Whether you are a juicer, a smoothie blender, or simply a fan of raw vegetables, cucumbers should be a staple in your kitchen. These vegetables are often overlooked as a health food but are packed with potential benefits. The best cucumbers of all are those you grow yourself, but a close second are those grown locally and organically. Here are just a few reasons you’ll want to make sure you have a good source of cucumbers all the time.
- 1. Cucumbers contain high water content, aiding in natural hydration. This makes them an excellent addition to smoothies because you have to add less liquid. Inside this “water” are a host of beneficial compounds including those with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
- 2. Further adding to the health benefits of cucumbers, these vegetables may even be able to fight and prevent cancer. Numerous studies (pdf) have linked cucumbers with anti-cancer benefits. This is thought to be due to the presence of lignans including lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol, according to NaturalNews.
- 3. Because cucumbers are a good source of silica, they are good for joints and connective tissue. This paired with their anti-inflammatory properties make them a great choice for people who suffer from arthritis or aching joints.
- 4. Cucumbers also contain a hormone that helps regulate insulin, making the green veggie a good option for diabetics, whose pancreas doesn’t function to produce insulin normally.
A note on consumption:
Many people peel their cucumbers, and while there is nothing wrong with that, you may be missing out on many beneficial nutrients by discarding the peel. At issue is waxing. Food producers wax cucumbers to extend their shelf-life. If they are being shipped from a farm in California to a grocery store in NYC, for instance, the wax will help ensure they make it safely.
But especially in the case of non-organic cucumbers, this wax can be loaded with potentially harmful components. This is why it’s good to grow your own or buy local from someone you know isn’t waxing.
If you find organic cucumbers, they may still have wax, though the wax is organic and free from potentially harmful chemicals. Scrub your cucumber well and enjoy it unpeeled. If you have no choice but conventionally-grown and waxed cucumbers, scrubbing may not remove all of the wax. In this case, you may want to consider peeling off the outer layer to avoid ingesting the unknown coating on the outside.