With Funke Oshifuye
I used to wonder about the rationale behind the phrase “as cool as a cucumber”. So I decided to delve into the nutritional properties of this low-calorie vegetable. How cool can you get with cucumber?
The flesh of cucumbers is primarily composed of water, thus consuming cucumbers can keep the body hydrated and help regulate the body’s inner temperature. This vegetable’s high water content gives it a very unique moist and cooling taste.
Apart from the fact that cucumbers are 95 percent water, they are a very good source of the vitamin C, molybdenum, vitamin A, potassium, manganese, folate, dietary fiber, magnesium and silica.
The silica in cucumber is an essential component of healthy connective tissues, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone. Cucumber juice is often recommended as a source of silica to improve the complexion and health of the skin.
In addition, cucumber’s high water content makes it naturally hydrating and “a must for glowing skin”. No wonder it is said that “there is nothing more nourishing for the skin to have than the liquid juice from the cucumber”.
The nutrition-rich water that it contains, adds tone to the skin, sparkle to the eye, colour to the lips and luster to the skin. Cucumbers are also used for treating skin problems like swelling under the eyes and sunburn.
The vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and caffeic acid prevent water retention, which may explain why cucumbers applied topically are often helpful for swollen eyes, burns and dermatitis.
Adding a cucumber to your salad is an especially good way to increase your fiber intake, which helps to reduce constipation and also offer some protection against colon cancers.
Fiber adds bulk to your food, cucumbers can make you fuller for a longer time. In effect, this very low calorie vegetable (just about 15 calories per 100 grams) can come in handy as a snack for dieters.
Cucumbers have the reputation as the best kidney cleanser known. This is because they help to wash the kidneys and bladder of debris and stones. Studies have shown that eating cucumbers regularly helps to regulate uric acid in the body, thereby preventing certain kidney and bladder stones.
Cucumbers’ diuretic properties probably due to its high water content, coupled with its potassium content helps to reduce high blood pressure and heart rates by counteracting effects of sodium.
This cool, crunchy vegetable has high amounts of vitamin K, about 17 mcg per 100 grams, which has been shown to have potential role in bone mass building, making it a good snack for middle aged and elderly women with osteoporosis. So would you rather take the cooling, refreshing, water-rich, filling, low-calorie cucumber or the next available pastry when you feel like snacking?