Health Benefits of Cucumbers

Cucumbers are often touted as a healthy food because they are low in calories and have no fat. They also have many nutrients that make them a healthy choice for cooking and snacking. Cucumbers can be used to make lotions, treat medical problems, and aid in meditation.

Girl with a cucumber slice

Most of the nutrients in cucumbers are in the skin. They are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and folic acid. The skin also contains the minerals molybdenum, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and silica. The mineral silica promotes strength in the connective tissue and joints.

The skin of the cucumber contains a high amount of fiber and along with the high water content in cucumbers this can aid digestion. Fresh cucumbers, eaten daily, have been used as a treatment for chronic constipation.

Foods high in potassium, magnesium, and fiber, like cucumbers, have also been used to help lower blood pressure. When following the DASH method (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), people who ate foods low in fat and high in these nutrients reduced their systolic blood pressure by 5.5 points and their diastolic blood pressure by 3 points.

The smell of cucumbers is thought by most people to be sweet and pure. Cucumbers are often used in soaps and lotions for their scent and skin beautifying aspects. The cucumber scent is also used in aroma therapy to aid in meditation and relaxation.

Cucumbers are often used in facial masks to firm and tighten the skin. The ascorbic acid and caffeic acid in cucumbers reduce water retention and can help reduce swelling as well as puffiness around eyes. Slices of cucumber can be placed directly over the eyes or other swollen area or blended and used as a mask. Cucumbers reduce the pain and swelling of sunburn or windburn by placing slices on the skin or making a lotion. To make a cucumber lotion, juice a cucumber and mix the juice with equal parts glycerine and rose water.

Cucumber seeds are used as a natural remedy to treat tapeworms, and as a diuretic. Bruised cucumber seeds mixed with water are used a natural remedy to reduce swelling in mucous membranes such as the nose and throat. In Chinese culture, juices from the leaf of the cucumber plant were used as an emetic to force vomiting to treat upset stomach. (Don't try this at home.)

The phrase “cool as a cucumber” is reputed to have a basis in fact as the high water content and minerals have a cooling effect on the blood. The skin of the cucumber contains a chemical called trans-2-noneal. This chemical can be used to repel cockroaches.

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Sources:
Every Nutrient.com: Health Benefits of Cucumbers
The Worlds Healthiest Foods: Cucumbers
Botanical.com: Cucumber
Earthnotes: Cucumber

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