Cucumber – health benefits and therapeutic value

Cucumber slices with portions of the skin unpeeled

A cucumber plant (Cucumis sativus) is a vegetable plant that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family.

Native to northern India and Pakistan, cucumbers can grow over 10 feet (3 meters) tall. Cucumbers have been grown across the world as a major resource crop for over 3,000 years.

The cucumber and its health benefits

  • Water is its major constituent, and this makes the cucumber the most refreshing of foods. However, its mineral, trace element and macronutrient contents are rather low.
  • 95% of a cucumber is pure water, and it has very low calorie intake which makes it an asset for persons who need to watch their weight.
  • Cucumber juice is extremely refreshing and slightly laxative.
  • Health benefits of cucumbers are most used in external, topical preparations. Since it is refreshing, cucumber pulp is used to soothe inflammation and skin rashes, as well as light burn wounds.
  • Cucumbers are included in many different lotions. It helps treat chapped lips and skin, itchiness and dry patches.
  • Rehydrate any type of skin with a few cucumber slices!

Growing cucumber for its health benefits

  • Cucumbers require warm exposure, sunny with deep, humus-rich soil, not too moist.
  • In pots or garden boxes at least 12 inches (30 cm) deep with a lattice to climb along, cucumbers will thrive!
  • You’ll discover that cucumbers stay cool even in full sun. Surrounding temperatures may be high, but the heart of the cucumber will always remain 6 to 8 degrees cooler!

Cooking cucumber to benefit from its healthy properties

  • Slices of cucumber in a cold water jugThe cucumber must be firm and its skin must be deep green and not shiny. The smaller, 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm), the tastier!
  • Often eaten raw in mixed salads, cucumbers can nonetheless be baked with cheese in the oven, or added to stew.
  • If you have trouble digesting cucumbers, peel them and remove the core with a spoon. Bur remember, the skin is where most of the nutrients are stocked!
  • Cucumbers keep one or two weeks in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator. When partially eaten, protect the remaining portion with plastic wrap. Avoid keeping your cucumbers near fruits (especially apples). Fruits produce ethylene which makes cucumbers more bitter.

Cucumber nutritional content

10 kcal / 3.5 oz (100 g). Cucumbers have good calcium, iron, sodium and vitamin levels.

Smart tip about cucumber health benefits

Simply steep slices of cucumber in water for a healthy, refreshing summer drink!

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Skin remaining on slices by Valentinhotels under Pixabay license
Cucumber in jug by kartynas under Pixabay license