To beat the summer heat what else can be as cool as a cucumber? Unfortunately the cumbers are not given the respect that they deserve by the culinary world. They are usually restricted to salads or sometimes used as a garnish.
Cucumber’s place of origin is believed to be northern India. It is the fourth most cultivated vegetable worldwide; the top three are tomatoes, cabbage and onions. Cucumis Sativus is the scientific name given to it and due to its powerful qualities it is also known as Super food. It belongs to the botanical family of gourd called Cucurbiticeae, which also includes squashes and melons.
There are two varieties of cucumbers available in the market, for raw consumption, “Slicing cucumbers” are available and to make pickles, “Pickling cucumbers” are grown. The difference between the two is that pickling cucumbers have thin bumpy skins and are smaller in size whereas slicing cucumbers are large and have thick skins. Cucumber is counted among low caloric foods as one cup would only give you 15 calories; this is the reason why it could be a healthy choice for snacking. The vegetable is also rich in vitamins and other essential nutrients such as vitamin A, B1, B6, C, D & K, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium and Folate (folic acid).
So do not under estimate the power of this refreshing vegetable when the next time you eat it. Why not find out why?
Keeps the body Hydrated
Cucumber has 96% of water contents, which has more nutritious value than a regular glass of water. It keeps the body hydrated and also regulates the temperature of the body. It is helpful in excreting harmful toxins from the body.
Abundant in Cancer fighting agents
Cucumber contains pinoresinol, lariciresinol and secoisolariciresinol, these 3 lignans have proven beneficial to reduce the risk of developing several types of cancers including uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Keeps Blood Pressure under control
Cucumber is blessed with essential minerals like potassium, magnesium and fiber, all these help to regulate blood pressure. It has been found beneficial in treating both high and low blood pressure. Take a glass of cucumber juice and get rid of this problem without taking much medication.
Beneficial for healthy gums and teeth
Pyorrhea is a kind of infection where purulent inflammation of tooth sockets and gums takes place and often results in loosening of teeth. Cucumber has been found to be effective in curing this disease. Also the dietary fiber found in cucumber improves teeth and gum health when they are rubbed against them while chewing.
A slice of cucumber if pressed on the palate of the mouth for 30 seconds can reduce bad breath.
It has been found effective in digestive disorders such as heartburn, acidity, stomach ulcers and gastritis. The seedless English cucumbers are also known as “burpless” as they avoid burping. Its daily consumption is regarded as the best remedy for curing chronic constipation. The dietary fiber found in it removes the toxins produced in the digestive system. Cucumber seeds are also used to remove tapeworms.
Helpful in Gout and Arthritis pain
Cucumber is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties for this reason it has been found helpful in arthritis and gout problems. A quick and easy remedy to cure arthritis pain is to take a mixture of cucumber and carrot juice. How will it work? It will help reduce uric acid levels which would result in pain relief.
The abundant contents of silica promote health of the joints by strengthening the connective tissues.
Improves Heart Health
Cucumber has an important compound known as sterols that help to reduce cholesterol and thus results in improved heart health. The contents of Folate found in cucumber are also helpful in reducing homocysteine levels and thus reduces the risk of developing various heart diseases. There are some heart-healthy fibers that are also found in the skin of the cucumbers.
Effective in Diabetes and removal of kidney stones
How does it work for diabetic patients? The juice of cucumber provides a hormone required by the pancreas for the production of insulin. The diuretic properties of cucumber helps to either remove or dissolve the kidney and bladder stones.
Remedy for Headache and Hangover
Eat a few slices of cucumber before going to bed to avoid hangover and headache in the morning.
Cucumber and Beauty care
Cucumber has all it takes to make you look beautiful. It has anti aging properties because of the presence of anti-oxidants such as beta carotene, manganese and Vitamin C. The cucumber facial masks help to tighten the skin. It is also helpful in removing the puffiness under the eyes. The skin of the cucumber can bring relief from sun burns. The silica contents found in cucumber are beneficial for healthy hair and nails.
It also helps in keeping your body fit. People who are planning to go on a diet must include plenty of cucumbers in their diet, it will help to keep the tummy filled and would also keep the body hydrated. You can have a daily intake of this vegetable in the form of salads, soups and even in the form of cucumber lemonade (excellent drink for summers).
When you are buying cucumbers please keep a few things in mind. Choose the ones that are dark green and avoid buying yellow colored cucumbers. Also determine that they are firm to touch. The organically grown cucumbers are the best ones, as they are rich in nutrients and taste good too.