Cucumbers belong to the botanical family called Cucurbitaceae and to the species group, Cucumis sativus. This is the same family as watermelons, cantaloupes, and squashes. They are the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world and enjoyed by all and incorporated into every cuisine. It is believed to have originated in India and one of the oldest cultivated fruits.
These fruits are regarded as healthy foods as they are low in calories and fat and provide nearly all the vitamins and minerals required for a healthy body as well having high water content.
With 96 percent water content, the cucumber provides a more nutritious water than regular water. This high water content helps quench a thirst but it also keeps the body hydrated and regulates the body temperature. Water is needed to flush toxins out of the body and the high water content in cucumbers helps to do this very effectively. They have no fat, cholesterol or sodium and are great when added to a healthy eating plan. A single cup of cucumber will provide you with 16 calories and with just 3 grams of carbohydrates, they provide sufficient energy. The high fiber content in cucumbers, 1 gram per cup, when combined with the protein it contains, it helps burn fat. The peel of the cucumber provides a rich source of dietary fiber that helps relieve constipation and protects against certain types of colon cancer. They also help relieve heartburn and acid indigestion.
A cup of cucumber per day will also provide you with 16mcg of magnesium and 181 mg of potassium which help reduced and control high blood pressure. The vitamin K content in a single cup of cucumber is 12 percent and this vitamin helps build strong teeth and bones, assisting in reducing the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis. The sterols contained in the cucumber help in the reduction of cholesterol whilst the juice of the cucumber is beneficial for diabetes sufferers as they contain hormones which are needed by the pancreatic cells for producing insulin.
The skin of the cucumber provides about 10 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant and fights free radicals as well as strengthens the immune system. The skin can be used as a relief for sunburn and mild skin irritation. Cucumber is known to reduce puffiness around the eyes as it removes toxins and it also helps calm acne down.
These fruits contain pinoresinol, lariciresinol, and secoisolariciresinol, lignans that have shown to bring about a reduced risk of cancers like breast, prostate, ovarian and uterine cancers.
Silica is also found in cucumbers and this compound helps promote joint health as it strengthens connective tissues. Cucumber juice is said to be beneficial for those with teeth and gum diseases and the dietary fiber helps by massaging teeth and gums.
Being rich in vitamins A, B1, B6, C & D, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, and Folate, they can provide relief for gout and arthritis by lowering the uric acid levels in the body. Cucumbers are said to have a high silica content which helps prevent nails from splitting and the sulfur and silicon also assist in promoting healthy hair growth.
The seeds of the cucumber are said to be a natural remedy for tapeworm and when braised and mixed with water, they are effective in treating swellings of the mucous membranes in the throat and nose.