Cucumbers seem to have a pretty humble reputation in the natural health world. The most common opinion about these cylindrical green vegetables is that they are lacking in the nutrition department because they are comprised of approximately 96 percent water. So the culinary aspect of cucumbers is way more explored/established than the medical side. While the fact that cucumbers contain fewer vitamins and minerals than most other fruits and vegetables is true. However, cucumbers do possess other properties that make them a valuable addition to our diet, where we are referring to their nutraceutical aspects.
Let’s have a better look at these unknown properties of cucumbers!
Rich in disease-fighting lignans and cucurbitacins
Cucumbers are rich in lignans, the polyphenolic substances derived from aminoacid phenylalanine via dimerization of substituted cinnamic alcohols. This reaction leads to
formation of stereo metrically altered substances participating in many biochemical pathways within each of the bodies cells.
There are 3 lignans found in cucumbers — pinoresinol (1), lariciresinol(2) and secoisolariciresinol(3). The main value of lignans is that they serve an antioxidant role in the plant’s defenses against biotic and abiotic factors, and have shown anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity in basic research models of human diseases.
It has been proven that lignans are capable to reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues. For example, a study published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) in 2010 found that these three lignans could “lower vascular inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, which could have some implications in CVD prevention.
Lignans are also know as substances that can promote anti-cancer effect. A study published in 2013 in Nutrition and Cancer found that pinoresinol could suppress the growth of human leukemia cells.
Another group of protective substances in cucumbers, well known for it’s anti-cancer benefits, is called cucurbitacins. Recent study found that cucurbitacins exhibited antitumor activity in human cancer cell lines. These results contribute toward the growing evidence that cucumbers are an effective cancer-fighting food.
Packed with anti-inflammatory flavonoids
Cucumbers are rich in four flavonoids called quercetin, apigenin, kaempferol and luteolin. According to a review featured in Inflammation Research, flavonoids can possess anti-inflammatory properties due to “antioxidant activity, inhibition of eicosanoid generating enzymes or the modulation of the production of proinflammatory molecules.” Therefore, eating more cucumbers could help protect us from serious inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.
Can cucumbers help treat dehydration
According to a report in Medical Daily, up to 75 percent of the American population could be suffering from chronic dehydration. Unsurprisingly, such long-term dehydration can lead to a huge number of health conditions ranging from chronic fatigue to full-blown kidney failure.
And though, cucumbers should not (and could not) be a substitute for pure drinking water, these watery fruits can help rehydrate the body, aid saliva production and help flush the colon of accumulated waste. A study published in Fitoterapia even noted that cucumbers could — due to their cooling properties — alleviate the pain associated with sunburn.
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 also contain a fair amount of potassium, magnesium and fiber. These work effectively for regulating blood pressure which makes cucumbers good for treating both low blood pressure as well as high blood pressure.
Promotes joint health, relieves gout and arthritis pain
Cucumber is an excellent source of silica, which is known to help promote 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.
a) Japanese Cucumber salad
Peel cucumbers to leave alternating green stripes. Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Using a food processor or sharp knife, cut into very thin slices. Place in a double layer of paper towel and squeeze gently to remove any excess moisture. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, stirring to dissolve. Add the cucumbers and sesame seeds; toss well to combine. Serve immediately.
b) Cucumber Lemon Water for weight loss
• 1/2 Lemon thinly sliced
• 1/4 Cucumber thinly sliced- save 2 slices to place on your eyes
In a large pitcher, add the lemon and cucumber, then the ice and then water. Let sit in the fridge for a few minutes before serving. Pour into a large wine glass, put your feet up and relax. Once the water is down to only 1/4 full refill with water. You can do this several times, keep in the fridge.
Components like Cucumber Water and Lemon Water, are the World’s Most Popular Detox Drinks.