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Cucumber is an amazing fruit that only a few know of the benefits especially in keeping healthy skin, eyes and body. Containedin this fruit are great nutrients that your body system needs. Though sugar-lovers may not like this fruit because of its low sugar content, even the low amount of sugar in cucumberis one of the beneficial effects that is best for people with Diabetes mellitus.
The botanical name isCucumis sativus and isclassified in the same family in botany as Watermelon.
Nutritional and Health benefits of Cucumber
- Itreduces the risk of having cancer:with breast cancer being the leading malignancy in the world, eating of this fruitcould help reduce the incidence of this cancer including other cancers such as ovarian cancer, cancer of the uterus, and in men, cancer of the prostate.This is a fruit that is beneficial to both males and females in preventing tumors. This anti-cancer activity is also exhibited by other members of the family Cucurbitaceaesuch as Watermelon, and Pumpkin. Cucumber and its family members are able to inhibit the pathway of cancer growth by the nutrient calledcucurbitacinwhich are classified intocucurbitacins A, B, C, D, E thatare all found in this amazing fruit.Other three nutrients found in it known to reduce the risk of breast, prostate, uterine and ovarian cancers are:larici-resinol,pino-resinol,and seco-iso-lariciresinol, together, these three nutrients are called Lignans.
- Re-hydration:95% of this fruitis made up of water. This water content helps to keep the body hydrated and it is not concentrated, hence the water content is isotonic (equal concentration as blood) to the body. It is recommended therefore for people who are dehydrated especially in old people whose skin needs water. It may be eaten with other fruits such as carrots in fruit salad
- It contains the B-complex vitamins:vitamins B are known to be good in managing stress and anxiety. This fruit contains Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) , Vitamin B7 (Biotin – sometimes called Vitamin H to refer to its function on the Hair) and Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic acid – this is commonly called the anti-stress vitamin). Together, these vitamins help in the maintenance of a healthy digestive system, nails, hair and also metabolism. Isn’t it amazing that all these vitamins and their uses are found in one fruit? That tiny green fruit should be a vital aspect of your diet.
- It inhibits any inflammatory process:This fruit can reduce inflammation and swelling in the body by preventing the activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzyme which is responsible for pains and swellings in the body. The slices of cucumber can therefore be use to reduce morning puffiness of the eyes and to help treat and prevent dehydration caused by burns on the skin and also dermatitis. Because of this effect also, it is used by women a lot by rubbing on the face to prevent pimples (acne) and make the skin smooth.
- It has Antioxidants:About 104 grams of cucumber contains 4% of vitamin C, beta-carotene and 4% of manganesewhich are known antioxidants. These antioxidants help to mob-up the free radicals of the body. free radicals normally cause mutation in cells leading to cancer and they are also known to cause heart disease; the presence of these antioxidants in this fruit therefore helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and also of cancer as stated above.
- It helps in blood clotting and formation of strong bones:There is about 19% of vitamin K in 104 grams of cucumber; vitamin K is responsible for effective clotting of blood to prevent bleeding and also aids in the absorption of calcium together with vitamin D which is needed in the formation strong bones.
- It reduces and prevents Obesity and other diseases:Itslow calorie prevents obesity and the fibre content helps you achieve satiety even with the low calorie. Also it has low sugar content and hence good for diabetic patients. It is therefore effective in reducing the complications that may arise as a result of any of these diseases.
- It contains other nutrients:Apart from the nutrients I have pointed out, italso contains some important nutrients that perform various functions in the body, these additonal nutrients include:
– Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
All these nutrients are provided in the right amounts needed by the body and have been packaged in cucumber.
Let us not over emphasize the good aspects only, because everything has its own bad side especially when it becomes excess. As good as it maybe, it has its own bad side when eaten in excess amount.
The negative side effects of eating cucumber
Most of the negative effects of eating this vegetablecomes from eating or consuming an excessive amount, by doing this, you tend to have more than the body requires of the nutrients contained in cucumber as mentioned above. These bad effects of eating this fruit include:
- Hyperkalemia: this refers to excess of potassium in the blood, this leads to kidney failure. Hence, it is advisable not to eat this fruitif you have kidney problems.
- Bloating and abdominal cramps:excessive consumption of fibre rich food of which cucumber is one, leads to accumulation of intestinal gas thereby causing abdominal cramps and bloating. The bloating could be exacerbated by pregnancy.
- The bitter tasting cucumbersare toxic:though it was earlier said that ithelps in preventing cancer, the very compound that is responsible for this is also toxic when eaten in large amount. This compound known as tetracyclic triterpenoids or cucurbitacin,is what gives this fruit its bitter taste. The more bitter it is, the more the concentration of this compound and the more harmful it becomes. It is therefore safer to avoid bitter tasting cucumber even when it is used for making smoothies or in juice making.
- Cucumber may causeallergic reaction to a few:It has been shown that individuals who showed allergies with consumption of watermelon, banana and sun flower seed will also have allergic reaction when cucumber is consumed. It is therefore safer to avoid even trying it out if you have had allergic reaction with any of the above mentioned.Also, the form of preservation of cucumber with Wax coating could also cause allergies as a result of the chemical compounds in wax such as milk casein and ethyl alcohol.