Cucumbers full of health benefits
More than a thirst quencher
Eating cucumbers is an easy way to increase our water consumption. Under the crunchy thin skin, the pale green flesh contains about 95% water. One cup of diced cubes supplies about 90ml of pure water. Moreover, the dietary fibres regulate cholesterol level and support bowel regularity.
Cucumbers add potassium to our diet. Potassium promotes flexibility in muscles and regulates blood pressure. Together with its natural water, cucumber is the vegetable for sportsmen doing regular intensive exercise.
Eating cucumbers is an easy way to increase our water consumption.
One hundred grams of cucumber has 73mg of potassium. Though in no way comparable to banana (379mg in pisang berangan), it is as good as in watermelon (78mg) and green apple (83mg). Furthermore, cucumber has very little sugar and is low in calories. These features are of advantage to weight watchers and diabetics who prefer low-sugar or low-calorie food.
The manganese in cucumber promotes functions of nutrients, especially those of thiamine, ascorbic acid and choline to improve their absorption. Young people who often feel nauseous and have poor appetite, and those with skin rashes or suffer from loss of hair colour could have manganese deficiency. Including cucumber juice in their diet is a healthful tip.
Worry about preservatives?
Persons who are sensitive to sulphites may experience rapid heartbeats, headache or disorientation. Sulphite is a preservative commonly added to dried foods, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, pickles and wine. Some salad bars may use it to maintain freshness of their salads.
People who react to sulphite may have low levels of molybdenum which is needed to detoxify the sulphite. Other than black beans, cucumber can supply this trace element.
If you eat sausages and burgers regularly, it would be better for you to include cucumber in your diet. These foods may contain the preservatives nitrate and nitrite, which can lead to the formation of carcinogenic N-nitroso compound residues.
Cucumbers contain caffeic acid (3,4-dihydroxycinnaminic acid). It is a phenol antioxidant previously regarded as toxic but is now found to have anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
A radiant complexion
The combination of ascorbic acid and caffeic acid contributes to cucumber’s cool and soothing properties. They prevent water retention, reduce swelling and help soothe skin irritations.
Cucumber extract is popular among beauticians as part of facial treatment for rejuvenating skin and facial appearance. Ladies like to place cucumber slices on their eyes while resting to prevent puffiness under the eyes. The “coldness” in cucumber also reduces pain from sunburn.
Potassium in cucumber helps in regulating blood pressure. Cucumber’s diuretic property also helps to rid your body of toxins. Its magnesium content relaxes nerves and muscles and keeps blood circulating smoothly. Cucumber juice is used as a folk remedy for treatment of kidney stones and hypertension.
The juice is also used to treat rheumatic conditions. Mixing it with celery and carrot juice to enrich the cucumber juice with other phytonutrients would result in a concoction that is more effective.
Do not peel off the skin
The thin cucumber skin is rich in fibre and contains a variety of beneficial minerals especially silica, potassium and magnesium. Silica is an important component of healthy connective tissue for stronger muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, intracellular cement and bone.
Do not peel off the skin; serve cucumbers with the skin intact. Soak and wash cucumbers to remove surface contact pesticides, or use those that are organically grown.
Curbing bitterness A common problem found in cucumber is bitterness. You might have heard the belief that cucumber grown on land that was previously planted with bitter gourd would be bitter.
However, the culprit is actually environmental stress. Wide temperature fluctuations, uneven watering (very wet, then very dry) and soil that is too acidic are possible reasons for cucumber to turn bitter.
The bitterness is due to the presence of cucurbitacin, which is more prevalent in the skin and just beneath the skin. Normally, bitterness is more concentrated in the darker green stem end than in the blossom end that is lighter green.
It can be very frustrating to find that the vegetable is too bitter for consumption. To avoid the bitterness you can peel off the skin, but only if you start peeling from the lighter end and stop about one inch from the stem end, then wash the knife and repeat peeling. Unfortunately, this also peels off the bulk of the benefits of cucumber.
Cucumbers are scientifically known as Cucumis sativus, which belongs to the same family as pumpkin, zucchini, watermelon and squash. The skin either ranges in colour from green to white, smooth or ridged depending on the variety.
Gherkins are the small variety best for making pickles. Pick the fruits that are firm for better eating quality.
Cucumbers are the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world and known to be one of the best foods for your body’s overall health, often referred to as a superfood. Cucumbers are often sprayed with pesticides so it is important to buy organic or even better, grow them yourself.
Here are 10 Benefits of cucumbers:
1.Quick pick me-up - Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins. Put down your sodas and coffee and eat a cucumber slice.
2. Rehydrates body and replenishes daily vitamins - Cucumbers are 95 percent water, keeping the body hydrated while helping the body eliminate toxins. Cucumbers have most of the vitamins the body needs in a single day. Don’t forget to leave the skin on because the skin contains a good amount of vitamin C, about 10 percent of the daily-recommended allowance.
3. Skin and hair care - If you don’t like to eat the skin, it can be used for skin irritations and sunburns as aloe would be used. Place a slice over puffy eyes and its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce puffiness. The silicon and sulfur in cucumbers help to stimulate hair growth.
4. Fight cancers - Cucumber are known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol. These three lignans have a strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of several cancer types, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and prostate cancer.
5. Home care - Eliminates a foggy mirror. Before taking a shower, rub a cucumber slice along a mirror and it will eliminate the mirror fogging up. Instead of WD40, take a cucumber slice and rub it along a squeaky hinge and your door will stop squeaking.
6. Relieves bad breath - Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
7. Hangover cure - To avoid a morning hangover or headache; eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish many essential nutrients, reducing the intensity of both hangover and headache.
8. Aids in weight loss and digestion - Due to its low calorie and high water content, cucumber is an ideal diet for people who are looking for weight loss. The high water content and dietary fiber in cucumbers are very effective in ridding the body of toxins from the digestive system, aiding digestion. Daily consumption of cucumbers can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation.
9. Cures diabetes, reduces cholesterol and controls blood pressure - Cucumber juice contains a hormone which is needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin which has been found to be beneficial to diabetic patients. Researchers found that a compound called sterols in cucumbers may help reduce cholesterol levels. Cucumbers contain a lot of potassium, magnesium and fiber. These work effectively for regulating blood pressure. This makes cucumbers good for treating both low blood pressure and high blood pressure.
10. Promotes joint health, relieves gout and arthritis pain -Cucumber is an excellent source of silica, which is known to help promotes joint health by strengthening the connective tissues. They are also rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium. When mixed with carrot juice, they can relieve gout and arthritis pain by lowering the uric acid levels
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