A cucumber is a fruit from the gourd family that grows on vines. Its uses are diverse due to its various nutritional and health benefits. There are three main types of cucumbers in the market. The slicing cucumbers which are commonly sliced and eaten when raw, pickling cucumbers which are pickled often to give them a longer shelf life and flavor and burpless cucumbers which are the sweetest and smoothest of the three . This fruit can be categorized among the worlds healthiest foods due to its nutritional value. This fruit can be eaten raw when sliced, mixed in salads and other snacks or cooked. Cucumber nutrition facts show that the fruit tends to contain almost all the nutrients required for a balanced diet. It contains proteins, carbohydrates, calcium, magnesium, fiber, water, certain vitamins and other minerals. These nutrients are found in moderate proportions per serving hence each is able to serve its nutritional purpose in the body. All the nutrients contained in the fruit help in maintaining body health in various ways such as treatment of diseases or boosting of body processes.
Cucumber benefits great weather eaten raw or cooked. The peel of the fruit contains fibers that aid in constipation and also eliminate toxic substance in the gut hence providing protection from colon cancers. Other cancers can also be treated and prevented by the regular intake of cucumbers due to the lignans found in them. Vitamin K present in the fruit also helps in bone formation and strength and in the treatment of certain diseases such as Alzheimer. The diuretic property of cucumbers is also important for individuals who love to check their weight due to the water, low sodium content and potassium in them. Diabetes and blood pressure are other diseases that may also be treated with the use of this fruit. Potassium, fiber and magnesium in it help in regulating the body’s blood pressure while a certain hormone contained in the fruit helps to boost production of insulin in the pancreas hence very beneficial for diabetic patients.
Benefits of cucumbers have also been proved as good hangover cures and detox products. This is because they help rehydrate the body due to their water content, replenish the body’s nutrients and eliminate the toxins that are present from the intake of alcohol. The fruit also contains anti-oxidant properties that help reduce the rate of aging. Most skin and hair products are manufactured with cucumber as one of the products as it helps in protecting and treating the skin from sunburns, has anti-inflammatory properties and aids in hair growth and strength. The raw fruit is also commonly used in many beauty parlours in facial processes to reduce wrinkling especially around the eyes.
Bacterial infections in the mouth and also bad breath can be remedied by phytochemicals released from the fruit which kill the bacteria. Steam produced when cucumber is boiled usually produces a good aroma in a room which can also be stress reliever as it calms and relaxes muscles from its chemicals. Home care processes also benefit from the use of cucumber. During the cleaning of stainless steel tools in the house, the use of fresh cucumber or a product containing it helps to remove tarnish and restore or retain their shine. Chemicals in the cucumber also enable the fruit to be used in shining of shoes and make the water repellent hence retaining their shiny effect. To control slugs in the garden, slices of the fruit are placed in containers around the garden. The chemicals in it usually release a scent that keeps the pests away from the area. Cucumber can also work like lubricant when rubbed on squeaky hinges in the house.
Cucumber Side Effects
However cucumbers also have certain side effects to some people. Allergies are common especially in the oral cavity. Itchiness and swellings may develop due to allergic reactions to ragweed. This may remedied by cooking the fruit instead of eating it raw. Some may experience gassiness due to a compound known as cucurbitacin which causes indigestion. These may be avoided by consumption of certain types of cucumbers which have undergone breeding and the compound removed. Other side effects that have been experienced due to excess intake include baldness and toxicity caused by certain chemicals in cucumbers. These usually happens when one consumes excess of the fruit and the chemicals build up in the system.