Md Altaf Husain :
Cucumbers are scientifically known as Cucumis sativus and belong to the same botanical family as melons (including watermelon and cantaloupe) and squashes (including summer squash, winter squash, zucchini and pumpkin). Commercial production of cucumbers is usually divided into two types. "Slicing cucumbers" are produced for fresh consumption. "Pickling cucumbers" are produced for eventual processing into pickles. Slicing cucumbers are usually larger and have thicker skins, while pickling cucumbers are usually smaller and have thinner skins.
Cucumbers are extremely beneficial for overall health, especially during the summer since they are mostly made of water and important nutrients that are essential for the human body. The flesh of cucumbers is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid, while the hard skin is rich in fiber and a range of minerals including magnesium, molybdenum, and potassium. Additionally, cucumber contains silica, a trace mineral that contributes greatly to strengthening our connective tissues. They are known to heal many skin problems, under eye swelling, and sunburn. Cucumbers also contain ascorbic and caffeic acids which prevent water loss, therefore they are frequently applied topically to burns and dermatitis.
What is a Cucumber?
It is a widely cultivated crop that belongs to the gourd family. It is basically originated in South Asia, but is grown in other parts of the world as well. It is considered as the perfect food when it comes to keeping fit and healthy.
As it contains many essential nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese, Copper and Potassium, incorporating cucumbers in your daily diet can lead to excellent health benefits.
Extreme climatic conditions have left us dehydrated and exhausted, but this vegetable really helps to combat dehydration as it is 90 per cent water, which keep the body hydrated and flushes out many hazardous substances, providing some of the most essential nutrients your body needs.
You can easily juice cucumbers and add a mix of other vegetable such as carrots and beetroots to say hydrated and at the same time enhance your metabolism. Moreover, the seeds inside a cucumber contain magnesium, which is ideal for people who suffer from a deficiency of this nutrient. Consuming cucumbers with other fluid containing foods such as lime, avocado, celery, and fennel helps you to deal with stomach pain and abdominal tightening.
Health benefits of cucumbers
The health benefits of cucumber are not widely known in many cultures. The taste of fresh cucumber is somewhat bland in comparison to other squashes, but the thirst quenching and the cooling qualities of this squash are truly refreshing. Cucumber benefits range from preventing acidity to keeping skin well-toned.
Skin Care: Cucumber is rich in silica, which is an essential component that aids in developing strong and healthy connective tissues in the muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and bones. Doctors often recommend cucumber juice because of the silica content for a healthier and brighter skin. Cucumber’s high water content makes it naturally hydrating, and it is well known that moisture is the best friend to healthy skin, so why not acquire the hydration naturally! The extract of cucumbers is often used topically for treating various types of skin ailments like sunburn and swelling under the eyes. Ascorbic and caffeic acid are the two vital compounds in cucumbers that prevent water loss from the body. These are some of the reasons why cucumbers are applied topically for various skin problems. You will be quite surprised to know that this squash also promotes healthy hair growth and can treat skin ailments like psoriasis, eczema, and acne.
Prevent Constipation & Kidney Stones: Cucumbers are a perfect blend of both fiber and water. Therefore, they help to protect your body from constipation and kidney stones. Have a cucumber rich salad regularly as it is a great way to increase the fiber intake. Cucumber is also a good source of vitamin C, silica, potassium, and magnesium; all of which have their own health benefits. These fruits have an extraordinary amount of water (about 96 per cent) that is naturally purified, thus making the water content much higher in quality than ordinary water. Cucumber skin contains high levels of vitamin A, so you will gain more nutrition if you eat the entire thing.
Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: The ingredients in the cucumber play an important role in maintaining a healthy heart - with trace elements of potassium and magnesium; you can improve your body's neurological function along with keeping your blood pressure under control.
Cucumbers also contain lignin, which is referred to as an anti-inflammatory element that helps boost your immunity and reduces the occurrence of all the risks associated with cardiovascular disease.
Healthy Weight Management: Cucumbers are a useful supplement to reduce weight. You can enjoy your meals by adding it in your diet you can either eat it in your salad or mix it in yogurt or eat it whole - the point is it will help you lose weight faster.
Good for Your Eye Health: It moisturizes all the skin around your eyes as it contains 95 per cent water. Vitamin E plays a crucial role in improving your skin, enhancing collagen production, acting as a natural, anti-wrinkle agent. Moreover, eating cucumbers on a regular basis helps enhance your vision as it contains several anti-inflammatory and antioxidants that can help steer you clear of cataracts.
Hyperpigmentation forms dark circles around the skin of your eyes mainly due to restlessness, cucumbers are the best option for it. The antioxidant present in the cucumber eliminates skin irritation. As you know vitamin C in cucumbers lighten your skin tone, so you should incorporate cucumbers in your beauty routine as well. Alkalizes Your Blood: Keeping your body's pH level optimal can help eliminate free radical cells, which are acidic and cause symptoms associated with cancer. Drinking cucumber water on a daily basis can keep increase your body's alkalinity.
Treats Cancer: Cucumbers contain fisetin, caffeic acid, cucurbitacins, lutein, which have the capability to reduce cancerous symptoms at the early stages. The phytochemicals in the vegetable have strong anti-cancer properties including antioxidants, which eliminate the free radical cells and boost your immunity.
Eating it whole or juicing the vegetable can reduce the occurrence of breast, ovarian, prostate, uterine and lung cancer due to the presence of flavonoids such as fisetin and caffeic acid.
Combats Bad Breath: Placing cucumber slices in your mouth can help you to get rid of bad breath by eliminating bad-odor causing bacteria along with eliminating the formation of microbes, which can also lead to oral health complications and gum disease.
Anti Diabetic: Studies have found it effective against diabetes, and medical scientists recommend eating cucumber peels, which helps maintain an adequate blood sugar level. Plus, eating its peels can also reduce oxidative stress.
A hormone in cucumber helps the pancreas to utilize insulin that converts the carbohydrates into energy.
Maintains Adequate Blood Pressure: The rich amount of magnesium, fiber and potassium makes cucumbers useful in maintaining the right blood pressure - which should not be too high or too low. It also helps lowers the pressure in arteries and keeps them hydrated. This is one of the main reasons why cucumbers are recommended to people battling hypertension.
Stronger Bones, Nails and Teeth: Cucumber contains ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, both of which help strengthen your body's ligaments, cartilage, tendons and bones. The vegetable also contains silica in it, which helps in the formation of connective tissue, which helps strengthen weakened bones.
As it also contain protein, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B5, folic acid and silicon - you can pretty easily enhance your bone health.
Repair Hair: If dry and rough hair is your problem than try making some cucumber paste, mixing it with water. Then just gently massage the concoction on your head and you will gradually see the difference on your hair and scalp health. n
(Writer is the Chairman, Green Club, Manikganj)