Cucumbers are scientifically known as Cucumis sativus, which belongs to the same family as pumpkin, zucchini, watermelon and other squash. It is cylindrical in shape with lengths of approximately 6 to 9 inches. Its skin is very similar to watermelon, ranges from green to white. Inside, the flesh is pale green and very juicy.
Cucumber is a tropical plant but is also easily available in most part of the world. However, in some cultures, cucumber is more often used to make pickles, of which most of its nutrients would have been lost.
Cucumber has countless health benefits as well as cosmetic properties. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid (when it is not peeled it contains folic acid) and potassium. The skin of the cucumber is rich in fiber that contains variety of minerals such as potassium, magnesium and silica.
Cucumber has an impressive amount of water (about 96%) that is naturally distilled, which makes it superior to ordinary water. Its skin contains a high percentage of vitamin A, so should not be peeled off.
The cucumber contains alkaline-forming minerals and is an excellent source of vitamin C and A (anti-oxidants), folate, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, silica, sulfur and lesser amounts of vitamin B complex, sodium, calcium, phosphorus and chlorine.
Health and Nutritional Benefits of Cucumber
Cucumber is a highly recommended food item that is rich in nutrition. If consumed in right proportions, it leads to plenty of health benefits. Listed below are some of the effective health benefits of cucumber:
- Cucumber has cleaning properties that removes accumulated waste and toxins from our body. It may improve arthritis since it eliminates uric acid. It helps in secretion urine and thereby acts as natural diuretic. It is good for kidney, urinary bladder, liver and pancreatic diseases.
- Cucumber juice mixed with carrot juice is said to be more beneficial to rheumatic conditions caused by excessive uric acid in the body. It is good for digestion especially proteins and controls blood pressure. It is good for controlling Diabetes mellitus also.
- It has been found that people with Diabetes mellitus are benefited from the consumption of cucumber or cucumber juice.
- Cucumber juice taken daily may help in the improvement of gout and eczema.
- Cucumber included in diet helps people suffering from chest, lung and stomach problems.
- The potassium content of cucumber helps in proper regulation of blood pressure and promotes flexibility of muscles.
- The magnesium content of cucumber helps in smooth blood circulation, relaxes nerves and muscles.
- The fiber content of cucumber helps in regulating cholesterol levels in the body and contributes to bowel regularity.
- A cup of fresh cucumber juice reduces heartburn, soothes acid stomach and gastritis.
- Cucumber helps in preventing splitting of nails of the fingers and toes as it is rich in minerals.
- Place a slice of cumber on the affected sunburn area. It relaxes and elevates the sunburn's pain, heat and inflammation.
- Slices of cucumber placed on the closed eyes reduce puffy and swelling and soothe the eyes.
- Cucumber is a best source of silica - a trace mineral which contributes to the strength of our connective tissue. Connective tissue is a tissue that holds our body together.
Cucumber is available easily and is a relative affordable vegetable - given all the benefits of cucumber as a source of minerals and vitamins you should make a conscious effort to increase your consumption of this vegetable. Pick cucumbers that are bright or dark green and avoid yellowed vegetables. The cucumber should be firm to the touch and not have wrinkled tips. Choose cucumber stored in the refrigerated section of the grocery store as this vegetable is sensitive to heat.
13 Benefits of Cucumbers
- Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
- Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
- Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
- Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
- Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!
- Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!
- Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
- Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
- Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
- Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
- Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
- Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.
- Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!
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