Cucumber belongs to plant family cucurbitaceae – the same family as watermelons and pumpkin – genus cucumis and plant species C. sativus.
It is a creeping vine plant that roots in the ground and can grow up supporting frames, wrapping around it with thin, spiralling tendrils. The vine has large leaves that form a kind of canopy over its cylindrical, elongated fruits. It’s high in beneficial nutrients, as well as a number of plant compounds and antioxidants that is important in treating and preventing a number of disease conditions.
It is known to have originated in India about 10,000 years ago, but are now cultivated in many different countries and continents. To maximise cucumbers’ nutrient content, it should be eaten unpeeled. This is because peeling them reduces the amount of fibre, vitamins and minerals which are greatly contained in the peels.
Cucumber is low in calories and contains about 96% water and soluble fibres which makes it ideal for promoting body hydration – a condition which is important for physical performance and body metabolism. The fruit is also known for its high level health benefits.
In fact, the fruit is well known for its great potential as an antidiabetic, antioxidant, body cleansing action against toxins and wastes, soothing effect against skin irritation, prevention of constipation and enhancing body weight loss. Indeed, the high water and fibre content in cucumber makes food to move through the digestive tract quicker and more easily hence preventing constipation.
Cucumber is one of the best fruits that can be eaten to relieve heartburn. It can also be applied on the skin to give relief from sunburn and itchy skin. It is known to be an effective anti-wrinkle agent in cosmetic products, protecting our skin from the effects of aging.
Regular eating of cucumber is known to dissolve away the kidney stones and presence of vitamins A, B and C in it makes it a very good body immune booster.
Regular consumption of cucumber plays a vital role in fighting cancer cells in the body. This is due to the fact that the fruit contains phytochemical cucurbitacins which is a strong anti-cancer compound.
Cucumber is a fruit that stabilises the blood pressure when eaten regularly by those with high or low blood pressure due to the large amount of potassium ions in it.
Cucumber contains adequate vitamin K which is important for improving calcium absorption; a mineral which is credited for optimal bone strength and health.
Cucumber is rich in silica mineral which is a wonder mineral in strengthening our connective tissues such as our hair and nails and making them stronger and shiny.
Cucumbers have been useful to diabetic patients for many years. This fruit has been shown to effectively reduce and control blood sugar levels which is vital in preventing diabetes and its subsequent complications. This is due to the fact that cucumber possesses a hormone required by the beta cells for insulin production.
Cucumber contains an anti-inflammatory substance called fisetin, which plays an important role in brain health including reducing the impact of age-related neurological diseases on brain function. Furthermore, this fruit is rich in flavonoid and tannin compounds, which are well known anti-inflammatory substances which limit the release of free radicals in the body hence important for pain reduction.
Cucumber has high alkaline levels and this makes it important in regulating the body’s blood pH and neutralizing acidity. Therefore, patients with gastric issues should consume cucumbers frequently. It also counters the effects of uric acid hence preventing the inflammation from conditions like arthritis, asthma and gout.
– Richard Komakech