Cucumbers may have a high water content, but the health benefits of cucumbers should not be watered down. On the contrary, these summertime vegetables have numerous benefits that are often overlooked. Whether you like them on a salad, juiced, or eaten raw with black pepper—you’re getting health perks you may not even be aware of.
1. Lignans – Lignans are polyphenols, or beneficial plant compounds. In cucumbers you’ll find lignans like lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol, which have been linked to reduced risk of certain types of cancer and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
2. Hydration – Because cucumbers are about 90 percent water, they are a great source of hydration. Use them to refresh on a hot summer day or to get your water intake up.
3. Digestion – Whether you suffer from constipation or regular stomachaches, cucumbers may be able to help. The water and fiber contents pair up to help keep things running smoothly.
4. Hair and nails – Cucumbers have a high silica content, a compound great for the hair, nails, and even skin.
5. Joint health – In addition to beautifying, silica can help strengthen connective tissue and encourage joint health. Natural News reports that when paired with carrots, cucumbers can work to reduce uric acid levels in the blood.
6. Weight loss – Cucumbers are very low in calories. A full cup of cucumber slices contains only 16 calories. Adding a nutritious and low-calorie food like this can aid in weight loss efforts.
7. Eye health – Women who use cucumber slices on their eyes are on to something. The anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties of cucumbers mean they help reduce puffiness and redness.
When it comes to choosing cucumbers, organic is always best. Though both organic and conventionally-grown cucumbers may be waxed to protect them during shipping; the wax used on organics is non-synthetic. If you must use conventionally-grown, waxed cucumbers, remove the skin before serving.
If you grow your own, you don’t have to be concerned with any wax and you don’t have to wonder what’s been sprayed on the vegetables to make them last. Growing cucumbers is fun, boosts self-sufficiency, and healthy. The vines are beautiful with sprawling green leaves and curling tendrils before the cucumbers form. Even if you are going to grow outdoors, try growing the seeds inside for about 3 weeks before transplanting, and then you can grow them in full sun. Trellis if you have limited space in which to grow your cucumbers.