Though commonly thought to be a vegetable, cucumber is actually a fruit.
It’s high in beneficial nutrients, as well as certain plant compounds and antioxidants that may help treat and even prevent some conditions.
Also, cucumbers are low in calories and contain a good amount of water and soluble fiber, making them ideal for promoting hydration and aiding in weight loss.
This article takes a closer look at some of the top health benefits of eating cucumber.
1. It’s High in Nutrients
Cucumbers are low in calories but high in many important vitamins and minerals.
One 11-ounce (300-gram) unpeeled, raw cucumber contains the following (1):
- Calories: 45
- Total fat: 0 grams
- Carbs: 11 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 14% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 62% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 10% of the RDI
- Potassium: 13% of the RDI
- Manganese: 12% of the RDI
Although, the typical serving size is about one-third of a cucumber, so eating a standard portion would provide about one-third of the nutrients above.
Additionally, cucumbers have a high water content. In fact, cucumbers are made up of about 96% water (2).
To maximize their nutrient content, cucumbers should be eaten unpeeled. Peeling them reduces the amount of fiber, as well as certain vitamins and minerals, in a serving (3).
Summary: Cucumbers are low in calories but high in water and several important vitamins and minerals. Eating cucumbers with the peel provides the maximum amount of nutrients.
2. It Contains Antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that block oxidation, a chemical reaction that forms highly reactive atoms with unpaired electrons known as free radicals.
The accumulation of these harmful free radicals can lead to several types of chronic illness (4).
In fact, oxidative stress caused by free radicals has been associated with cancer and heart, lung and autoimmune disease (4).
Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are especially rich in beneficial antioxidants that may reduce the risk of these conditions.
One study measured the antioxidant power of cucumber by supplementing 30 older adults with cucumber powder.
At the end of the 30-day study, cucumber powder caused a significant increase in several markers of antioxidant activity and improved antioxidant status (5).
However, it’s important to note that the cucumber powder used in this study likely contained a greater dose of antioxidants than you would consume in a typical serving of cucumber.
Another test-tube study investigated the antioxidant properties of cucumbers and found that they contain flavonoids and tannins, which are two compounds that are especially effective at blocking harmful free radicals (6).
Summary: Cucumbers contain antioxidants, including flavonoids and tannins, which prevent the accumulation of harmful free radicals and may reduce the risk of chronic disease.
3. It Promotes Hydration
Water is crucial to your body’s function, playing numerous important roles (7).
It is involved in processes like temperature regulation and the transportation of waste products and nutrients (7).
Fruits and vegetables, in particular, can be a good source of water in your diet.
In one study, hydration status was assessed and diet records were collected…