While traditional cucumbers are long and green, they can come in a variety of colors, including white and orange. They also come in various sizes and shapes, including more rounded or oval.
Jedha's home grown cucumbers
While cucumber is botanically a fruit (seed-bearing ovary of a plant), from a nutrition standpoint, they function like a vegetable (not sweet and low in calories, carbs and sugar). Overall, there are 3 main types of cucumbers: slicing, pickling and seedless.
Cucumber Nutrition Facts
- Cucumbers are very low in calories (16 per cup) and carbohydrates (less than 4g per cup)
- Cucumbers are an excellent source of vitamin K and molybednum
- They are a decent source of several other B vitamins and minerals as well as silica
- Cucumbers contain several phytochemicals including flavonoids, lignans, and triterpenes
- Cucumbers have a very low glycemic index of 15
Cucumbers are low in calories and carbs so they make a great every day vegetable for type 2 diabetics.
CUCUMBER NUTRITION 1 x (8-1/4″) 301g
Calories: 45 | Total Fat: 0.3 g | Sat Fat: 0.1 g | Poly: 0.1 g | Mono: 0.1 g | Total Carbs: 10.9 g | Fiber: 1.5 g | Net Carbs: 9.4 g | Protein: 1.9 g
Calcium: 48 mg | Iron: 0.8 mg | Magnesium: 39 mg | Phosphorus: 72 mg | Potassium: 442 mg | Zinc: 0.6 mg
Vitamin C: 8.4 mg | Thiamin: 0.08 mg | Riboflavin: 0.09 mg | Niacin: 0.2 mg | Vit B6: 0.1 mg | Folate: 21 ug | Vit B12: 0 mg | Vit A: 15 IU | Vit E: 0.09 mg | Vit D: 0 IU | Vit K: 49.4 ug
Health Benefits of Cucumber
- Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting
- Components in cucumbers have been isolated and shown to produce anti-oxidant anti-inflammatory effects
- Silicia promotes healthy nails
- Phytochemicals in cucumbers have been shown to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer
Research on Cucumber Specific to T2 Diabetes
Cucumber may also be helpful in weight loss and prevention of liver disease.
While the exact mechanism is not known, the benefits likely come from a combination of inflammation-reducing phytonutrients and the high fiber/ low calorie profile. This has been shown in multiple rat studies, but not tested in human studies.
Points for Consideration
Most cucumbers sold in stores are coated with a wax. If organic, a non synthetic wax free of chemical contaminants is used, so if you do purchase conventional cucumbers, be sure to wash and scrub them well if you're not peeling them. Alternatively, you can grow your own or stake out a local farmer’s market.
Cucumber and Diabetes Conclusion
Because cucumbers are very low in calories, carbohydrates and sugar, and contain a lot of water and some fiber, they can fit very easily into a diabetic meal plan. Cucumbers are among the vegetables we recommend eating liberally.
Cucumbers are a great go-to vegetable for your everyday snacks or anytime you feel hungry.
Cucumber in the Kitchen
Cucumber selection will be somewhat based on what you plan on doing with them. Try to choose firm, deeply colored cucumbers without spots or blemishes.
Cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator crisper and used within a week of purchasing, though they will keep up to 10 days or so.
Cucumbers can be sliced for salads, used as “fresh vegetable chips” with dip, brined as pickles, used as “crackers” topped with salmon, tuna salad, or cheese.
A light cucumber salad can be made by lightly drizzling with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and spices.
Blended with tomatoes, green peppers and onions, cucumbers are a great add-in to gazpacho (chilled soup). Additionally, cucumber makes a great water infuser.
Due to their very high water content and tender structure, which breaks down easily, cucumbers are rarely cooked. They are best eaten raw and fresh.
You can choose to peel the cucumber if you like but that will reduce the fiber content.
Another fun option is to rake a fork length ways through the skin prior to slicing, which gives the slices a fancy appearance with little divots around the edges.
This video shows peeling, fancy slicing, julienne and dicing cucumber.
This video demonstrates slicing.
Here are a few fun cucumber recipes to try: