Most of us have opinions about cucumber, often hovering around tasteless, boring, and kinda pointless. But while it does have a mild flavor, cucumber is anything but boring and there are several really great reasons to eat it.
For starters, cucumber masquerades as a vegetable, but is really a fruit. That’s interesting, right? More than that, cucumber has a startling amount of nutrition packed into it, both in the flesh and the peel. Cucumber also has no fat, very few calories, and a lot of water, making it fantastic for maintaining proper hydration and supporting weight loss.
So if you’ve been skipping cucumber because you believe it is pointless, it’s time to reconsider. Eating cucumber every day is super good for you, inside and out. Cucumber may even provide some protection against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Following are all the positive bodily changes you can expect when you start eating one cucumber every day. You’re going to love #3, but perhaps secretly appreciate #6 most of all!
1. Disease Protection
Cucumbers contain a great deal of antioxidants, which are molecules that can prevent oxidative damage in the body. They bond with and neutralize unpaired electrons called free radicals to protect you from issues like chronic illness and premature aging. In fact, free radical damage has a strong association with heart and lung problems, cancer, and autoimmune disease.
When you eat cucumber on a daily basis, you’re upping your intake of antioxidants, especially the powerful flavonoid and tannin variety. One study that supplemented the diets of 30 older adults with cucumber powder found that for each participant, the level of antioxidant activity improved significantly from baseline numbers.
2. Better Hydration
Obviously we all understand that hydration is important, yet many of us struggle to actually drink enough water each day. Maybe you get too busy, or maybe you don’t care for it. Whatever the reason, it is a problem because water plays a critical role in temperature regulation, metabolism, physical performance, and waste removal. A chronic low level of dehydration can seriously impact your overall wellness.
The good news is that you can get more water in your diet by eating water-rich foods like cucumber. All fruits and vegetables contain a significant amount of water, but cucumber is actually 96% water. That can net you a big gain in hydration for relatively little effort. Studies show that increased fruit and vegetable consumption improves hydration status. In fact, it is perfectly acceptable to get up to 40% of your daily hydration needs from food.
3. Potential Weight Loss
The humble cucumber actually offers several means of weight loss in conjunction with other lifestyle changes – reducing your intake of added sugars being chief among them. Cucumbers help because they are very low in calories but high in fiber. Eating them helps you feel full and satisfied without a lot of weight-spiking carbohydrates.
If you eat a whole cucumber every day, you will only take in 45 calories (and no fat) but gain a significant amount of protein, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. But let’s not forget about the water. Studies show that eating a diet packed with high-water foods is associated with a significant reduction in body mass.
4. Lower Blood Sugar
Uncontrolled blood sugar is the trigger behind diabetes, and the Type 2 variety is especially linked to diets high in sugar. Doctors now understand that even if you don’t yet have full-blown diabetes, a chronic high blood sugar level puts an incredible strain on the body and greatly increases your risk of developing the disease. This condition is called prediabetes, and hundreds of thousands of people have it without even knowing.
It just makes sense to take steps to control your blood sugar now. Several studies in animals and test tubes indicate that cucumbers may have the ability to reduce blood sugar levels and protect against diabetes. One animal study looked at the effects of several different plants on blood sugar levels, and cucumbers were found to reduce them. Another animal study concluded that cucumber peel extract can reverse diabetes-associated changes in mice with the disease.
5. Bowel Regularity
No one likes to talk about it, but constipation is a major bummer (pun intended). Lots of things cause constipation, including stress, dehydration, and poor diet. But fear not, eating cucumber on a daily basis can help keep you regular. As we know, it contains a lot of water, which helps to soften stool and make it easy to pass.
The fiber in cucumbers also provides an assist. The particular type in cucumbers is a soluble fiber called pectin. Studies show that pectin bulks up your stool (which actually makes it easier to eliminate) as well as speeds up the movement of intestinal muscles and feeds the good gut bacteria we rely on to support digestion.
Cucumbers are nutritious and refreshing as well as fat free and high in fiber. Because of their mild flavor, some people consider them boring, but we prefer to call it versatile! Cucumber pairs well with leafy greens and almost any vegetable you can think of. They can be blended into smoothies, juices, and soups for a health boost that you will barely even taste. And with such a mild natural taste, cucumbers take on more powerful flavors really nicely. Pickles, anyone?