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):
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
To maximize their nutrient content, cucumbers should be eaten unpeeled. Peeling them reduces the amount of fiber, as well as certain vitamins and minerals
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
In fact, oxidative stress caused by free radicals has been associated with cancer and heart, lung and autoimmune disease
Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are especially rich in beneficial antioxidants that may reduce the risk of these conditions.
Water is crucial to your body's function, playing numerous important roles
It is involved in processes like temperature regulation and the transportation of waste products and nutrients
In fact, proper hydration can affect everything from physical performance to metabolism
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 for 442 children. They found that increased fruit and vegetable intake was associated with improvements in hydration status
Because cucumbers are composed of about 96% water, they are especially effective at promoting hydration and can help you meet your daily fluid needs (2).
Cucumbers could potentially help you lose weight in a few different ways.
First of all, they are low in calories.
Each one-cup (104-gram) serving contains just 16 calories, while an entire 11-ounce (300-gram) cucumber contains only 45 calories
This means that you can eat plenty of cucumbers without packing on the extra calories that lead to weight gain.
Cucumbers can add freshness and flavor to salads, sandwiches and side dishes and may also be used as a replacement for higher calorie alternatives.
Furthermore, the high water content of cucumbers could aid in weight loss as well.
One analysis looked at 13 studies including 3,628 people and found that eating foods with high water and low calorie contents was associated with a significant decrease in body weight
Several animal and test-tube studies have found that cucumbers may help reduce blood sugar levels and prevent some complications of diabetes.
One animal study examined the effects of various plants on blood sugar. Cucumbers were shown to effectively reduce and control blood sugar levels
Another animal study induced diabetes in mice and then supplemented them with cucumber peel extract. Cucumber peel reversed most of the diabetes-associated changes and caused a decrease in blood sugar
In addition, one test-tube study found that cucumbers may be effective at reducing oxidative stress and preventing diabetes-related complications
However, the current evidence is limited to test-tube and animal studies. Further research is needed to determine how cucumbers may affect blood sugar in humans.
Eating cucumbers may help support regular bowel movements.
Cucumbers are high in water and promote hydration. Staying hydrated can improve stool consistency, prevent constipation and help maintain regularity
Moreover, cucumbers contain fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements.
In particular, pectin, the type of soluble fiber found in cucumbers, can help increase bowel movement frequency.
One study had 80 participants supplement with pectin. It found that pectin sped up the movement of the intestinal muscles, all while feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut that improve digestive health (17).
Mild with a distinctly crisp and refreshing flavor, cucumbers are commonly enjoyed fresh or pickled in everything from salads to sandwiches.
Cucumbers are also often eaten raw as a low-calorie snack or can be paired with hummus, olive oil, salt or salad dressing to add a bit more flavor.
With just a bit of creativity, cucumbers can be enjoyed in many ways.
Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin that appears to play an important role in brain health. In addition to improving your memory and protecting your nerve cells from age-related decline,1 fisetin has been found to prevent progressive memory and learning impairments in mice with Alzheimer's disease.
Cucumbers contain polyphenols called lignans (pinoresinol, lariciresinol, and secoisolariciresinol), which may help to lower your risk of breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers.They also contain phytonutrients called cucurbitacins, which also have anti-cancer properties. According to the George Mateljan Foundation:
Placing a cucumber slice on the roof of your mouth may help to rid your mouth of odor-causing bacteria. According to the principles of Ayurveda, eating cucumbers may also help to release excess heat in your stomach, which is said to be a primary cause of bad breath.
Cucumbers contain multiple B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and vitamin B7 (biotin). B vitamins are known to help ease feelings of anxiety and buffer some of the damaging effects of stress.