The best thing about serving cucumbers is that they’re as nutritious as they’re delicious. There are 100s of varieties, enough to satisfy every palate and be suitable to serve any way you’d; raw or pickled. Cucumbers are known to be rich in phytonutrients such as flavinoids, lignans and triterpenes. They also provide small percentages of your daily needs for potassium, magnesium, manganese, fiber and vitamins C, K, and A. Since the vitamin A is in the form of Beta Carotene cucumbers are good for your eyes and vision health. Quite a feat for a pale, bland tasting vegetable, isn’t it?
Are you counting calories? 1 cup of diced cucumber is only about 16 calories with the peel, about 15 without the peel. I recommend leaving the peel for additional crunch and twice as many nutrients as well as fiber.
Did you know that ...?
- Cucumbers are actually a fruit, just like tomatoes and avocados, and as part of the Cucurbitaceae, family, they share genes with squashes and melons
- The hundreds of cucumber varieties offer a rainbow of color as well as visual and flavor excitement
- Many cucumbers are grown for eating raw by themselves or in salads, while others are best if processed or preserved such as pickled
- Cucumbers have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits, and are a good source of minerals, including calcium
- For the most nutritional benefits don’t peel or seed the cucumbers before eating, since the peel and seeds contain twice as much Beta carotene and fiber as the pulp and the seeds contribute minerals and calcium.
- The claims that cucumbers contribute to cancer prevention have not yet been proven, however, since they already contribute so much to your pleasure and nutrition, why not eat them often anyway?
- The most common cucumbers found in this country are the garden cucumbers, Cucumis sativus; if you want to experience the flavor and color of the many varieties try planting your own
- The cucumber’s anti-inflammatory properties don’t end with their nutritional composition but extend to topical use:
- If you have swollen eyes, try placing a slice of cold cucumber on your eyes for a while. You’ll find their soothing effects will decrease swelling and inflammation.
- If you get a sunburn, place sliced cucumbers over the affected areas for a cooling effects.