Cucumber is one of the most versatile crops out there. Though prepared and eaten as a vegetable, cucumber is, botanically speaking, really a fruit. In South Asia where it is believed to have originated, cucumber is eaten raw or as naturally fermented pickles, or cooked as part of a traditional thick legume stew made from peas, lentils or beans. In the United States, cucumber is incorporated in practically all types of food preparations – from garnishing, to salads, to sandwiches, to dips. Though grown locally and available throughout the year, eating cucumber in reasonable amounts is still advised.
Continue reading and discover more about the pros and cons of cucumber and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this vegetable.
Including cucumber in your diet may prove useful in terms of preventing disease. In a study published on the Journal of Young Pharmacists, in vitro studies were conducted and it was found that the tannins and flavonoids in cucumber act as antioxidants that scavenge and destroy free radicals. In this same study, it was found too that cucumber provides pain-relieving properties. Rats given cucumber extract were able to withstand longer having their tails submerged in hot water as compared to those not administered the extract. Induced visceral pain by injection of acetic acid was done on laboratory rats as well and those given cucumber extract writhed less, further confirming cucumber’s analgesic function.
Cucumber has long been known as a natural beauty product as well, with fresh cucumber slices used to minimize puffy eyes, or rubbed on cellulite to achieve a tighter appearance of the skin. And a 2011 study may have just found the answer. As it turns out, the high vitamin C content of cucumber is the one responsible for this, and eating or applying cucumber topically like you would beauty products both have positive effects.
Like other plants, cucumber too has compounds it has developed to defend against diseases. For instance, it has the naturally occurring wood alcohol called methanol. This crude methanol found in the stems of cucumber plants has been found in a China-based study to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, and cucumber may just provide alternative therapeutic approaches to treating bacteria- and fungi-induced illnesses in humans.
Cucumber has cucurbitacin, too, a biochemical compound that functions as a poison to drive away plant-eating animals. Cucurbitacin has been found in a University of California study to have cancer-preventive properties by inhibiting the spread of human pancreatic cancer cells as well as inducing death of said cells.
Cucumber ranks nine in the fifty fruits and vegetables tested for pesticide residue, this according to the Environmental Working Group. This makes choosing organically grown cucumber a must to ensure you and your family don’t get unnecessarily exposed to the harmful effects of petrochemicals.
Cucumber has been in the news, too, as it was claimed that it was the source of severe E. coli infection that caused multiple deaths. It is crucial to note that improper handling, and utilization of animal manure as fertilizer, may be the culprits. This being said, make sure to find reputable organic sources, growers who use only properly composted animal manure as fertilizer.
Cucumbers, much like apples, are waxed to minimize bruising as well. Wax used on non-organic cucumbers are chemical-based, and so choosing organically grown ones is crucial as you can be assured the wax utilized is biodegradable and free from chemical contaminants.
Cucumber’s Practical Uses:
It goes without saying that choosing cucumbers without breaks in the skin and washing them thoroughly prior to eating should be done always. Utilizing a bristle brush, especially if the cucumbers are non-organic, is also recommended as doing so will help remove the wax and other contaminants during washing. Also, the nutrients are profuse in the skin and seeds of the cucumber so you may want to eat these parts to maximize its healthful goodness.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of squash and how to moderately use it in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the vegetables on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• Bok Choy
Also avoid if autoimmune disease or nightshade sensitivity:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of cucumber, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the pros and cons of cucumber.