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As the days get warmer, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated. With a water content of 96 percent, the cucumber is one of the most hydrating fruits you can add to your smoothie. They’re mild-flavored and low in calories, but they’re packed with plenty of nutrients to improve the look of your skin and help cleanse the body. New and exciting studies suggest that cucumbers may be capable of delivering even more health benefits, including reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, which gives us all the more reason to enjoy cucumbers on a regular basis.
Fiber-rich foods like cucumbers are also good sources of lignans, which are naturally-occurring plant compounds that can help regulate hormones and reduce inflammation. Cucumbers contain three types of lignans: lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol. Research shows that these lignans, also found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and potentially several types of cancer, including breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
Cucumbers also contain flavonoid antioxidants, such as quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol that work to eliminate harmful free radicals in your body. In animal studies, the flavonoids found in cucumber extracts have been shown to help reduce cell damage and increase overall antioxidant capacity to lower the risk of illnesses.
Ongoing lab studies are finding more nutrients in cucumbers that provide health benefits. These substances help scavenge free radicals, improve antioxidant status, and inhibit enzymes that cause inflammatory pain. Cucumbers contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese, as well as phytonutrients, like cucurbitacins that may provide anti-carcinogenic properties.
Research on cucumber’s link to cancer prevention are still active and ongoing, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying all of its other health benefits. Fresh and hydrating cucumbers can be used in just about everything from salads to smoothies to flavored waters. Enjoy them in a NutriBlast smoothie with a mix of your favorite fruits and veggies!
Jeannene Davis graduated from The University of Texas Houston Health Science Center with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics and followed the degree with a Certification in Adult Weight Management and Diabetes Education. She provides in-house support to physician offices and large scale support to corporations and small businesses to ensure their employees have the most current information about nutrition and wellness.
She's worked in hospitals, outpatient radiation clinics, gene therapy centers, and even insurance companies, focusing on health and wellness, diabetes, and herb and supplement education, as well as renal nutrition support to pre-dialysis, dialysis, and renal transplant patients for a variety of companies since 1993.