5 Benefits of Eating Cucumber
1. It’s High in Nutrients
Cucumbers are low in calories but high in many important vitamins and minerals. One 11-ounce (300-gram) unpeeled, raw cucumber contains the following (1): Calories: 45 Total fat: 0 grams Carbs: 11 grams Protein: 2 grams Fiber: 2 grams Vitamin C: 14% of the RDI Vitamin K: 62% of the RDI Magnesium: 10% of the RDI Potassium: 13% of the RDI Manganese: 12% of the RDI Although, the typical serving size is about one-third of a cucumber, so eating a standard portion would provide about one-third of the nutrients above. Additionally, cucumbers have a high water content. In fact, cucumbers are made up of about 96% water (2). To maximize their nutrient content, cucumbers should be eaten unpeeled. Peeling them reduces the amount of fiber, as well as certain vitamins and minerals, in a serving (3).
2. It Contains Antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that block oxidation, a chemical reaction that forms highly reactive atoms with unpaired electrons known as free radicals. The accumulation of these harmful free radicals can lead to several types of chronic illness (4). In fact, oxidative stress caused by free radicals has been associated with cancer and heart, lung and autoimmune disease (4). Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are especially rich in beneficial antioxidants that may reduce the risk of these conditions. One study measured the antioxidant power of cucumber by supplementing 30 older adults with cucumber powder. At the end of the 30-day study, cucumber powder caused a significant increase in several markers of antioxidant activity and improved antioxidant status (5).
3. It Promotes Hydration
Water is crucial to your body’s function, playing numerous important roles (7). It is involved in processes like temperature regulation and the transportation of waste products and nutrients (7). In fact, proper hydration can affect everything from physical performance to metabolism (8, 9). While you meet the majority of your fluid needs by drinking water or other liquids, some people may get as much as 40% of their total water intake from food (2). Fruits and vegetables, in particular, can be a good source of water in your diet. In one study, hydration status was assessed and diet records were collected for 442 children. They found that increased fruit and vegetable intake was associated with improvements in hydration status (10). Because cucumbers are composed of about 96% water, they are especially effective at promoting hydration and can help you meet your daily fluid needs (2).
4. It May Aid in Weight Loss
Cucumbers could potentially help you lose weight in a few different ways. First of all, they are low in calories. Each one-cup (104-gram) serving contains just 16 calories, while an entire 11-ounce (300-gram) cucumber contains only 45 calories (1). This means that you can eat plenty of cucumbers without packing on the extra calories that lead to weight gain. Cucumbers can add freshness and flavor to salads, sandwiches and side dishes and may also be used as a replacement for higher calorie alternatives. Furthermore, the high water content of cucumbers could aid in weight loss as well. One analysis looked at 13 studies including 3,628 people and found that eating foods with high water and low calorie contents was associated with a significant decrease in body weight (11).
5. It Could Help Lower Cholesterol
Research shows that cucumbers contain certain compounds that could reduce blood cholesterol levels. These compounds include phytosterols, or plant sterols, which can be found in many types of fruits and vegetables (12). Studies show that plant sterols can reduce LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 5–15% in most people (13). One study had participants with and without diabetes supplement with plant sterols. It found that LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by 15% in non-diabetic participants and by an impressive 26.8% in diabetic participants (14). Cucumbers also contain pectin, a naturally occurring type of soluble fiber that could decrease blood cholesterol. An animal study found that administration of pectin extracted from cucumbers caused a significant decrease in both blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels