Health Benefits Of Cucumber

What Is Cucumber?

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is a vegetable that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. It has been used as regimen in various health disorders since the ancient times. Its native indian name is khira, whereas botanical name is cucumis sativas. (1)

Cucumber has high percentage of water. It is low-caloric vegetable.

Cucumber picture 1

Biochemical Properties Of Cucumber

Cucumber is high in minerals (0.3%), proteins (0.4%), carbohydrates (2.4%), fat (0.1%), calcium (10mg), phosphor (25mg), iron (1.5 mg), vitamin C (7mg).

Of flavonoids, in cucumbers there are apigenin, luleolin, quercetin and kaempferol.

Lignans are specific polyphenols found in cucumbers (pinoresinol, lariciresinol, secoisolariciresinol). These types of lignans are linked to the lower risk of cardiovascular disorders, breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancer.

The phytonutritients in cucumber are cucurbitacin A, B, C and D. They are involved in the cancerogenesis and are able to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer by inhibiting the growth of cancer cell lines.

Cucurbitacin A.

Cucurbitacin A.

 Cucurbitacin B.

Cucurbitacin B.

One of the major flavonoids found in cucumber is fisetin. Fisetin (3, 7, 3,4 tetrahydroxyflavone) may improve cognitive functions, long- term memory, reduces inflammation in central nervous system and reverses aging.

Fisetin

Cucumbers are rich in ascorbic acid and lactic acid that have high antioxidant activity.

Cucumber has antidiabetic, lipid lowering, antioxidant activity and detox properties. It is of benefit in sunburns, thermoregulatory disorders and haemostasis. (2)

Health Benefits of Cucumber

1. Digestive System

Cucumber is of extreme benefit for gastrointestinal symptoms such as acid reflux, gastritis and ulcers.

Due to high dietary fiber content in cucumbers, it promotes better digestion.

Health Benefits of Cucumber Digestive System

2. Fights Constipation

Cucumbers are effective in relieving the symptoms of constipation. They are potent laxatives. Cucumber is low in calories, thus it is high in fiber

3. Fights Intestinal Parasitis

Cucumber is recommended in gastrointestinal parasite infection, especially tapeworm. Its mechanism is due to the enzyme erepsin that eliminates parasites.

4. Renal System

Cucumber is a powerful diuretic and decreases the pressure on human kidneys. It eliminates catabolic products and toxins out of the body.

5. Gout

Cucumber prevents the accumulation of uric acid.

6. Electrolyte Homeostasis

Cucumbers are rich in water and electrolytes. They regulate blood pressure.

Cucumbers are abundant in potassium (136 mg/ 100 gr) that is able to neutralize the sodium and helps in the regulation of an electrolyte balance.

7. Antiinflammatory Effect

Cucumber juice extracts prevent and decrease inflammation due to the inhibiiton of prostaglandins.

Additionally, beta-carotene is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and tissue damage.

Cucumbers are as well abundant in flavonoids that are able to decrease the inflammatory process.

They are even able to inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes such as cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2).(2)

8. Anticancer Effect

The most powerful anticancerogen substances in cucumbers are lariciresinol, pinoresinol and secoisolariciresinol that may prevent the onset of various cancers.

Lignans have anticancer effect in digestive tract due to their interaction with bacteria. Lignans are being converted to enterolignans (enterodiol, enterolactone) that have pro-estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effect.

Thus, they are able to lower the incidence of estrogen dependent cancers (breast, ovarian, uterine and prostate cancer).(2)

9. Diabetes

The enzyme erepsin in cucumber breaks down the accumulated proteins in kidneys. It is as well abundant in hormone that stimulates the production of insulin in pancreas. (3)

Dental Health

Cucumber is used in the oral hygiene. It may neutralize bad odour and remove bacteria.

It protects gums and teeth and decreased the concentration of acid in the oral cavity.

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10. Cardiovascular Health

Cucumber is a potent diuretic, thus extremely helpful in lowering the blood pressure.

Due to high potassium and water percentage it is able to regulate both elevated, as well as decreased blood pressure level.

11. Alcohol Hangover

Cucumbers are of extreme benefit in the hangover due to high concentration of glucohydrates, vitamin B and electrolytes.

12. Detox Reactions

Cucumber is a known detox vegetable. It contains 95% of water and is a valuable hydratating food that helps the elimination of toxins. (4)

13. Bone Health

Cucumbers are one of the most recommended regimens for bone strength due to vitamin K.

bone-problem

Sliica in cucumber stimulates joint wellness and connective tissue quality.

14. Fights Against Alzheimer’S Disease

Cucumber is abundant in a flavonoid named fisetin. Fisetin is neuroprotective. It improves cognitive functions and prevents Alzheimer disease. (5)

15. Fights Obesity

The seeds of cucumber are effective in obesity treatment. They as well may prevent maldigestion.

The seeds and pulp are rich in water and low in calories.(6)

16. Neuroprotective Effect

There are numerous minerals in cucumbers that aid in the formation of neurotransmitter that are of vital importance for the intercellular connections in the brain.

17. Hair Growth

Cucumber stimulates hair growth due to high content of silicon and sulphur. (2)

18. Skin

It is recommended in skin disorders such as pimples, wrinkles and dryness. (2)

skin

Cucumbers are rich in fibers, silica, potassium and magnesium, thus powerful agent in cosmetic procedures due to anti-wrinkle effects. (6)

It has been also shown to delay aging process of the skin, enhances its elasticity and stimulates its metabolism.

Side Effects Of Cucumber

The possible side-effects of cucumber are:

  1. Allergic Reactions that are manifested mostly in the area of oral cavity. They are presented as itchiness and swelling of the affected area.
  2. Gastritis due to a substance named cucurbitacin.
  3. Toxic Reactions in case of high intake of cucumbers.

References

  1. Kirkbride, Joseph H , Jr. Biosystematic Monograph of the Genus Cucumis Cucurbitaceae : Botanical Identification of Cucumbers and Melons/book and Disk.
  2. Mukherjee PK, Nema NK, Maity N, Sarkar BK.Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber.Fitoterapia. 2013 Jan;84:227-36.
  3. Dixit Y, Kar A.Protective role of three vegetable peels in alloxan induced diabetes mellitus in male mice.Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010 Sep;65(3):284-9.
  4. Pamela Maher.Modulation of multiple pathways involved in the maintenance of neuronal function during aging by fisetin. Genes Nutr. 2009 Dec; 4(4): 297–307.
  5. Dixit Y, Kar A.Protective role of three vegetable peels in alloxan induced diabetes mellitus in male mice.Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010 Sep;65(3):284-9.
  6. Nema NK. Cucumis sativus fruit-potential antioxidant, anti-hyaluronidase, and anti-elastase agent.Arch Dermatol Res.2011 May;303(4):247-52.
  7. Mukherjee PK, Nema NK, Maity N, Sarkar BK.Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber.Fitoterapia. 2013 Jan;84:227-36.