Cucumber (Cucumis sativa) is a widely cultivated plant of the cucurbitacea family (gourd family). Cucumber as it is commonly called is a fruit because it contains seeds and grows from the ovaries of flowering plant.
It contains about 96% of water; however, its other constituents though in trace amounts are beneficial to man’s health.
Its vitamin contents include Vitamin B3(niacin), B2(riboflavin), B1(thiamine), B5(panthothenic acid),B6(pyridoxine),B9(folic acid),C(ascorbic acid) and vitamin K.
Its mineral contents include calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, fluoride, biotin, molybdenum and silica.
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It also contains flavonoids which include apigenin, luteolin, fisetin, quercetin and kaempferol; lignans which include pinoresinol ,lariciresinol, secoisolariciresinol and terpenes which are curcurbitacin A,B,C and D.
These contents possessed by the cucumber fruit account for its benefits to man’s health in the following ways:
- ANTI-OXIDANT PROPERTY
It helps to get rid of free radicals found in the body system which are serious hazards to the cells of the body especially in high accumulated amounts. Its vitamin c and manganese content are markers for this quality of the cucumber fruit
2. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTY
By inhibiting the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes like COX-2; the cucumber fruit with its fisetin content (a flavonols) aids in making this possible
3. ANTI-CANCER PROPERTY
According to ‘The World’s Healthiest Foods’, lignans like those found in cucumber are taken hold of and converted to entero-lignans by the normal flora of the digestive tract (bacteria found in the digestive tract). These converted forms have been associated with helping to reduce the risk of cancers.
According to a research carried out by the American Association for Cancer Research; curcurbitacin B induces apoptosis by inhibition of JAK/STAT pathway and potentiates the anti-proliferative effect of gemcitabine, a drug used in cancer management. (Theonissen N.H and G.B Iwanski; April, 2009)
Ever wondered why cucumbers are a common sight in the spas?
Well its water content, caffeic acid and ascorbic acid content have a soothing effect as well as reduce swelling and alleviate sunburn pain. Its silicon content prevents dry hair and brittle nails.
5. BONE HEALTH
Many typical calcium supplements used in bone health often contain alongside with the calcium; magnesium and zinc. Well, our cucumber is not devoid of these three important minerals that are good supplement for bone strength. It also contains silica which is instrumental in collagen formation and facilitates the absorption of calcium.
Thus, the minerals synergistically help to reduce loss of bone density; a thing peculiar to older women.
Well, you have heard quite a lot about the cucumber fruit (not a vegetable as many of us think)
But before I run off, I would love to give you these two important pieces of advice.
- Eat the cucumber alongside with is green seed. Do not peel away as it contains as well as other important nutrients which you do not want to miss out from
- Always use a vegetable wash to get rid of the wax and other toxins.
It is time to run off. Do have an enjoyable week and stay tuned next week for more expository info.
Pulokk Mukherjee et al (2013) PHYTOCHEMICAL AND THERAPEUTIC POTENTIAL OF CUCUMBER
Volume 84;page 227-236 Www.sciencedirect.com
Chloe Thompson and Kathluen M.Z (2014), CUCUMBERS: 9 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW WebMD.COM