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Celebrate the Health Benefits of Cucumber

They add delicious crunch to salads, but how healthy are cucumbers, really? So-called superfoods may get all the press these days, but your humble cuke packs tremendous benefits, whether you eat them or applied them to your skin. Here's more on the health benefits of cucumber.

Cucumbers. Photo by Meredith

Photo by Meredith

The Health Benefits of Cucumbers

A cucumber is about 96 percent water, which puts it atop the list of high-water content vegetables, along with lettuce. That's a statistic to remember when working out, because research shows eating cucumbers after an intense exercise session may hydrate the body twice as effectively as plain water or sports drinks. Scientists attribute the phenomenon to the amino acids, natural sugars, and vitamins found in cucumbers.

Still, the most significant health benefit associated with water-logged vegetables pertains to weight control. One cup of cucumbers has just 15 calories, but it creates a feeling of fullness that drier vegetables can't match.

In addition to a low caloric count, cucumbers boast impressive levels of vitamin K of lignans, a phytonutrient associated with reducing cancer risk. Researchers also credit cucumbers with fighting inflammation. To wring all the nutritional value from a cucumber, make sure to eat the seeds and peel, which is high in fiber.

Get Cooking with Cucumbers

Maximize your cuke intake with these cucumber-heavy recipes.

Adrienne's Cucumber Salad

Here's a great way to prettify your salad with nutrient-packed cucumber peels.

Lemony Cucumbers

Lemon is an excellent partner for cucumber at spas and in side dishes.

Lemony Cucumbers. Photo by Lela

Photo by Lela

Cucumber Punch

A sweet way to get your cuke on.

Cucumber punch. Photo by SunnyByrd

Photo by SunnyByrd

Related: These cool cucumber salads are so hot right now.

Cucumbers for Cosmetic Use

Cucumber slices. Photo by Meredith

Photo by Meredith

As it turns out, cucumbers can also help you look great, thanks to the ascorbic acid and caffeic acid they contain. Placing cucumber slices over your eyes, an age-old Hollywood starlet trick, will alleviate puffiness and reduce the appearance of dark circles. When mixed with lemon juice, cucumber juice is a naturally great toner. Plus, cucumber's cooling qualities and pleasant fragrance are welcome when treating sunburns.

Browse our cucumber recipes and try sipping some cucumber water.


About Hanna Raskin

Not just a grits eater, but a one-time grits roller (a sport involving an inflatable tub and 27 cases of instant grits). Devoted to queso, chopped liver, Cuban toast, soft-shell crabs, and the roads that lead to them.