Top 6 Health Benefits That Make Cucumbers So Good for You
Whether starring in a salad or dipped in creamy hummus, crunchy, refreshing cucumber is tough to resist. But this “veggie”(which is actually a fruit!) offers so much more than delicious, mild flavor and a textural element to dishes: Cucumbers are also full of healthy nutrients.
As a global culinary staple for over 3,000 years, cucumbers (scientific name: Cucumis sativus) originated in India, and their popularity soon grew, first across the Asian continent and then around the world. Cucumbers belong to the Cucurbitaceae family alongside squash, watermelon, and pumpkin—so technically they’re a fruit. With over 100 varieties available, you’ll never get bored of enjoying these cucumbers and their abundant health benefits.
Here are some of the most noteworthy reasons to keep crunching on cucumbers.
1 Cucumbers are super hydrating.
If you’ve been privy to any of the health impacts of cucumbers, you may know that they’re filled with water. “Cucumbers are high in water content, helping to keep you hydrated,” says clinical dietitian Dana Melink, RD explains. In fact, they’re made up of at least 95 percent water, making them one of the most hydrating foods you can eat. Given that our bodies are also made of mostly water, hydration is key to keeping all of our organ systems functioning well, particularly our kidneys. It also helps us to maintain healthy blood pressure and keeps our detoxifying systems firing on all cylinders.
02 Cucumbers are high in vitamin K.
With every serving of cucumbers, you’ll get closer to your daily vitamin K needs. Vitamin K most notably supports healthy blood clotting throughout the body. It’s also important for healthy bone development as a vital precursor to the protein osteocalcin, needed to create bone tissue.
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03 Cucumbers can help reduce inflammation.
“Cucumbers are also full of antioxidants,” Melink says. Like many other plant-based foods, cucumbers are packed with plant compounds, or polyphenols, especially lignans and cucurbitacins. These plant compounds fight off inflammation throughout the body as well as free radicals, which can be the cause for chronic disease like heart disease and cancer.45 One article published in the International Journal of Health Sciences found that cucurbitacins are effective at not only killing cancer cells, but also preventing their proliferation through the body.
04 Cucumbers support healthy digestion.
Their water content combined with their fiber content make cucumbers a healthy food to eat to support digestion. Cucumbers are especially high in soluble fiber, which promotes regularity and healthy metabolism while also working to reduce cholesterol levels. Water is vital for proper digestion because it helps the body break down and absorb nutrients. It also helps to prevent constipation and bloating.
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05 Cucumbers deliver some vitamin C and potassium.
Cucumbers contain modest, but still noteworthy amounts of both vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C, also an antioxidant, helps boost the immune system. Potassium helps boost cucumbers’ hydrating powers, because this mineral is an electrolyte that works to maintain fluid balance throughout the body.
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06 Cucumbers may help regulate blood sugars.
Cucumbers can also aid in the regulation of blood sugars and prevention or maintenance of diabetes. One review published in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine found that cucumber consumption was associated with better blood sugar control, having anti-diabetic effects.10 Also of note, one animal study found cukes to be protective against inflammatory side effects of diabetes, decreasing oxidative stress throughout the body.
Contributed By Christina Manian, RDN