The flesh of the cucumber is mostly water, but also contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling–these acids prevent water retention, which may explain why cucumbers applied topically are often helpful for swollen eyes, burns and dermatitis.
Cucumbers are an excellent source of vitamin K and molybdenum. They are also a very good source of the pantothenic acid. They are also a good source of copper, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, biotin and vitamin B1. They also contain the important nail health-promoting mineral silica.
Plant foods, such as cucumber, have been linked to a lower risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, among others while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and a healthy body weight.
Consisting mostly of water, and containing important electrolytes, cucumbers can help prevent dehydration during the hot summer months or during and after a workout.
Adding cucumber and mint to water can increase water consumption by making it more attractive to drink.
Dehydration is important for many things including maintaining a healthy intestine, preventing constipation, and avoiding kidney stones.
A sufficient intake of vitamin K has been associated with healthy bones that are less likely to fracture.
One cup of cucumber provides 8.5 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) recommends that women aged 19 years and over consume 90 mcg of vitamin K each day, and men 120 mcg. It also contains calcium. Vitamin K helps improve calcium absorption. Together, these nutrients contribute to good bone health.
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As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, cucumbers contain high levels of nutrients known as cucurbitacins, which may help prevent cancer by stopping cancer cells from proliferating and surviving.
Cucumbers contain cucurbitacins A, B, C, D, and E.
There are currently no current anti-cancer therapies that utilize cucurbitacins. Laboratory research has produced promising results, but more work is needed to confirm their antitumor effects.
The American Heart Association (AHA) encourage people to eat more fiber, as this can help prevent a buildup of cholesterol and the cardiovascular problems that can result from this. Cucumbers are good sources of fiber, particularly in the skin. They also provide potassium and magnesium.
The AHA also recommends reducing sodium and increasing potassium intake to help prevent high blood pressure.
The cucurbitacins in cucumber may also help prevent atherosclerosis.
Researchers have concluded that cucumbers may help control and prevent diabetes.
Cucumbers, like squash, gourd, melon, and other related foods, contain Cucurbita ficifolia, which may help reduce spikes in blood sugar.
Cucumber peel, too, has been found to help with symptoms of diabetes in mice.
One theory is that the cucurbitans in cucumber stimulate insulin release and regulate the metabolism of a key hormone in the processing of blood sugar, hepatic glycogen.
They also have a low score on the glycemic index (GI), which means they provide important nutrients without adding carbohydrates that can increase blood glucose.
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Cucumbers are believed to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Used directly on the skin, sliced cucumber has a cooling and soothing effect that decreases swelling, irritation, and inflammation. It can alleviate sunburn. Placed on the eyes, they can help decrease morning puffiness.
Cucumber beauty tips include:
Toner: Blending and sieving to collect the juice for a natural toner. Leave on the skin for 30 minutes, then rinse. This is said to have astringent properties and to help clear the pores.
Face pack: Mix equal amounts of cucumber juice and yoghurt to make a face pack that help reduce dry skin and blackheads.