The benefits of eating cucumber range from supporting digestion to providing hydration. Learn about other benefits of cucumber and pick up new cucumber recipes to try.
Equal parts crispy and cool, the cucumber is one of the most delicious veggies you can eat. But beyond its crunch and flavor, the summer favorite is great for your body too. It offers antioxidants, vitamins, and even some fiber, resulting in an impressive list of health benefits.
Intrigued? Read on to learn about the benefits of eating cucumber, plus recipe ideas for enjoying the food.
First, one fact that’ll have you questioning everything: Cucumbers are not vegetables. They’re actually fruits — berries, in fact — according to Colorado State University. In botany, a berry is a single fruit with a fleshy pulp and seeds, as noted by an article in the journal Antioxidants. Since the cucumber fits this definition, it’s categorized as a fruit. However, since it’s often eaten like a veggie (think: in salads or sandwiches), this article will call it a “vegetable” from here on out.
Native to India, the cucumber grows on a vining plant and thrives in warm weather. It’s part of the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and summer squash, e.g., zucchini, according to an article in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Depending on the variety, cucumbers can range in size and color (from yellow-green to dark green), though the most common type in the U.S. is called the garden or slicing cucumber, according to Purdue University. This variety — which is dark green, long, and cylindrical — is probably what comes to mind when you think of cucumbers.
There’s a lot to love about the humble cucumber’s nutrition facts. The veg offers essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin K, and fiber, the latter of which is found mostly in the peel, according to Paula Doebrich, M.P.H, R.D.N., registered dietitian and founder of Happea Nutrition. Even the seeds (which are also edible) have benefits, as they offer digestive-friendly fiber and beta-carotene, says Doebrich. ICYDK, beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A (i.e., your body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A), which boasts antioxidant properties.
On that note, the entire cucumber is teeming with antioxidants called flavonoids. This includes compounds such as quercetin and kaempferol, according to an article in the Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research. Several cucumber health benefits relate to the food’s antioxidant content.
Here’s the nutritional profile for one raw, 301-gram cucumber, according to the United States Department of Agriculture: