Cucumbers are used in beauty treatments and most often eaten in salads. Despite their low profile, they have a few interesting qualities that should be pointed out.
It is a great idea to continue slicing them up on your salads and eating fresh cucumbers as often as you can with meals or for snacks for their hidden ability to quench thirst and appetite and hydrate the body, among other things. Cucumbers are a feel-good veggie from the same family as watermelons, squash and zucchini; though some may argue they are actually fruits.
Inside the Cucumber
Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium and calcium, and they also have trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. What’s also great about cucumbers is that they have virtually no calories and are full of water (nearly 95%), so you can pretty much eat as much as you want without feeling guilty.
The potassium in cucumbers improves metabolism and aids in muscle development, which makes for a great combination when you’re trying to lose weight, tone your body and get in shape. Potassium further protects the heart and improves heart function.
Vitamin A in cucumbers is probably best known for its ability to improve and preserve vision; it works to prevent age-related macular degeneration that occurs as we get older. Vitamin A also aids in bone growth and improves the function and development of white and red blood cells. As an antioxidant, vitamin A fights free radicals that lead to cancer and other diseases as a result of compromised immunity and cell damage.
Vitamin K in cucumbers plays a major part in helping the blood to clot, which prevents internal and external hemorrhaging that could occur otherwise, especially in those who are prone to injury. Vitamin K also strengthens and builds bones, as well as protects against nerve damage, certain cancers and skin problems.
Fiber in cucumbers, especially the skin, aids in digestion, helps regulate bowel function, and eases constipation or diarrhea. This effect, combined with high water content, keeps the colon clean and even helps with weight loss.
Since cucumbers are almost 100 percent water, they can provide a lot of hydration to the body when eaten often. You may have heard that nutrition experts recommend that we drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water per day, but what many people may not realize is that some of the water content may be obtained through the foods we eat.
Cucumbers and foods in its family like watermelon are excellent options, because they are full of water. Water is essential for all bodily systems to function properly; to flush out toxins, debris and disease; to keep the body cool so it won’t overheat; to keep the body hydrated and restore fluids after perspiration; to keep the skin radiant and blemish-free; and to keep the blood circulating well. Cucumber slices are even applied to the eyes to reduce under-eye swelling and puffiness and applied to sunburned skin for relief.