Cucumber and Diabetes: The Healthy Connection
Diabetes is a common problem among people. The most common symptom is persistently high blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should consume foods with a low glycemic index and low carb density. The glycemic index is a food rating system based on carbohydrates in foods. Your body breaks down the carbohydrates and helps them dissolve into the body’s blood sugar level. Therefore, it results in high blood sugar levels in the human body. There are many foods known to control diabetes, one of which is cucumber. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and is known for its digestive properties.
Cucumber is a non-starchy vegetable, making it harmless for people with diabetes. A study suggests that adding non-starchy vegetables to the diet effectively controls type 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes, you can eat cucumber as much as possible as it is low in carbohydrates. Low carb diet improves blood sugar and manages diabetes effectively.
Nutritional Composition of Cucumber
According to the USDA, the nutritional composition in 100 g of cucumbers is:
- Water: 94.7 g
- Energy: 14 kcal
- Protein: 0.48 g
- Total Lipid: 0.43 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.99 g
- Glucose: 0.63 g
- Fructose: 0.65 g
- Total Dietary Fibre: 1 g
- Potassium: 112 mg
- Sodium: 808 mg
- Iron: 0.23 mg
- Calcium: 54 mg
Benefits Of Adding Cucumber To Your Diabetes Diet
Rich in Antioxidants
Cucumbers are rich in vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Flavonoids. It makes it an antioxidant to prevent an oxidative reaction in your body. Your body’s cells release large amounts of electrons in an oxidation reaction. A study shows that the antioxidants present in vitamin C help reduce the complications of diabetes. Whereas vitamin E helps improve glycemic control in people with diabetes.
Cucumbers contain 95% water, which makes them highly hydrating. Water is responsible for the emission of harmful waste materials, transport of nutrients and thermal regulation. Therefore, consuming cucumbers can help you meet most of your fluid requirements.
Studies show that people with diabetes should drink plenty of fluids because they are at increased risk of dehydration due to polyurea in them. In addition, since high blood sugar levels reduce hydration, it is essential to replenish the necessary fluids in the body.
Regulate Bowel Movements
A study shows that people with diabetes are more likely to suffer from the problem of constipation. Diabetes damages the nerves of the intestines, causing issues with the movement of food in the stomach. Therefore, it is necessary to have regular bowel movements to cure it.
Cucumbers contain a moderate quantity of dietary fibre, which helps cure chronic constipation. The antioxidant properties of this vegetable helps in detoxifying your body. Fibre binds with faecal matter in the human body to increase the size and density of stools. Thus, fibre cleans the intestine and regulates bowel movements to prevent constipation.
Rich in Fibre
Fibre is suitable for a person with diabetes or people showing symptoms of diabetes. Since fibre regulates blood sugar levels and helps maintain good health, people with diabetes should get a good amount of fibre.
Cucumber contains fibre and sufficient amounts of water as constituents of its nutritional composition. They are also not energy-dense and contain minimal calories concerning their mass. According to a study, foods with high fibre help in managing diabetes.
Other Miscellaneous Benefits of Cucumber for Diabetes
According to various studies, triterpenes, which reduce blood sugar levels, can halt the formation of enzymes required to develop insulin resistance. They also help in the stabilisation of plasma glucose levels. Triterpenes are substances that are known to restore the imbalance in glucose metabolism. It also aids in curing diabetic disorders such as neuropathy, retinopathy, and nephropathy. Cucumbers also have a very low glycemic index and provide nutrition without too many calories. Therefore, this fruit proves to be a healthy and easy way to maintain nutrition and avoid sugars, especially for people with diabetes.
Cucumber Salad Recipe
As cucumber is a salad ingredient, here is a simple salad recipe that you can easily make with cucumber.
- Serving: 4 people
- Quantity: 1 full cup
- Preparation Time: 15 mins
- Calories: 70kcal
- Saturated Fat: 0.5g
- Cholesterol: 0g
- Sodium: 5g
- Total Carbohydrate: 4g
- Dietary Fibre: 1g
- Protein: 1g
- Potassium: 280mg
- Black Pepper: ⅛ tsp
- Red Wine Vinegar: 2 tbsp
- Cherry tomatoes: 10
- Large Cucumber: 300 g
- Olive Oil: 1½ tbsp
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Peel the cucumber and cut it into two halves.
- Slice the cucumber into large chunks.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Take a big size bowl to put the sliced cucumber and cherry tomatoes.
- Add a pinch of salt followed by black pepper.
- Add the measured amount of vinegar and olive oil.
- Whisk the ingredients together and garnish with freshly chopped coriander if you want.
These recipes are ideal for people with diabetes as all the ingredients effectively maintain the blood sugar level. In addition, these easy recipes contain essential nutrients and are also healthy to consume anytime to fulfil your appetite.
Quick and Easy Cucumber Pickle Recipe
Several interesting cucumber recipes can be nutritious and tasty as well. The quickest, easiest, and most famous is the cucumber pickle.
It serves 3-4 people. Here is a simple homemade recipe to rip the benefits of cucumber:
Cup: 250 ml
- Water: 1 cup
- Vinegar: ⅓ cup
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Sliced Garden Cucumber: 2 cups
- Onion: ½ cup
- Take a big bowl.
- Add water, vinegar and salt. Stir it with a large spoon until the salt dissolves completely.
- Add sliced garden cucumbers and onions to the brine.
