Thursday, 13 November 2014

Health benefits of Cucumber

Cucumbers for Energy & Weight Loss

"A cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing," offered 18th-century author Samuel Johnson. Johnson’s commentary on the cucumber came well before selective breeding had eliminated much of the bitterness of the vegetable. The author also was lacking current knowledge of the considerable benefits of the now-mild tasting cucumber. The cucumber is a source of slow-release energy and a potent tool in your efforts to lose weight.


History and Background - Although the cucumber is famously held in high regard by the British, its early history lay in the Mediterranean region, where Greeks, Romans and Egyptians cultivated it since about 4000 to 3000 B.C. The cucumber migrated up to France and eventually to England by the 1300s. It was brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus and has made its way across the globe, appearing in cuisines around the world in salads, sandwiches, salsas, relishes and sauces, such as Indian raitas and Greek tzaziki.

A member of the squash family and cousin to zucchinis and watermelon, the cucumber has never attained the status or popularity of other vegetables that are eaten raw, such as lettuce, celery and carrots. Set aside whatever bias you might harbor, however. It’s time to invite the lowly cucumber to your daily plate, especially if you are trying to lose weight.


Health Benefits of Cucumber

It is still unknown when cucumbers began to be used for pickling, but researchers have speculated that the gherkin variety of cucumber was developed from a native African plant. Spain was one of the countries during ancient times that started pickling cucumbers, since Roman emperors imported them from this Mediterranean country.

The health benefits of cucumber are not widely known in many cultures. The taste of fresh cucumber is somewhat bland in comparison to other squashes, but it’s thirst quenching, and the cooling quality of this squash is truly refreshing. Cucumbers often act as antioxidants when you consume them with barbecued and fried foods. You can also drink a glass full of cucumber, carrot or orange juice. This will not only give you its wholesome nutrient value, but it is also a unique tasty treat.

Health Benefits of Cucumbers:
  • A Bright and Glowing Complexion
  • Prevents Constipation and Keeps Kidneys Healthy
  • Controls Blood Pressure
  • Manage Diabetes
  • Keeps the Body Healthy and Functioning
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How to Eat Cucumbers to Lose Weight

Most people looking for an effective and sustainable way to lose weight simply need to combine a healthy diet with a moderate amount of exercise. While eating an excessive amount of cucumbers as the bulk of your diet would be bad for your health since you would end up eating too few calories and not ingesting a diverse enough range of vegetables, consuming them as part of a well-balanced diet can aid with weight-loss.

As they're low in calories, cucumbers will help to fill you up without adding a substantial amount of calories to your diet.

Step 1 - Follow the USDA's MyPlate guidelines and incorporate cucumbers as part of your healthy diet. MyPlate guidelines state that roughly half of your plate at any given meal should be filled with fruits or vegetables. Eating in this way will help you to lose weight. The amount you should eat varies according to your age, gender and activity levels, but on average, adult males under 50 should eat 3 cups of vegetables each day and adult women under 50 should eat 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day, with those over 50 eating 1/2 a cup less. While eating cucumbers is healthy, you should eat a range of different vegetables, including leafy greens, beans and peas, red or orange vegetables, and starchy vegetables.


Cucumber Juice for Weight Loss

Cucumbers are not only a crunchy, refreshing topping for a salad, they can be made into a healthy juice that fits into your weight-loss plan. Juicing fresh cucumbers in a blender will let you keep the dietary fiber content of the vegetable, making it an even more nutritious beverage. A 1-cup serving of sliced cucumber blended with 1/2 cup of water will make a 1-cup serving of cucumber juice.

A Low - Calorie Drink: A 1-cup serving of cucumber juice has only 16 calories per serving. A single pound of body weight is equal to 3,500 calories, so to lose one pound, you need to have a loss of 3,500 calories either by consuming fewer calories or burning more. Drink low-calorie cucumber juice in place of higher-calorie beverages, such as soda. In contrast, a 12-ounce can of lemon lime soda has 151 calories per serving.

Drinking cucumber juice instead of soda once a week could help you lose two pounds of body weight a year.


Cucumber nutrition facts


Ever wonder how to beat the scorching summer heat? Just remember your backyard, humble crunchy cucumber! Nonetheless, this wonderful low calorie vegetable indeed has more nutrients to offer than just water and electrolytes.

It is one of the oldest cultivated crops, and believed to be originating in the northern sub-Himalayan plains of India. The plant is a creeper (vine) akin to other members of Cucurbita family such as gourds, squashes, melons, zucchini, etc. Botanically; it belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family; and is known scientifically as Cucumis sativus.

Health benefits of Cucumber - It is one of the very low calorie vegetables; provide just 15 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation, and offer some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.


Vitamins in Cucumber Peels
Cucumber peels contain vitamin A, which helps maintain good eyesight

The cucumber is a warm season vegetable that requires ample space as well as care and protection in order to produce, according to the University of Illinois Extension. People use cucumbers most often in salads or for pickling. Cucumbers lose nutritional value when they are peeled, so eat unpeeled cucumbers to get plenty of B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin K.

