FACTS ABOUT CUCUMBERS
What Are Cucumbers?
Cucumbers are popular long, lean, and green garden vegetables. Technically, they’re fruits from the same family as watermelons and pumpkins, but most people consider them veggies.
Cucumbers are native to India, have a slight melon-like taste, and sometimes can be slightly bitter.
There are two main types:
Slicing cucumbers are eaten fresh, often in a salad. They can be 12 inches or longer and usually have smooth skin. There are “burpless” varieties that have less of a plant compound called cucurbitacin. That gives them a milder taste, and it may make you burp less after you eat them. You may also hear them called “seedless cucumbers” or “European cucumbers.”
Pickling cucumbers are much smaller and are the type used to make pickles. They can be 3-7 inches long, and they typically have bumps or spines on their skin.
Nutritional Benefits of Cucumber
A serving of cucumber — one-half a cup — is about 8 calories. They have small amounts of vitamin K and vitamin A and are about 95% water. They also have several phytonutrients (plant chemicals) called lignans.
One medium unpeeled, raw cucumber has the following:
Total fat: 0 grams
Carbs: 6 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Vitamin C: 10% of the recommended daily value (DV)
Vitamin K: 57% of the DV
Magnesium: 9% of the DV
Potassium: 12% of the DV
Manganese: 9% of the DV
Health Benefits of Cucumber
All that water in cucumbers can help keep you hydrated. Plus, the fiber boost they give you helps you stay regular and avoid constipation.
The vitamin K helps blood clot and keep your bones healthy. Vitamin A has many jobs, like helping with vision, the immune system, and reproduction. It also makes sure organs like your heart, lungs, and kidneys work the way they should.
The lignans may help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, and some cancers.
Antioxidants such as beta carotene in cucumbers can help fight free radicals in your body, unpaired electrons that damage cells and can lead to disease.
Cucumbers may also have health benefits outside your body. Putting them on your skin may help ease sunburn pain, swelling, and damaged skin. That’s why people sometimes put a slice or two under their eyes, hoping to shrink bags and ease puffiness.
Risks of Cucumber
There are few risks to eating cucumbers. One concern may be the pesticides growers use on them. Before you eat them, peel the skin off or wash it in warm running water. That’ll make sure your cucumber is safe to enjoy.
Cucumbers come with a natural wax on their skin. Washing cucumbers after picking them takes away that wax, so producers add a synthetic wax back on before sending them to grocery stores. The wax helps them stay shelf stable longer, but it also holds onto germs. The wax itself isn’t harmful, but peeling the skin before you eat the cucumber can lower the risk of contamination. However, the skin is where most of the nutrients live. A better option may be to buy organic and wash your cukes well before enjoying.
How to Prepare and Store Cucumbers
Most people wash, slice, and toss their cucumbers into a salad. Before you do, you may want to soak them in salt water first. That will lower the amount of water in them and keep the cucumbers from making your salad dressing watery.
You can eat the peel of a cucumber. In fact, it will add fiber and vitamin A to your diet. Just be sure to wash the cucumber first.
When you shop for cucumbers, skip ones that are yellow, puffy, or have sunk-in areas, bulges, or wrinkled ends. Those overripe cucumbers won’t taste great. Instead, look for bright, firm, medium to dark-green, slender cucumbers. Any bruises or dark spots are signs of decay.
Store cucumbers unpeeled in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer. If they have a wax coating that gives them a shiny look, use them within a week. If they don’t have a wax coating, use them sooner. Don’t keep them out at room temperature long, or they will become soft and limp.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS AND TIPS ABOUT CUCUMBERS FOR YOUR HEALTH, AND LIFESTYLE.
- Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
- Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
- Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
- Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
- Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!
- Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!
- Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
- Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
- Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
- Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
- Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
- Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your taps, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the
shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.
- Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!