“No windows, no doors, the upper room is full of people” - we know for sure the answer to the riddle from childhood. Cucumber is one of the most common products for our latitudes, which everyone, without exception, loves. We think you'll agree that cucumber and tomato salad is the perfect light side dish, and homemade lemonade with cucumber slices is the best way to quench your thirst on a hot day.
While most of us think of a cucumber as a vegetable, it is actually a berry. It blooms, contains seeds and belongs to the pumpkin family, like squash and melons. Plus, cucumbers offer a ton of health benefits if consumed regularly.
What are the benefits of cucumbers
Cucumbers are excellent sources of phytonutrients, including flavonoids, lignans, and triterpenes, known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits.
In addition to this, the peel of cucumber contains fiber, which is important for normal digestion, and beta-carotene, which helps to improve immune function, vision and skin condition. And a study published in the Pakistan Journal of Nutrition found that cucumber seeds are a good source of minerals and calcium.
“Cucumbers are low in calories, carbs, sodium, fat and cholesterol, ” says Live Science Megan Ware, a Florida-based nutritionist. So, the average cucumber contains only 16 calories, but at the same time 4% of the daily requirement for potassium, 3% of the daily value of fiber, 19% of the daily requirement for vitamin K and 4% of the daily requirement for vitamin C.
Below are some other benefits of cucumber that you might not even have known about.
Cucumbers are 95% water, making them not so much an alternative as an addition to the two liters of water you should drink every day. Nutrition experts say that 20-30% of our water can and should come from food, so cucumbers are the smartest here.
As we said, cucumbers contain a variety of phytonutrients. The most interesting of these are cucurbitacins, which belong to the class of tetracyclic triterpenoids and make the tip of the cucumber bitter. In recent years, research on these substances has been especially active, and one of the 2010 studies published in the Scientific World Journal even made it possible to say that it is cucurbitacins that can help create an effective cancer medicine. The Journal of Cancer Research, for example, reports that cucurbitacins inhibit the growth of pancreatic cancer cells by nearly 50%.
At the same time, lignans, other phenolic compounds found in cucumbers, are able to protect against cancer by working with bacteria in the digestive tract. The British Journal of Cancer cites data from a 2009 study that lignans have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer. And researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute have found that regular intake of lignans in the body reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Scientists at the University of Maryland Medical Center have found that vitamin K is essential for bone health. In particular, adequate intake of it reduces the risk of fractures, and in combination with vitamin D, it thickens bone tissue and has a positive effect on calcium balance.