WHAT'S GROWIN' ON
IN LAKE & MENDOCINO COUNTIES


Seeds of Wisdom - Cucumbers

Happy Seeds of Wisdom Wednesday! The bounty of cucumbers in the gardens has us keen to learn more about what they have to offer.

Cucumbers are said to have originated in India, and historically, were an important produce in ancient civilizations, used as food and for skin care. They tend to grow well in temperate and tropical climates and quickly spread worldwide. Cucumbers were known to be a favorite of Louis XIV and were eventually brought to the U.S. by colonists. China produces the most cucumbers today, but the U.S. is in the top 6 producers.

The basic types of cucumbers tend to be slicer cucumbers or pickling cucumbers. If you’re used to the classic long green cucumbers, try something new and experiment with growing some yellow or white ones! Cucumbers don’t do well with the heat especially once harvested and will quickly wrinkle up, and they won’t last much longer than a week in the fridge. While you might be tempted to wash them right after harvesting to remove the waxing coating, it’s best to wash them only before eating since the waxy coating is a natural form of protection and will help keep them fresh.

Cucumbers are often underrated but are quite the powerhouse for vitamins and nutrients, including; biotin, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, silica, vitamin B1, C and K. The phytonutrients in cucumbers can significantly reduce inflammation and fight oxidative stress in the body, which will help prevent the development of various diseases.

The benefits of cucumbers for the skin are plentiful. The high water content in cucumbers – almost a cup of water in a medium cuke – is a great way to hydrate the body which is vital for skin health. They also offer a large amount of vitamin A which is also a key vitamin for healthy skin. Cucumbers can support the health of your connective tissues due to the silica they contain. Cucumbers, their juice and extracts of the produce are often used as topical skin treatment to help with issues like acne, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn and puffiness around the eyes. The Vitamin C and caffeic acid in the cucumber’s pulp offer anti-inflammatory benefits, so it’s a very soothing topical treatment.

Once again, the water content of cucumbers, paired with the high dose of fiber, proves beneficial as a way to prevent constipation as well as kidney stones.

Cucumbers are a great option for folks with diabetes since their glycemic index is zero and have been shown to be helpful in regulating blood sugar levels.

The cardiovascular system is supported by the antioxidants in cucumbers, and the fiber, magnesium and potassium in cucumbers contributes to healthy blood pressure.

Cucumbers contain lignans, which have been suggested to prevent cancers related to estrogen imbalances in the body. Some research is suggesting that curcubitacins, which are in cucumbers, could be helpful in fighting off cancer cell growth as well.

Vitamin K is the most abundant nutrient that cucumbers have to offer. In fact, you can get around 20% of the suggested daily amount of vitamin K by eating just one cup of this veggie. Vitamin K is proven to be vital for healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis and fractures.

These reasons should be enough to motivate you to increase your consumption of these powerhouses. Cucumbers are such a cooling treat when sliced up and eaten raw. They’re also commonly used in smoothies, juices, salads, summer soups, for pickling and more.

Cucumbers are high on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, meaning the risk of residue from pesticides is very high so be sure to buy or grow organic cucumbers if possible. If you need tips on organic gardening methods, get in touch with us!

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Sources:

  1. Health - 7 Health Benefits of Cucumbers by Cynthia Sass
  2. The World's Healthiest Foods - Cucumbers
  3. Organic Facts - 5 Wonderful Benefits of Cucumber by Meenakshi Nagdeve
  4. Medical News Today - How to Get the Health Benefits of Cucumber by Megan Ware

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