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Article: Digging into the health benefits of cucumbers - What research says

Digging into the health benefits of cucumbers  - What research says

Digging into the health benefits of cucumbers - What research says

Most of us have heard about ‘superfoods’ - specific fruits and vegetables that are praised in the media for their exceptional health benefits. Very often, they’re the trendy thing to eat – like kale, quinoa and acai berries.  Well, we’re turning the spotlight on an unsung hero that’s found year-round in your local supermarket - the humble cucumber.

You might think that cucumber’s main health role is as a treatment for tired eyes, but this is just scratching the surface of cucumber benefits. By the time you’ve finished this article, there’s a good chance you’ll look at cucumbers differently.

Research has shown that this versatile fruit (yes, fruit!) has many positive effects when eaten and used as a skincare ingredient.

Cucumber for nutrients

We all know that fruits and vegetables provide key minerals and vitamins to help with optimum body function. In the case of the cucumber, here’s what you’re getting:

  • - Cucumbers contain high levels of lignans - polyphenols that help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol - as well as vitamin K, cucurbitacins and their derivatives (triterpenoids), flavonoids, antioxidants (such as beta carotene and vitamin C) and B vitamins. All of these are important nutrients, so go heavy on the cucumber next time you make a salad (check out our recipe below!).
  • - Epidemiological and nutritional studies also indicate that consuming water as food is the best way to hydrate. Cucumbers are 95% water, so they’re a great way to get some H20 on board.

Cucumber to neutralise acidity

Foods high in acidity can cause cell dehydration and damage that can affect immunity.  By consuming low-acid and alkaline foods, such as cucumber, you can help cells and connective tissue to retain water, which may help your body protect itself from diseases that involve the immune system.

Having a good pH balance in your body is important.  If your body is always trying to balance the blood pH level in your body, it can put stress on your system that may lead to ailments like heart disease and bone weakening. The antioxidants and minerals found in cucumbers are known to assist with these issues.

Cucumber to ease tummy troubles

If you have an upset stomach, try nibbling on some cucumber. The lignans in the cucumber can help soothe an inflammatory response in your stomach. Also, if you tend to get constipated, cucumber’s high water content paired with the insoluble fibre in the skin can help food move faster through your digestive tract, helping you avoid getting blocked up.

Cucumber for healthy skin

It’s fairly common knowledge that cucumber has a wonderful cooling effect on skin, but it also has excellent skin hydrating properties. This is because the carbohydrates in cucumber form a protective gel-like layer on the skin, which helps to retain moisture. Cucumbers also reduce dark circles and inflammation with the help of vitamin K and lignans. These properties make cucumber useful for treating sunburn and wrinkles. Additionally, some research indicates that cucumbers have photo-protective activities and provide a small-but-useful SPF value.

More recent investigations also concluded that topical creams containing cucumber extract can produce a significant decrease in sebum production and melanin, resulting in a reduction in hyperpigmentation and acne. Cucumbers also contain vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to help prevent premature ageing.

Cucumber for stress and ageing

As well as affecting mental health, stress can manifest into physical symptoms, including inflammation and oxidative stress. These can cause collagen and elastin break-down, which may result in premature ageing of your skin.  Studies indicate there is a link between the cell-breakdown and dehydration caused by stress. Ongoing research could find that, with its superior hydrating properties and cell fortification, consuming cucumber could assist with lowering stress levels and combatting early signs of ageing.

If you don’t already buy cucumber regularly, put it on your shopping list. Better yet, grow your own at home this summer. Also keep an eye out for products with our lean, green friend as an ingredient, such as our Cucumber + Lettuce Toner, made with only seven natural ingredients. It leaves your skin hydrated and replenished, and helps to maintain a balanced pH level.

Cucumber is delicious!

To finish, here’s a quick cucumber salad recipe you’re going to love this summer:

  • - Finely slice and dice a whole cucumber.
  • - De-seed and finely chop two red chillies.
  • - Finely slice and chop two kaffir lime leaves (or use the zest of one lime)
  • - Finely slice one spring onion.
  • - Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a splash of sushi vinegar and a drizzle of sesame oil to taste.

 

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