B Vitamins - Cucumbers contain several B vitamins in the B vitamin complex including vitamin B1, B2 and B6. According to Cancer.org, vitamin B1, thiamin, aids the body in producing energy and enriches enzymes that affect the muscles, nerves and heart. Vitamin B2, riboflavin performs the same functions as B1. Vitamin B6, pyridoxine, helps the body to break down proteins ingested though your diet. Vitamin B6 also helps to maintain red blood cells and the health of several systems in your body including the nervous system and the immune system.

Vitamin A - According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, vitamin A helps to form healthy teeth and skeletal tissue, mucous membranes and skin. Vitamin A also produces the pigments in the retina of your eye and helps to maintain good vision. Vitamin A also contains beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that can help your body defend itself against free radicals from your environment. In addition to cucumber peels, you can obtain vitamin A from animal liver, whole milk and fortified foods.


Cucumber & Cholesterol
Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin A and potassium and contain no cholesterol

Cucumbers are used in everything from salads to facial masks. Rich in vitamin A, vitamin K and potassium, adding this versatile food to your meals is a choice for good health. And it makes sense that cholesterol management programs often advocate eating vegetables and fruits, such as cucumbers, as they contain absolutely no cholesterol.

Cucumbers are part of the gourd family, a vine-bearing fruit family that also includes watermelon, squash and zucchini. A plant food that's often associated with a cooling effect, cucumbers are typical summertime fare. Their cooling effect makes them useful in cold soups and salads, and to cool the eye area during spa treatments. They are also packed with nutrients, containing good doses of vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium.

Cholesterol is a component of animal-based foods, not plant foods, so like other fruits and vegetables, cucumbers contain no cholesterol. Managing high cholesterol often means evaluating and changing your eating habits. Advice often includes adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals. Cucumbers also have some fiber -- about 1.5 g in one unpeeled cucumber -- a component of food that helps lower blood cholesterol.


Benefits and Side Effects of Cucumbers

Cucumbers were first introduced to North America by Christopher Columbus, and today they make up a staple in many Americans' diets. Their high-water and low-calorie content -- cucumbers are more than 95 percent water by weight and contain just 16 calories per cup -- make cucumbers a smart addition to a calorie-controlled diet, and they offer health benefits because of their nutrient content. Cucumbers, however, also come with a risk of oral allergy syndrome, so they can cause side effects in some people.

Vitamin K - Cucumbers offer health benefits by significantly boosting your vitamin K intake. Your body uses vitamin K to activate coagulation factors, a family of proteins that proves essential for blood clot formation.

The ability to help you form blood clots benefits your health because it prevents excessive bleeding after you suffer tissue damage, and getting enough vitamin K prevents spontaneous bleeding, including nosebleeds or bleeding gums. Getting enough vitamin K in your diet also activates proteins essential for bone health, which keeps your skeleton strong. A 1-cup serving of sliced cucumber, with the peel on, offers approximately 17 micrograms of vitamin K. This makes up 14 percent and 19 percent of the recommended daily intakes for men and women, respectively.


Cucumber Peel Benefits

Cucumbers have a mild, refreshing flavor and are a delicious addition to any salad, sandwich or side dish. Frequently cucumbers are peeled, because the rough outer skin can be difficult to chew and digest. However, what many people don't know is most of the beneficial nutritional value of cucumbers stems from the peel. So leave the peel on to reap all of the benefits this vegetable has to offer.

Source of Fiber - Cucumber peels are rich in insoluble fiber, a type of fiber that sweeps through your digestive tract like a broom, creating fecal bulk. It also helps relieve constipation and is an important factor for keeping you regular. For a healthy diet, women need 25 g of total fiber daily, and men require 38 g, explains the Linus Pauling Institute.

The inner soft part of cucumbers provides some soluble fiber, which is another type of beneficial fiber. Soluble fiber attracts water and forms a thick substance that travels through your gut, helping to soften your stool. Enjoying six large cucumber slices with the peel, or about 1 cup, provides approximately 1 g of fiber -- most of which is insoluble.


The Benefits of Cucumber Juice

Cucumber juice comes from cucumber, an edible vegetable. Cucumber belongs to the melon family, which includes the watermelon, squash and zucchini. Other than drinking its juice, cucumber can be combined with various dishes, eaten with a salad and used as skin agents.

Drinking cucumber juice can provide you with several health benefits.

Vitamin A - Drinking cucumber juice can provide you with a good quantity of vitamin A. According to the United States Department of Agriculture - National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, cucumber juice that comes from raw cucumber either peeled or unpeeled contains 86 to 109 IU of vitamin A per serving. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that plays an important role in helping you with your eyesight, bone growth, reproduction and cell division. Vitamin A that comes from plant sources are called provitamin A carotenoid, while those that come from animal sources are called preformed vitamin A. Sufficient amounts of vitamin A can also help promote healthy and intact surface lining in the eyes, respiratory tract, urinary tract and gastrointestinal tract.

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Uses of cucumbers that may amaze you

Cucumbers are very easy to grow and make for a delicious treat. But did you know they can prevent hangovers, or clean the kitchen sink? Below is a list of tips and tricks you can do with cucumbers that you do not want to miss!

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