Cucumbers, squashes, pumpkins, and watermelons – they all belong to the same plant family called the Cucurbitaceae family. Just like watermelons, cucumbers are made up of mostly watery content (95%), so they are essential on a hot summer day to help you stay hydrated.
Nevertheless, there are reasons to eat cucumbers for your good nutrition and health all year around. Cucumbers help you avoid nutrient deficiencies which are widespread among people on a typical American diet: these watery vegies offer you B group vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin C and minerals such as potassium, copper and manganese.
To boot, cucumbers hold matchless polyphenols (and other compounds) that may help reduce your risk of chronic infections and hence boost your overall health.
Here are 9 reasons to eat cucumbers apart from having them for the hydration reason:
- Cucumbers protect your brain’s ‘gray matter’
The flavonol called fisetin, found in cucumbers, possess an anti-inflammatory potency that appears to play an important role in brain health. Fisetin, in addition to improving your retention and learning impairments, also protects your nerve cells from age-based decline.
- Cucumbers SLASH your risk of cancer
Cucumbers contain polyphenols called lignans (lariciresinol, pinoresinol and secoisolariciresinol), which may help lower your risk of several types of cancers such as breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancer. They also contain phytonutrients called cucurbitacins, which have been found to be anti-cancer targeted.
According to the George Mateljan Foundation: “Scientists have already determined that several different signaling pathways (for example, the JAK-STAT and MAPK pathways) required for cancer cell development and survival can be blocked by activity of cucurbitacins.”
- Cucumbers fight inflammation (that is infection)
Cucumbers may aid to ‘cool down’ the inflammatory response in your body. Animal studies suggest that cucumber extract helps reduce unwanted inflammation, partially by inhibiting the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes (which includes cyclo-oxygenase 2, or COX-2).
- Cucumbers have strong antioxidant properties
Cucumbers contain an array of antioxidants, including the indispensable vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain antioxidant flavonoids, such as apigenin, quercetin, luteolin and kaempferol, which bring about additional benefits.
One of them, quercetin is the antioxidant which many researchers believe to prevent histamine release—thus making the quercetin-rich foods (like cucumbers) ‘natural antihistamines.’ Kaempferol, on the other hand, may help fight cancer and lower your risk of chronic diseases including heart conditions.
- Cucumbers bring an air of fresh breath in your mouth
Simple placing a cucumber slice on the roof of your mouth may help to clean your mouth of odor-causing bacteria and improve your oral health. According to the principles of Ayurveda, eating cucumbers may also help to release excess heat in your stomach, which is believed to be a primary cause of bad breath.