls are made even healthier with the addition of protein packed quinoa.
Makes 4 entrée servings
1 SUNSET® Red Sweet Bell Pepper, cut into matchsticks
1/2 SUNSET® Cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1 cup quinoa
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
8 nori sheets
Soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger
Prepare the quinoa according to package directions. Stir in the vinegar, sugar and salt; cool completely.
Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a flat surface. Trim the nori so its width matches the length of the vegetables; place on the parchment. Spread about 1/2 cup quinoa on the nori, leaving a 1-inch (2.5 cm) strip at the top.
Arrange cucumber and red pepper along the bottom of the nori. Use the parchment to tightly roll the nori over the filling into a log. Brush water over the top strip of the nori to help it adhere; cut into 4 portions. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.
Add pieces of leg-style imitation crab for added protein and delicious flavor.
(Wikipedia) Oxidative stress reflects an imbalance between the systemic manifestation of reactive oxygen species and a biological system’s ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or to repair the resulting damage.
What are the effects of oxidative stress?
What are your thoughts?