Are Cucumbers Good for Weight Loss

Organic Cucumbers

Losing weight is simply a matter of eating less and moving more. This creates a calorie deficit that forces your body to burn stored body fat for fuel.

However, while the concept of weight loss is simple, the practice is often quite different, and most dieters are constantly looking for a way to make the process easier. Some people go to great lengths to lose weight, sometimes falling foul of misinformation and myths.

According to one weight loss myth, certain foods, when you eat them, cause your body to burn more calories than you are ingesting. These so-called negative calorie foods are invariably included in many weight-loss diets and include lettuce, lemons, celery, and broccoli.

Sadly, there is no such thing as a negative calorie food, and there is no evidence to suggest that eating certain foods burns more calories than they contain.

However, some foods ARE so low in calories that they might as well be calorie-free!

Cucumbers contain just eight calories 50-gram serving, which is very, VERY low. That answers the question, “are cucumbers good for weight loss?”

However, cucumbers are more than just helpful weight-loss food. They’re also loaded with lots of beneficial nutrients, so they’re very good for your health too.

Are Cucumbers Good for Weight Loss

What Are Cucumbers?

Many people think cucumbers are vegetables when, in fact, they’re a type of fruit. Cucumbers come from the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes melon and squash.

Cucumbers grow on vine-like plants, and there are several different varieties, including Armenian, Japanese, Kirby, Persian, and wild cucumbers, all of which have similar nutritional profiles.

Cucumbers are usually eaten raw and, depending on the variety, can be consumed with or without their skin. They’re a common ingredient in salads, the British love cucumber sandwiches, and they can be blended to make a cold soup. Some people like to add sliced cucumber to water to make a refreshing, low-calorie drink.

Nutritional Information for Cucumbers

Woman cutting cucumber

Cucumbers are low in calories but are still extremely nutritious. As such, they’re a very useful weight-loss food.

One cup (140 grams/five ounces) of raw, chopped cucumber contains:

  • Water: 137 g
  • Calories: 17
  • Protein: 0.8 g
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Carbohydrate: 3.1 g
  • Sugar: 2.1 g
  • Fiber: 1.0 g

In addition, cucumbers contain beneficial amounts of the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Beta carotene
  • Vitamin K

Cucumbers also contain several antioxidants which help protect your body from harmful substances called free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with an unpaired electron in their outer shell. They cause damage at a cellular level and are linked to aging, cancer, and a host of other illnesses and ailments.

The Benefits of Eating Cucumbers

Cucumber slices in water

Cucumbers are high in water and fiber but low in calories.

This means they’re filling and could help you lose weight if you eat them instead of higher-calorie foods. Cucumbers also offer several notable health benefits:

Hydration

Cucumbers are mostly water, which is why they’re so low in calories. They also contain several important electrolytes, and eating cucumbers could replenish lost fluids and increase your hydration levels.

Cucumbers are one of the most hydrating foods, and eating them could prevent dehydration-related issues like kidney stones, constipation, and muscle cramps after a workout.

Healthier Bones

With their high vitamin D and calcium content, cucumbers are good for your bones. Vegetarians are often deficient in calcium because they don’t eat dairy foods. Cucumbers are a viable alternative to dairy calcium.

Cardiovascular Health

The fiber in cucumbers can help reduce your LDL cholesterol levels while raising good HDL cholesterol, both of which are linked to improved cardiovascular (heart and circulatory) health. The potassium in cucumbers could help relax your blood vessels and decrease blood pressure.

Reduced Risk of Cancer

Fruits in the Cucurbitaceae family contain a bitter-tasting nutrient called cucurbitacin. Cucurbitacin may help stop cancer cells from reproducing. The fiber in cucumbers also offers protection from colorectal cancer.

Control and Prevention of Diabetes

Cucumbers contain compounds that can help lower your blood glucose or stop it from rising too high. Cucurbitacin is linked to insulin regulation and sugar metabolism. The fiber in cucumbers is also helpful for regulating blood glucose.

Cucumbers are very low on the glycemic index, which means they digest slowly and release their carbohydrate payload gradually. This will also contribute to lower, more stable blood glucose.

Anti-Inflammatory

Inflammation (reddening, swelling) is linked to a host of medical conditions, including heart disease, autoimmune disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and cancer. Cucumbers have a marked anti-inflammatory effect.

Skincare

Skin care cucumber

A lot of beauty products contain cucumbers and cucumber extract. It’s cooling and ideal for sensitive skins. It also enhances hydration, preventing flaky, dry skin.

Cucumbers can also be used to treat sunburn, and putting cucumber slices on your eyes is a proven way to alleviate dark circles. Cucumber juice is a traditional treatment for acne and blackheads.

Downsides

Because they’re almost entirely water, cucumbers are safe for most people to eat. That said, there are a few downsides to consider before you add this refreshing fruit to your diet:

Digestive Upsets

With their high fiber content, some people find cucumbers hard to digest. If you experience gas or bloating after eating cucumbers, you should consume them in smaller quantities and consider trying different varieties to see if you tolerate them better.

Blood Clotting

Cucumbers are high in vitamin K. Vitamin K can cause an increase in blood clotting. This is not an issue for people with normal blood, but it could be problematic in people prone to clots. If you take anticoagulants such as warfarin, you should not start eating lots of cucumbers until you have spoken to your doctor.

Allergy

Cucumber allergy

Although very rare, some people are allergic to cucumbers.

Cucumber allergy suffers will probably also be allergic to squash, melon, and other members of the Cucurbitaceae family. The symptoms of a cucumber allergy include:

  • Swollen tongue and lips
  • Hives
  • Breathing problems
  • Nausea
  • Anaphylaxis

If you experience any sort of allergic reaction to cucumbers, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Toxicity

Some cucurbitacins are toxic. Avoid potentially serious problems by not eating the plants on which cucumbers grow and only eating varieties that are known to be edible. Everyday cucumbers are unlikely to cause a toxic reaction, but you could inadvertently eat a poisonous cucumber if you are out foraging.

Bottom Line

Cucumbers are very low in calories, which makes them helpful for weight loss. You can eat a lot of cucumbers without consuming a whole lot of calories, as most of their weight is made up of water.

Cucumbers are easy to prepare – just wash them and eat them! There is no need to peel most cucumbers, and they very rarely need cooking.

Despite their low-calorie content, cucumbers are packed full of beneficial nutrients and offer a range of health benefits.

Eating cucumbers could help ward off cancer and diabetes, are good for your bones and skin, and will help keep you hydrated. Cucumbers also contain meaningful amounts of fiber, so they’re good for your digestive system too.

Cucumbers are one of the least allergenic foods around and are well tolerated by most people. That’s hardly surprising, given that cucumbers are almost entirely made up of water. That said, eating too many cucumbers could cause stomach upsets, so don’t overeat this diet-friendly fruit.

There are many ways to enjoy low-calorie cucumbers, including sliced in salads, in sandwiches, as an alternative for high-calorie breadsticks with dips, in yogurt with curries, or in a chilled gazpacho soup. However you eat them, cucumbers could help you lose weight, and are good for you too.

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