Doctor Murad tells all.
Studies indicate that cucumbers have numerous benefits internally, externally and even emotionally. Doctor Murad recently wrote a paper to share the findings on this incredible fruit (Cucumbers are not vegetables) and has given us a few takeaways for skin health and emotional care.
As a food, cucumbers offer superior hydration, as they are about 95% water. Cucumbers have long been associated with the spa world and topical skin treatments. When you think of cucumber slices placed gently over the eyes, they are doing far more than just having a cooling effect on the skin. Cucumber slices offer many benefits to both the eyes and surrounding tissues through their hydrating properties, which work to reduce dehydration by their high levels of vitamin K that help to reduce dark circles, and the lignans they contain reduce inflammation. Additionally, cucumbers have been uses to treat wrinkles, sunburns and have been used as a moisturizer and skin brightener. The benefits of cucumbers are not just relegated to topical treatment. In fact, abundant research has shown what can happen when the fruit is consumed.
Cucumbers are related to melons and are a relatively low-calorie food at just 15 calories per cup. They contain high levels of powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. With such a high level of water content and the added bonus of naturally occurring nutrients and trace minerals, cucumbers could be great supplements to drinking water or even serve as an alternative to consumer sports drinks. As I always say, the best way to replenish the body and quench thirst is to by consuming water through foods. Choosing foods with a high water content and offers the cells in our bodies, the much-needed hydration they require for basic everyday functioning as well as the vital nutrients to repair and strengthen the cell walls. Studies now suggest that cucumbers don’t solely hydrate, they provide added elements that your body needs to fortify and regenerate itself. Researchers also identified that cucumbers could act as free radical scavengers (which help against skin damage) and could also potentially act as a SPF (value of 0.2). Studies show that cucumber extract may decrease melanin and sebum, resulting in skin whitening and anti-acne effects. How exactly the cucumber does this, is not clearly understood, as yet but, the cucumber holds an exciting future in skincare.
Cucumbers also have benefits when it comes to emotional care. Stress is a threat that is commonly recognized to have devastating effects on our health and wellbeing. Chronic stress resulting from environmental sources or Cultural Stress (link to cultural stress articles) can lead to cell damage, one such example is inflammation. When you have damaged cells, you also have more dehydrated cells (which can result in significant aging and illness). Addressing water loss and inflammation with cucumber consumption could be an effective way to lower stress and fight against the aging process.
So next time you reach for that fridge snack or are writing your shopping list, make sure that cucumbers take top place.
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Extracts were taken from “Evaluating the potential benefits of cucumbers for improved health and skin care” – H. Murad, M.A nyc