Cucumbers are a widely-grown vegetable that form part of the Cucurbita family alongside squash, pumpkin and watermelon. Like it’s family member, watermelon, cucumbers are composed largely (around 90%) of water, which means eating cucumbers contributes to your daily intake of water.
The cucumber plant is a creeping vine that roots into the ground and grows up supporting frames. The leaves are large and function as a cover over the cylindrical fruit.
In addition to being a great source of water, cucumbers are bursting with a range of vitamins (including vitamins K, C and B), they’re also a great source of copper, potassium and manganese.
Containing only 15 calories per 100g, cucumbers are a popular choice for those watching their caloric intake. They’re also made up of mostly water and surrounded by a dark peel packed with dietary fibre, so they’re excellent at reducing constipation, eliminating toxic compounds from the gut, and offering some protection against colon cancers.
The potassium found in cucumbers makes them great at reducing blood pressure and heart rate, while the B-carotene, A-carotene, and vitamins C and A provide excellent anti-oxidant benefits.
A not-so-common benefit of consuming cucumbers is their anti-inflammatory benefits, and their ability to reduce the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes. In addition to this, cucumbers also contain quercetin – an antioxidant that many believe acts as a natural antihistamine.
Cucumbers contain high doses of Vitamin K which has been found to have a potential role in promoting bone mass. There’s also evidence that the presence of fisetin plays an important role in improving memory and protecting nerve cells from age related decline, and in particular in slowing down diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Placing a cucumber slice on the roof of your mouth is also believed to rid your mouth of odour-causing bacteria.
Lastly the age old trick of reducing puffiness under ones eyes in the morning can be done by placing a slice of fresh English cucumber over your eyes (while they are closed) and relaxing for 5 minutes!