The old adage goes that wisdom is knowing that tomatoes are a fruit, but they don’t belong in fruit salad. The same can be said for the cucumber, which, though a staple of spring salads and tea-party sandwiches, is actually identified as a fruit and not as vegetable. A member of the Curcubitaceae family, related to the squash and melon family that also incorporates the cucumber’s similar-looking relative, zucchini, these slender, smooth fruits are crisp, refreshing, and almost always eaten raw. Just about the only time you’ll find cucumbers cooked is in a small handful of Asian stir fry dishes, but they will often be pickled for a unique flavor that allows them to be used for the same purposes as ordinary cucumbers (namely, sandwich fillings and salads).
Cucumbers can vary wildly in size, shape, color and texture, just like the squash fruits to which they’re related. Usually found in your local grocery store with silky skin and a dark green hue, cucumbers can also have skins that are thick, rough, and even translucent. Short, long, slightly oval-shaped or even round like a watermelon, cucumbers also show off a diverse range of colors from white to yellow, and even orange-colored. But cucumbers are the secret superfood that you should really take more seriously, as they offer so much more than an added bit of crunch to your salad or some flavoring to your water pitchers. Here’s a breakdown of the health benefits of the humble cucumber and why you need to put more of it in your diet.
Cucumbers keep you hydrated
The most remarkable thing about cucumbers is their enormous water content: almost 95% of this solid, crunchy green fruit is comprised of water. This is what makes them a great addition to summer salad – each bite is like a mouthful of water – as well as a refreshing snack to be nibbled on in cool evenings or at lakeside picnics. But they are also an important way to keep hydrated, as the average adult needs at least 3 quarts of water every day, with one quarter of that (4 cups) most often sourced from food consumption.
The high water content of cucumbers makes them one of the most effective foodstuffs to promote bodily hydration, which is vital to many functions from metabolism efficiency to balance energy distribution across the body’s nervous and respiratory systems. With the key role played in regulating body temperature and the conversion of food into waste products, hydration is one of the body’s most important processes, which makes consistent water intake a key consideration within any healthy diet.
Another helpful bonus of cucumber’s hydrating properties is the sensation of fullness it provides for the person eating it, as it fills your belly at the same time as hydrating your body’s cells. This is an effective means of naturally suppressing appetite, preventing you from overeating and subsequent weight gain. Not only that, but cucumber also has a low energy density. What this means – with an entire cup of cucumber slices containing just 16 calories – is that the food consumed has fewer calories per gram of mass, allowing for fulfilling portion sizes while providing a reasonably low calory count.
Yet rather like the myth that eating celery burns more calories than those being consumed, eating cucumber is unlikely to transpire as the miracle cure for unhealthy weight gain. They should be supplemented with a varied diet, comprised of numerous vegetables and natural organic produce, as well as lots of whole grains, protein, and healthy fats. Cucumber can ultimately assist with weight loss, in that it prevents you from eating beyond your body’s nutritional needs, but it’s still up to you cut down on excessive consumption of salt, sugar, and fat. Which you’ll want to be doing, anyway, in order to promote good heart health – which is incidentally another key benefit of eating cucumber.
Cucumbers aid general health
One of the worst things for your heart, mostly due to the risk of stroke it imposes, is high blood pressure. This is where cucumbers really shine, as their high concentration of potassium has been linked to something called sodium-induced water retention, which allows for lowered risk of hypertension. Another bonus is that cucumbers can help curb the effects of diabetes, thanks to that high water content which keeps down cravings for foods with high sugar content, which is a key method of regulating insulin levels for those who suffer from diabetes.
On top of that, cucumbers have heaps of other health benefits: filled with potassium, magnesium, vitamin K (necessary for bloody clotting and skin regeneration), and vitamin C (great for getting rid of colds), cucumber is also a decent source of protein and fiber. It’s not surprising, then, that demand for cucumbers in the US is so high that more of it is imported – from Mexico, primarily – than is produced domestically. But that’s not to say there isn’t a lot of homegrown cucumber for American chefs to enjoy: around 50,000 acres of farmland in the US is dedicated to cucumber planting.
Hopefully by this point you’ll find yourself reconsidering just how much you’ve taken the cucumber for granted. It really has so much going for it and, as we’ve discovered, there are a lot of great reasons to put more of it in your diet – and now you can, thanks to Buffalo Market. Among our constantly rotating inventory of top-tier 100% fresh ingredients, sourced direct from independent farmers all across California, we are now offering wholesale crates of organic cucumber for just $38 (marked down from $49!). On top of this $11 discount, you can be safe in the knowledge that evert cent of your purchase goes direct to the farmer, as Buffalo Market nurtures long-lasting working relationships with small-scale producers and not middlemen.
Our deals are updated every day, giving you a fresh selection of high-quality natural ingredients for the very best prices. There are over 2,600 different items in our ever-growing inventory, so be sure to take a look at some of our unique recipe ideas to see how you can incorporate more of our better-tasting, market-quality ingredients into your meal plans this week. You’ll be amazed at the positive impact more nutritious food can make in your life.