Cucumber is a powerhouse veggie. It is loaded with fiber and water but incredibly low in calories and sugar. Plus, the health benefits of cucumbers are far-reaching.
Eat or drink it for digestive health and wellness, whip up a cucumber mask and hydrate your skin, or leave cucumber rounds on your eyes to reduce puffiness.
However you slice it, cucumber is one of the best and easiest vegetables to work into your diet.
8 cucumber benefits
Here are 8 reasons to add more cucumber to your diet every day.
1. They’re hydrating.
If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated—and it’s time to replenish, according to Kathryn Boling, MD, a family medicine specialist with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. But if the thought of drinking yet another glass of water turns you off, it’s important to know cucumbers are an excellent substitute to increase your water intake.
“A cucumber has a water content of 95%, meaning you are taking in a lot of water with each one,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, an inclusive plant-based dietitian in Stamford, Connecticut, and owner of Plant Based with Amy. “This helps with hydration—which is important for so many body processes and can also help prevent headaches.”
2. They fill you up.
The key to being truly satisfied after a snack or meal? Eating foods with a combination of fiber and protein, both of which cucumber has in spades. Per Gorin, a half cup of cucumber gives you two grams of protein and two grams of fiber to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Dr. Boling agrees, adding that cucumber’s satiating power can even help you with weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. These low-calorie veggies help you fill up because they are packed with fluid and fiber (but not a bunch of other stuff, like fat, sodium, carbs, and sugar).
3. They are anti-inflammatory.
Cucumbers are chock full of antioxidants, like lignans, and minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, that Dr. Boling says can have anti-inflammatory effects on your body when you eat enough of them. Think beta carotene and flavonoids, both of which are powerful phytonutrients, i.e., good-for-you plant compounds.
In fact, cucumber’s anti-inflammatory processes may be so strong, some experts are exploring the role of cucurbitacins (chemical compounds found in the cucumber family) in reducing your risk of cancer cells, per a 2013 article in the International Journal of Health Sciences.
4. They can depuff your eyes.
In addition to providing anti-inflammatory effects inside your body when you eat them, Dr. Boling says you can soak up those effects on the outside, too. All those times you’ve seen someone put cucumber slices on their eyes at a spa on television weren’t just for visual effect: “Cucumber on the eyes actually does work,” Dr. Boling says. They can help with redness, puffiness, and irritability.”
5. They might increase your libido.
According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, cucumbers are an aphrodisiac; the vitamin C and manganese in these green veggies are known for increasing both your energy and your sex drive. Not only that, vitamin C can increase your circulation and blood flow, which can help men with erectile dysfunction.
Cucumbers contain a compound called L-citrulline, which has been linked (in a small 2011 study) to an improvement in erectile dysfunction symptoms in some men. They are also rich in vitamin A, which is important for your immune system as well as for the production of testosterone.
6. They can make your skin glow.
Similar to the benefits of putting cucumber on your eyes, Dr. Boling suggests making a DIY skin mask out of cucumber to rehydrate your skin with antioxidants and leave it looking younger and fresher. Some research suggests that cucumbers have cleansing properties that could be especially beneficial for the skin, and that it’s also a soothing, cooling antidote to summer sunburn.
7. They can regulate your digestion.
Yes, we’re talking a lot about hydration here, but that’s because few fruits and veggies have such a high water content as cucumbers—and every single part of our body relies on water, including our digestive system.
“Staying hydrated helps with the regularity of your bowel because more water means you won’t have to worry about constipation,” says Dr. Boling. “You need more fluids coming in when fluids are going out.”
Plus, all that fiber content in cucumbers also works wonders on your gut, adding bulk to your bowel movements and keeping them regular.
8. They are good for your blood sugar.
Cucumbers are super low in sugar and carbohydrates, meaning they have a low glycemic index and are safe for people with diabetes to eat without worrying about spikes in blood sugar. And while there haven’t really been any studies on humans regarding a connection between cucumbers and diabetes, several animal studies—like this one from 2011 and this one from 2014—suggest cucumbers may be able to lower blood sugar levels and possibly play a role in managing diabetes.