- Make sure everything is entirely soaked in the brine. Otherwise, you need to make more brine.
- Taste the mixture and add ingredients as per your need.
- Transfer the mixture to a big jar to refrigerate it overnight. The flavour comes gradually.
- White vinegar is the traditional vinegar used to make cucumber pickle.
- The outer layer of cucumbers can get less crisp as time goes by.
- You can use the brine more than once, and for that, you have to add more cucumbers.
Potential Risks Involved with Consuming Cucumbers
Cucumber has many benefits, although there are also some risks involved that a person who has diabetes should look after.
May Cause Indigestion or Slow Digestion
Cucumbers are rich in triterpenes or cucurbitacins, making them highly toxic and may cause harmful reactions in some people. Cucurbitacins are mostly multiplex compounds found in plants. If you consume cucumber in excess, poor digestion, allergies or blood clotting problems may occur. In addition, consuming excessive cucumber slows down the digestion process and can lead to indigestion.
Excess to Vitamin K is Harmful
According to a recent study, vitamin K in cucumbers has anti-hemorrhagic properties. However, it causes blood clotting in the brain and other bone and vascular diseases if taken in massive amounts.
Excess Cucumber can Cause Allergy
If you are allergic to cucumber, swelling or hives around your mouth, throat, and tongue can occur. Itchy skin is another problem you may experience if you have allergies to cucumbers. However, you can try to cook it, which will remove the risk of allergies.
Cucumber is nutritious and contains vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. In addition, cucumber has a low calorie and low glycemic index, and it increases metabolism and maintains osmoregulation. Thus it is suitable for people with diabetes.
Cucumber, rich in antioxidant properties, helps reduce many health risks. It is an excellent addition to your diet to control your blood sugar levels and indigestion. Thus people with diabetes can consume this fruit without any problem. It also helps in hydrating the body. You can include it in your daily diet to see its benefits. But do not consume it in excess, or it will lead to blood clotting. If you are allergic to cucumber, it is better to avoid it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Can cucumbers lower blood sugar levels?
A. According to research, cucumbers contain cucurbitacins, which are known to lower blood sugar levels by improving glucose metabolism and inhibiting the enzymes that promote insulin resistance. As a result, they stabilise blood sugar levels and also aid in curing diabetic neuropathy, retinopathy, and nephropathy.
Q. How does cucumber cure diabetes?
A. Cucurbitacin present in cucumbers makes them a cure for diabetes. This vegetable cures insulin resistance in the human body. Eventually, it lowers blood sugar levels and stabilises glucose metabolism.
Q. Do cucumbers spike blood sugar levels?
A. Cucumbers are not known to spike blood sugar levels due to the minimal amounts of sugar and low-calorie count. In addition, they are not energy dense and have a low glycemic index and a high percentage of water. These properties make cucumber a good option for minimising their sugar intake.
Q. How many cucumbers should I eat in a day?
A. There is no specified amount of cucumber that you should consume daily. Nevertheless, you should not eat more than 400 grams of cucumber daily to avoid any unusual side effects of over-consumption.
Q. Is cucumber good for kidneys?
A. Patients suffering from any kidney disease must increase hydration and the number of minerals they consume. Cucumbers contain various minerals such as sodium and potassium required for efficient osmoregulation. Osmoregulation balances the body fluid and the elements dissolved into it. They also have a high percentage of water and can thus be considered to be good for the kidneys.
Q. Which vegetables should be avoided in diabetes?
A. People who have diabetes are advised to avoid vegetables that contain a lot of starch, carbohydrates, lipids, etc., or have a high glycemic index. Vegetables such as white potatoes, butternut squash, green peas, corn, etc., are considered to have a more significant amount of carbohydrates and are thus, not made for consumption by people with diabetes.
Q. Should you peel cucumbers?
A. Cucumber peels contain many minerals and vitamins, and ideally, you should consume them. But these days, cucumbers have been known to become covered with wax and pesticide residue after chemical treatment. Thus, they should be washed and then peeled. If you want to consume the peel, buy organic cucumbers and wash them before eating.
Q. What will happen if I eat cucumber every day?
A. Adding cucumbers to your daily diet is a very healthy habit due to the multiple benefits. But, over-consumption of vegetables proves to be risky. You can consume one full-sized cucumber or two mid-sized cucumbers in 1 day. However, too many cucumbers can lead to fluid loss, cucurbitacin toxicity, and digestive issues.
Q. What is the best time to eat cucumber?
A. There is no specific time when you should consume cucumbers. However, a few options will help you get the maximum benefits from the vegetable. Consuming cucumbers after dinner can help digestion due to the dietary fibres, and you can also eat them between breakfast and lunch.
Q. What colour is urine if your kidneys are failing?
A. If your kidneys are failing, there will be a buildup and accumulation of toxic substances and poisonous wastes. In this case, the urine may be a darker colour than usual. It can also be very yellow or brown. And you may also experience bloody urine. However, this is because defective kidneys leak blood into your bladder, which can be due to infection, stones, or tumours.
Q. What lowers blood sugar quickly?
A. In the case of a person with diabetes, regular spikes in blood sugar levels are common but dangerous. If your blood sugar levels are abnormally high, take your prescribed insulin dosage. It should cause them to the dropdown. You may also exercise and bring about exertion, increasing your body’s demand for glucose. Eventually, that will lower blood glucose levels by making the body more sensitive to insulin.