The Underrated Cucumber
By Paul Rothbart
Vegetables are a key part of a healthy diet. That's common knowledge. Carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower are some of the ones that people think of first. Kale has joined that list in recent years. But there is a very common vegetable that has more health benefits than most people know. The cucumber, a salad staple, is a member of the same family as squash and has a number of health benefits. Here are some of the ways cucumbers contribute to a healthy body.
They Contain Water
Staying hydrated is extremely important. Cucumbers are mostly water and therefore excellent sources of fluids. They also contain electrolytes and are a good choice of post workout snack. Adding cucumber to water can make it more refreshing for people who particularly care for water. Cucumbers rank very high on the list of foods that hydrate.
Fight Cancer and Promote Heart Health
Cucumbers contain cucurbitacin, a nutrient that may stop cancer cells from reproducing. Eating cucumbers with the skin on provides fiber, which is helpful in preventing colon cancer. The fiber can also keep cholesterol down and the potassium in cucumbers can help lower blood pressure. This lessens the chance of heart attack and stroke.
A key that may support bone health is Vitamin K. This nutrient helps the absorption of calcium, which is important to maintain bone density. Cucumbers contain both Vitamin K and calcium, so including them in the diet is a good way to help prevent diseases of the bones, like osteoporosis.
When people place cucumber slices on their eyes, it's not for how it looks. It can lessen puffiness around the eyes. Research suggests that cucumbers may help the skin in other ways by contact with it. Cucumbers can cool and soothe the skin and reduce irritation and swelling. They have also been known to relieve sunburn. The juice of a cucumber can be used on the face to clean the pores and prevent dry skin.
Cucumbers have a low glycemic index. Their nutrition comes without high amounts of glucose that raise blood sugar levels. In fact, the cucurbitacins in them help regulate insulin release which lower the sugar level of the blood. The fiber in cucumbers is another factor that helps prevent type 2 diabetes.
When it comes to health benefits, cucumbers rank with any of the top vegetables. Not only can they be eaten, but they can also be used on the skin and put into beverages. For those who like the occasional cocktail, a cucumber martini is not half bad.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fort Mill, S.C.