Cucumber’s Amazing Health Benefits
With all the talk about superfoods, special diets, and miracle eats, sometimes, the benefits of “ordinary” food goes unnoticed.
That’s a true pity—because some of the staples we ate first became staples for a very good reason.
These are, often, some of the very best foods for you. Filled with the nutrients that power your body each and every day. But, since they are so common, no one extols their virtues, no one writes books about them, and certainly they never get a spotlight all to themselves.
Today, I want to play a small part in correcting that. And so I bring you—the humble cucumber!
Cucumbers—Nature’s unheralded health food
Rarely on anyone’s list of healthiest foods, the cucumber is often ignored and overlooked. It may make up the crunch in countless salads and sandwiches, it may get pickled and served with every dish in the deli, but no one every talks about the cucumber.
And they should. Let’s take a look at the five biggest benefits of adding more cucumber to your diet.
1. Nature’s cancer drug
Cucumbers are rich in two types of phytonutrients that fight cancer: lignans and cucurbitacins.
Cucurbitacins fight cancer by blocking the signaling pathways that cancer cells use to multiply and survive. As we speak, multiple drug companies are trying to isolate the power of cucurbitacins and turn it into cancer medicine.
Lignans, meanwhile, interact with bacteria in our guts to produce estrogen-blocking compounds. That’s been shown to lower the risk of various estrogen-related cancers, like ovarian, prostate, breast, and endometrial cancers.
That’s an awful lot of power in one small vegetable (Technically they’re fruits, but since most consider them vegetables, let’s leave them there).
2. Protecting your brain
Cucumbers are full of flavonols, but one in particular stands out when it comes to your brain: fisetin. Not only is fisetin an anti-inflammatory—which benefits your brain, along with every other organ in your body—but fisetin has also been found to prevent memory loss in mice with Alzheimer’s.
While there haven’t been enough human studies to call any of these findings conclusive, when it comes to Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain diseases, good news is scarce. Wherever I find any, I jump at it.
In the meantime…eating more cucumber couldn’t hurt!
3. The spa treatment in your mouth
Ever wonder why so many day spas offer cucumber treatments? Wonder no more. Cucumber is great for your skin.
Cucumber is rich in magnesium, potassium, and silicon—all key ingredients for healthy, vibrant skin.
Potassium offers the added bonus of being good for your heart as well.
4. Like a crunchy glass of water
You’ve probably noticed that cucumbers are full of water. So it shouldn’t come as surprise that cucumbers are wonderful for hydration.
In fact, getting some of your hydration through foods like cucumbers beats using straight water alone. That’s because—unlike the over-treated H2O that comes through your tap, cucumbers come with a healthy dose of vitamins K, C, and B.
5. Strong crunch equals strong bones
Speaking of vitamin K, one cup of cucumber contains 19% of your recommended daily intake.
That’s important because vitamin K is a crucial ingredient for building and maintaining healthy, strong bones.
Add they’re chock full of fiber to help fill you up and keep your appetite at bay, despite only being 16 calories per cup.
Cucumbers make an excellent snack food, and often add a bit of pizzazz to larger dishes—without the calories often associated with pizzazz.
If you don’t have cucumbers in your pantry, go get some today. Sliced or diced, cooked or—especially—raw, cucumbers are a food chock full of benefits, with no drawbacks.
The fact that they feel so satisfying to crunch, and have a lovely subtle flavor, just adds to the charm.
You can put them in anything—including water, for an urbane flavored feel.
The long and the short of it is, the more cucumber you have in your life, the better.
- Shubha Krishan, 16 Superb Health Benefits of Cucumber, Care2, Jun 14 2013
- Jesse Szalay, Cucumbers: Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts, Live Science, May 28 2015
- Joseph Mercola, 9 Health Benefits of Cucumbers, Mercola, Aug 23 2014
Disclaimer: Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Last Updated: August 16, 2018
Originally Published: August 10, 2016