The cucumber, scientific name Cucumis sativus, belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, just like pumpkin, zucchini, melon and watermelon. It is native to India but it was very appreciated also by the ancient Egyptians. The fruit has an elongated shape, a dark green peel a bit bumpy, a lighter pulp and is made up of 96% water. For this reason, cucumber is the perfect vegetable that can be eaten in summer and on hot days in order to avoid dehydration. In addition to this, cucumbers have also detoxifying and diuretic properties, useful in case of water retention and cellulite, they provide fiber, and therefore are a help to counteract constipation. Thanks to the tartaric acid content, cucumbers play a role in preventing carbohydrates, which are taken in the same meal, from turning into fats, so these vegetables can be easily inserted into the diet of those people who are overweight. Moreover, on the basis of scientific studies, it has been observed that eating cucumbers, in particular their peel, is able to lower glycemic levels (Roman-Ramos et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 1995 and Dixit et al, Plant Foods Hum Nutr, 2010). However, it should be noted that the studies have not yet analyzed the possible effects on humans, so more work still remains to do but, for now, these preliminary results are very interesting and encouraging. Finally, cucumbers provide antioxidants, such as beta-carotene but also tannins and flavonoids that counteract free radicals and have an analgesic effect (Kumar et al, J Young Pham, 2010). These vegetables have also vitamins, such as A, group B, C and E, and mineral salts, such as phosphorus, potassium, useful to control blood pressure, calcium, silicon, with important anti-inflammatory properties useful in case of arthritis, manganese, fluorine and zinc. They can be eaten raw, cut into slices and added to salads, preferably with the skin to avoid to lose many nutrients. You can season them with some lemon juice and a little olive oil, they will give a refreshing and crunchy touch to your dishes. Due to the presence of a substance, cucurbitacin, the digestion of cucumber may be difficult for those people who have a delicate intestine and stomach.
Cucumber, as a food
Vitamins and mineral salts, antioxidants with analgesic effect and against free radicals, diuretic and depurative properties, helps the work of liver and kidney, fibers against constipation and useful to lose weight.