7 Secret Side Effects of Eating Cucumbers, Says Science

It’s summer, which means it’s the perfect time to pick the cucumbers you grow in your garden or pick out the perfect cucumbers from the grocery store shelves. Either way is fine, but you’re likely hearing a lot about the favorite salad item and controversial superfood right now.

While crunching on a cucumber in your salad or dipped in hummus, there are many health benefits associated with eating cucumbers that you may not even realize. However, there are some other side effects that you should be more careful about, especially if you have stomach problems. Here’s what you need to know.

1

It can lower blood pressure.

A 2017 study showed a decrease in blood pressure after drinking cucumber juice. Although the sample size was small — only 20 participants age 60 or older with high blood pressure — the findings were very favorable for cucumber. Participants drank one cucumber mixed with water twice a day for seven days. The study showed a “significant effect” of cucumber juice on lowering blood pressure in the age group. Although cucumbers aren’t traditionally included in smoothies, that might be a reason to make cucumber juice today. Cheers!

2

It can help prevent diabetes.

cucumber salad

cucumber salad

When trying to avoid diabetes, it’s best to start fine-tuning your diet — avoid highly processed carbs, skip sugary drinks and limit red meat, according to Harvard Health. In addition to these dietary choices, it’s also important to start eating more low glycemic index (GI) foods. GI is a number assigned to various foods, ranging from zero to 100. The higher the glycemic index of a given number, the more a person’s blood sugar will rise after consuming it. Cucumbers have a glycemic index of 15, making them a relatively low-index food.

Eating low-GI foods can help reduce insulin resistance, which in turn helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to Journal of nutrition.

3

You’ll be more hydrated.

cucumber and tomato salad

cucumber and tomato salad

Thinking of investing in a 64oz water bottle? Forget about it. All you need to get more hydrated is to eat some cucumber slices and you’re good to go. Well, maybe you should still pick up the water bottle and keep drinking water, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that cucumbers are a source of hydration.

According to a study of the French and British population published by nutrients, cucumbers are more than 95% water – which means that in addition to the crunchy snack, you’re also hydrating yourself in the process of eating cucumbers.

“They can help contribute to your total daily fluid intake and keep you hydrated and your body functioning optimally,” says registered dietitian and board-certified nutritional nutrition clinician Christine Gillespie.

4

You can lose weight.

cucumber hummus

cucumber hummus

There are several routes that people looking to lose weight take when it comes to making adjustments to their diet. One step to take is adding cucumbers, not only because they offer great crunch in a variety of dishes, but also because they are a healthy food that helps promote weight loss.

There are only 16 calories in one cup of cucumbers, which means the food has a low energy density. According to a nutrients A study focusing on the energy density of food found a link between eating foods with lower energy density and weight loss.

Also, because of their high water content, cucumbers are extremely filling while remaining low in calories, making them a great snack for anyone looking to lose weight. Especially if you pair them with a filling healthy dip like hummus or guacamole!

5

You will avoid constipation.

cucumber in a bowl

cucumber in a bowl

With all the water and fiber you find in cucumbers, is it any wonder they help prevent constipation? In a study published in Phytotherapy of Jadavapur University, cucumber seeds, of which there are many, are said to help “prevent constipation.” They also have a “cooling effect” on the body, according to the study.

The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine recommends adding cucumbers to a variety of meals to relieve constipation.

6

You might be gassy.

Israeli salad

Israeli salad

While the upside of eating cucumbers is that you can avoid constipation, the downside is that cucumbers can also lead to excess gas.

According to UC Davis, cucumbers contain cucurbitacin, a compound found in other fruits and vegetables, including pumpkin, squash and watermelon. Cucurbitacin leads to the bitter taste found in cucumbers and is also a cause of gas and indigestion. These unpleasant symptoms can occur if you eat too many cucumbers at once.

7

It can prevent bloating.

cucumber slices

cucumber slices

With their high water content, cucumbers are amazing at keeping you hydrated, but they’re also great at helping you get rid of excess water retention, meaning you’ll avoid bloating after eating cucumbers.

“Cucumbers are rich in specific nutrients that help eliminate water retention, inflammation, and ultimately bloating,” says nutritionist Lisa Richards, author of The Candida Diet.

Richards says they’re also good for a host of other stomach problems.

“Their fiber content promotes good gut health and bowel movements,” says Richards.

A previous version of this article was originally published on August 10, 2021.

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