Crunchy, refreshing and easy to eat, the cucumber may be one of the more underrated veggies out there. And while they aren’t the most flavorful food in the world, their health benefits can make quite the impact. Plus, they make a perfect crunchy snack that’s low in calories. They also contain antioxidants and a wide variety of vitamins, making them a super healthy addition to your diet. From promoting healthy skin to improving your memory, check out the top 13 health benefits of cucumbers below. And if you’re lucky enough to have a load from your garden on hand, check out some of our favorite cucumber recipes below as well!
Cucumbers are a great way to keep hydrated on a hot day as they are made up of 95 percent water. Yes, 95 percent, making some call it nature’s most hydrating vegetable! Due to their high water content, they also make for a great juice or smoothie ingredient!
Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called “fisetin” which plays a significant role in brain health. And while fisetin is found in other vegetables, cucumbers in particular contain a more concentrated amount. Due to this, cucumbers have been cited to improve memory and help in preventing memory loss.
Aid in Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, calories are important. And thanks to the only 16 calories per one cup serving, cucumbers are a great food to aid in weight loss. They can fill you up, without adding much for calories to your day. As discussed, they also contain loads of healthy vitamins to give your body a healthy dose of nutrients which is key for losing weight in a healthy way.
Maintain Healthy Digestion
Any vegetable high in water content will be able to promote healthy digestion by keeping you hydrated. However, cucumbers, particularly their skin contains insoluble fiber which helps to add bulk to your stool and aid in the clean-out process. And though this subject is one typically kept private, everyone knows just how important healthy digestion is!
Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Cucumbers have been shown to be especially beneficial for diabetics as they’ve been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. Cucumbers have an index of 15 on the glycemix index scale (anything under 55 is considered low). Their fiber content also slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and sugars which in turn reduces blood sugar levels.
Have Anti-Cancer Benefits
Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and reduce your risk of cancer. Cucumbers in particular, are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, and contain high levels of these nutrients which may help in preventing cancer. They also contain fisetin (mentioned earlier), caffeic acid and lutein which have all been shown to reduce cancerous symptoms.
Inflammation in the body can lead to a whole host of problems. But thankfully there are plenty of foods that can combat inflammation, namely cucumbers. This is due to the presence of polyphenols called lignans. Cucumbers can reduce inflammation externally too when used directly on the skin (more on that below).
Promote Healthy Skin
There’s a reason why every spa seems to have cucumbers on hand. Not only does cucumber water make for a super refreshing that can promote relaxation, but cucumbers also have amazing skin benefits when applied topically. Cucumbers, most popularly placed on the eyelids, cool the area and ease facial swelling – cool as a cucumber, right? Cucumbers can also serve as a great way to cool down sunburn!
Diminish Bad Breath
Got a case of bad breath? Instead of reaching for a piece of gum, you can actually grab a slice of cucumber. Cucumbers’ high water concentration prevents dry mouth and the crunchy texture can help eliminate odor-causing bacteria by removing food particles and plaque and stimulating saliva production.
Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure? It may be time to add cucumbers to your diet. Of course, cucumbers alone aren’t going to lower your blood pressure single-handedly, but as a part of a healthy overall diet, they can aid in lowering blood pressure in large part due to it’s potassium content. One large cucumber contains 442mg of potassium which is an essential mineral for regulating blood pressure.
Provide Heartburn Relief
There’s no question: heartburn is a pain. Whether it’s brought on by some late night pepperoni pizza or the joys of pregnancy, finding relief while it’s happening is a top priority. Heartburn happens due to acid from the stomach reaching into the esophagus and throat, which causes that fiery burn. Instead of reaching for a Tums, however, cucumber can be a great preventative/reliever. An alkaline vegetable, cucumber will reduce the amount of acid available in the stomach and thus can cool heartburn.
Promote Healthy Hair & Nails
Healthy, glowing hair and strong nails are a goal for many of us. But with age, they can be more difficult to come by. Silica, found in cucumbers, is a trace mineral that strengthens connective tissues such as our hair and nails. Just make sure not to peel off the skin of a cucumber, which is where most of the silica, as well as various other nutrients are found.
Known as the stress-relieving vitamin, cucumbers contain vitamin B1 or thiamine. And while it may only make up about 3% of your daily value, every little bit counts. Plus, eating a healthy diet, which includes cucumbers is key to managing stress levels, plus the crunchiness of this particular veggie can be a great choice for anxiety prone times.
Our Favorite Healthy Cucumber Recipes
So who’s ready to dive into some cucumber recipes? Now that we know how amazing their health benefits are, it’s time to incorporate them into our diet. Of course we have no opposition to eating them all by themselves but when you’re looking for something with a little more pizazz, these recipes bring out the best that cucumbers have to offer! Oh, and make sure to add cucumber slices to your water – it’s one of the easiest and tastiest ways to get them in your day!
For a fun spin on cucumbers, try spiralizing them in this beet salad with cucumbers, mint and feta! It’s a delicious way to get your cucumber fix and reap all the health benefits too!
This refreshing drink is a great way to use up your fresh cucumbers lying around. Plus, it’s packed with flavor due to the fresh lemon juice, mint and rosemary.
This nutritious dinner recipe is healthy and simple to make. The cucumber noodles getting amped up a notch with a sweet sesame vinaigrette and the sweet, tangy, spicy salmon makes for a perfect flavor pairing.
Cutting cucumbers lengthwise into thin rectangular shapes provides the perfect roll-up to stuff with hummus, turkey, arugula and more. It’s a great healthy snack or light lunch.
This recipe is perfect for lunch or dinner and will send your mouth straight to Greece. These flavorful turkey burgers are served in toasted pita bread and the herbs and zippy cucumber yogurt dressing really make this dish amazing.
Cucumber and mint and are a delicious flavor combo and this smoothie is packed with fruits and veggies. Plus, it’s vegan, dairy free, and one you’ll want to make again and again!
- Cucumber Sandwiches: Simply slice cucumbers and places between whole wheat sandwich bread. Spread your favorite yogurt-based sauce (we love Trader Joe’s Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip!) for a delicious and easy concoction!
- Cucumber Bruschetta: Transform cucumbers into a fun bruschetta by cutting them into 1⁄4 inch thick circles and topping with fresh feta or goat cheese, tomatoes, basil, balsamic, anything your taste buds are craving