Cucumbers are one of my most highly recommended vegetables, and if you have a garden, you can easily grow them at home.1,2,3 Aside from being able to control pesticide and fertilizer use, you’ll also avoid the wax applied to many commercially sold cucumbers. There are dozens of varieties that thrive in both cool and warm climates, although they can be a challenge to grow if temperatures are consistently in the mid-90s.
While made up of 90 to 95 percent water, cucumbers still manage to provide a host of valuable nutrients, including vitamins A, B5, C and K, along with manganese, potassium, magnesium, molybdenum, copper, silica and fiber. Cucumbers also contain lignans that bind with estrogen-related bacteria in the digestive tract, contributing to a reduced risk of several cancers, including breast, uterus, ovarian and prostate cancer.4
Other phytonutrients called cucurbitacins — part of a larger group known as triterpenes, and the part of the cucumber that gives it a bitter taste — also inhibit cancer cell development. Preliminary findings also suggest cucumbers have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.5
In traditional medicine, cucumbers are used to treat headaches. The seeds are diuretic, and the juice — thanks to caffeic acid and vitamin C — can be used as an acne treatment and a soothing remedy for tired, puffy eyes.