Need to Get Skinny? Cucumber Nutrition Facts and Health BenefitsBy Rob Poulos...
You’d normally think of it as a throwaway vegetable for salads, but a nice, juicy log of cucumber can do a lot of good: Studies show cucumbers exhibit both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with many health conditions. But a healthier bod isn’t the only reason to say yes to cucumbers–it can also make it easier to get lean.
Cucumber’s Nutrition Facts
While adding any vegetable to your daily diet is a good idea, cucumbers may be the best idea–at a mere 45 calories per 8 inch cucumber, it’s hard to overindulge. Better yet, cucumber is a nutritional powerhouse, containing plenty of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium and manganese. It’s also virtually free of the bad stuff, such as saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Even its sodium count is virtually nonexistent–carrying only 6 grams per cucumber.
So why the low calorie count? Dieters can give thanks to cucumber’s high water content, which makes up 95 percent of the cucumber’s total weight. No other vegetable comes close to having this much water content aside from iceberg lettuce, which contains 96 percent water. Water is calorie-free–and in a fun twist for dieters, can also create the illusion of satiety, which means you’ll feel fuller faster on fewer calories.
Cucumber’s Health Benefits
Sure, cucumbers are low in calories–but can it really do a body good?
Research suggests it could.
For instance, studies have recently discovered cucumbers contain special polyphenols called lignans, but not just any lignans. Cucumbers contain types of lignans called secoisolariciresinol, pinoresinol, and lariciresinol–three types that have been strongly correlated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and heart disease.
And the benefits don’t end there. According to researchers, cucumbers have also reduced inflammation in animal studies, and while it isn’t concrete evidence, this could suggest it may reduce inflammation in humans. Inflammation may not sound like a big deal, but chronic inflammation can lead to arthritis, atherosclerosis, and hay fever.
Of course, there are also the benefits for your waistline.
Because cucumber is so low in calories, it’s a good way to add bulk to your diet without adding too many calories–and the extra water content can create the illusion of satiety. Better yet, cucumber also contains fiber, which research suggests can improve satiety levels.
That means you’ll feel less hungry–on fewer calories.
How to Enjoy Cucumber
Because cucumbers are cultivated–and enjoyed–worldwide, there’s no end to cucumber’s culinary possibilities. While most people enjoy it plain with light ranch dip, this isn’t the only way to enjoy it:
- Dice them up and toss into scrambled eggs. Cucumbers easily pick up the flavor of any food, so they’ll provide the right bulk for making scrambled eggs more filling.
- Cut them into small pieces and toss into salsa. As well as adding tomato and your favorite assortment of spices, cucumbers can help cool down an otherwise spicy dip.
- Make Greek salad. To prepare, cube cucumbers with bell peppers, red onions, tomatoes, then add a splash of red win vinegar and olive oil. Top it off with olives for an authentic, low-calorie dining experience. Bon appetit!