Health Benefits of Cucumber – Alkaline Foods Spotlight
Many vegetables have many benefits, of course, but few are as ‘useful’ as a cucumber. The health benefits of cucumber are so easy to access because in so many recipes cucumbers provide the benefit of their high water content, and their cool texture, making them so usable, all day, every day in so many different recipes.
Alongside avocado, it’s hard to think of a more frequently used food in my house. And they are so good for you too!
In today’s “Alkaline Foods Spotlight” we’re going to zoom in on the health benefits of cucumber, to encourage you to eat more and to reconfirm that cucumber is a food you should include as often as possible in your alkaline lifestyle.
What Are Cucumbers?
Cucumbers (scientifically known as Cucumis sativus ) are a food that belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae.
They are semi-aquatic in nature, which means they grow close to water sources, such as rivers or lakes.
The cucumber is part of the melon family and has been around for thousands of years. They originated in India, where people used to grow them underwater.
There are many different varieties of cucumbers available in the market and in different countries, they have different names too! These include English, European, ‘Continental’, lemon, Armenian, Lebanese, and Burpee.
The variety is not as important, so simply pick the one you like to use and most enjoy, so don’t stress about getting the ‘right’ type. They’re all good!
Why Are Cucumbers Alkaline?
Cucumbers feature in my list of the most alkaline foods for lots of reasons.
To begin with, cucumbers are known for being a great source of potassium and vitamin K. They also contain folic acid, which is important for healthy heart and brain function.
Potassium is an alkaline mineral, which makes cucumber an alkalizing food. If you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, make sure to include plenty of potassium-rich foods in your diet.
Many of the health benefits of cucumber, alongside other alkaline foods such as broccoli, is due to them being rich in sulfur compounds, which have been proven to be beneficial for our health. They promote the removal of toxins from your body and have potent anti-inflammatory effects which protect you against ailments such as arthritis, asthma, and lupus.
Finally, cucumbers also contain a lot of water which makes them very hydrating. In fact, the human body is about 80% water in volume.
Cucumbers have a very high water content, which means they will help you stay hydrated and flush out toxins from your body. These two functions are crucial for long-term health, so make sure to eat cucumbers often!
Health Benefits of Cucumber
Because cucumbers contain so many important nutrients and minerals, they have a long list of positive health effects. Let’s take a closer look at some of them:
Cucumbers Alkalize the Body
As we already discussed, cucumber belongs to the group of alkaline foods. This means that it can neutralize the acid in your body and help you maintain a proper pH balance.
Cucumber Balances Your Body’s Water Levels
As we already said, cucumbers are composed of 96% water. Because of that, they have a lot of positive effects on your body’s hydration status. They will naturally prevent you from becoming dehydrated because they are so high in water.
Cucumbers Have High Water-Soluble Fiber
In addition, cucumbers have a very high water-soluble fiber content. Soluble fibers absorb water and form a gel-like substance in your stomach which slows down food digestion. This provides you with a sense of fullness for a longer period of time, which means that you’ll eat less overall.
Cucumber Promotes Heart Health
Cucumbers have a high vitamin K content. The human body needs this vitamin to maintain strong bones and teeth, but it is also important for clogged arteries because it prevents calcium from sticking to your blood vessels’ walls.
In addition, cucumbers contain a lot of potassium, which has been proven to protect you against heart-related problems. Potassium lowers blood pressure and reduces your risk of developing cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis.
Cucumbers May Help Alleviate Blood Sugar Retention
More recently research on cucumbers has been focusing on lowering blood sugar regulation. When our blood sugar levels are too high over an elongated period of time, this can produce a LOT of oxidative stress in the body.
This oxidative stress can damage cells and dramatically increase aging.
Increased consumption of cucumber is showing promise in significantly lowering this overproduction of oxidative stress. Research is showing that the high levels of antioxidants found in cucumbers, including their many flavonoids and triterpenes, are the reason for this benefit.
And Indeed: Cucumbers Contain High Levels of Antioxidants
Researchers have discovered that cucumbers contain 73 different phenolic compounds that are likely to provide us with huge antioxidant benefits. These include: apigenin, diosmetin, quercetin, kaempferol, pinoresinol, lariciresinol, and cucurbitacin A, B, C, and D. Phew.
Finally, Cucumbers Have Strong Anti-Inflammatory Potential
A big benefit of cucumbers is their power to reduce inflammation in the body. In fact, research has shown that consuming cucumber extract provides potent anti-inflammatory effects and therefore also prevents oxidative stress.
Many of the antioxidants listed above have also been shown that they may inhibit the activity of cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2), a well-studied pro-inflammatory enzyme.
Cucumbers also contain the antioxidant fisetin – a flavonoid that is not only powerfully anti-inflammatory but may also have the potential for risk reduction in certain cancers.
How to Use Cucumbers
Cucumbers are so easy to include, and you should try to include them daily.
In my own alkaline lifestyle, I use cucumbers in:
- Spiralized to make noodles (usually to put on top of my alkaline soups)
- Blended into soups to make them thinner (and more nutritious)
- Chopped into sticks to dip in homemade hummus
- And often I’ll just eat half a cucumber as a quick snack! Talk about keeping it easy!
I would love to hear your uses for cucumber!
The health benefits of cucumbers make them difficult to ignore. Cucumbers are highly alkaline, antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory, making them a perfect ‘Triple-A’ food.
Easy-to-use and nutritionally dense, you should try to get them into your alkaline life as much as possible.