Cucumber, a low-calorie vegetable with numerous health benefits

Cucumber is a wonderful low calorie vegetable that has more nutrients to offer than just water and electrolytes.

One of the oldest cultivated crops, cucumber is believed to have originated in the northern sub-Himalayan plains of India. A vine plant, cucumber is akin to other members of Cucurbita family such as gourds, squashes and melons.

Cucumber is easy to grow and is best harvested young, tender and just short of reaching maturity. At this stage, it tastes sweet, has a crunchy texture, and unique flavor. It can be eaten raw, in vegetable salads or juicing.

Cucumber has many health benefits. One of the very low calorie vegetables, it contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. The cucumber peel is a rich source of dietary fiber that not only helps reduce constipation, but also offers some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.

Cucumber is also a very good source of potassium as 100 g. of cucumber provides 147 mg. of potassium but only two mg. of sodium. Health authorities say potassium is an electrolyte that helps reduce blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium.
Cucumbers contain unique anti-oxidants in moderate ratios such as ß-carotene and a-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-A, zea-xanthin and lutein, compounds that help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.

Cucumbers have mild diuretic property, which perhaps attributed to their free-water, and potassium and low sodium content. This helps in checking weight gain and high blood pressure.

They have a high amount of vitamin K. Vitamin K has been found to have a potential role in bone strength by promoting osteotrophic (bone mass building) activity. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.#