Cucumbers: Are They Fruits or Vegetables?
People often refer to cucumbers as vegetables however, they are actually classified as fruits. Scientifically, they should be referred to as fruits because they contain seeds therefore, if from a botanical point of view, they are technically fruits. In this article, we will elaborate on why they should be classed as fruits instead of vegetables.
Where Do Cucumbers Actually Originate From?
The scientific term for cucumbers is Cucumis Sativus, they come from the gourd family or Cucurbitaceae family of plants. They are the close cousins of watermelon, pumpkin and winter squash.
They originate from Southeast Asia but they are currently grown all over the world.
Why Are Cucumbers Classified as Fruits?
Often people refer to cucumbers as vegetables when actually they fruits. To understand why they should be considered fruits, we need to look at them from a scientific standpoint. The distinction is centered primarily on the botanical definition of a fruit.
Fruits come from flowering plants that contain seeds, they are formed from the ovary inside the flower. The seeds eventually become flowers and the seeds from the fruit can be re-planted to produce more fruits.
Despite the fact that cucumbers are technically fruits, mostly they are placed in the vegetable category instead.
Why Are Cucumbers Often Mistaken for Vegetables ?
People often mistake cucumbers for vegetables because of the flavor profile and their overall appearance. They are often used as an additional component to green leafy salads, side dishes for starchy meals and as healthy snacks to accompany savory dips.
Arguably, one could suggest that seedless cucumbers should be classified as vegetables because they do not have seeds however, by origin, they are still fruits. Seedless cucumbers came about because botanists discovered a way to grow certain fruits without seeds. The method is called parthenocarpy is a process that skips the pollination process allowing the cultivation of the fruit minus the seeds. This process occurs naturally in fruits such as pineapples and bananas.
Health Benefits of Cucumber
Here are some of the benefits of cucumber:
Cucumbers contain various nutrients such protein, fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and manganese. The majority of the nutrients in cucumbers are to be found in the skin therefore, if you want to experience the full benefits of consuming cucumbers, you should eat them without peeling the skin off.
Rich in Antioxidants
Cucumbers are rich in antioxidants which are vital for disease prevention and overall health and wellness. Antioxidants are important molecules that reduce oxidation and eradicate free radicals to reduce the risk of serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and degenerative eye disease.
Cucumbers are extremely hydrating, they contain more than 95% water making them a super food when it comes to body hydration. Keeping yourself hydrated is fundamental, dehydration causes water retention, high blood pressure, urine infections and various other issues that could lead to serious illness. Therefore, you should be consuming at least eight large glasses of water per day. You can enhance hydration by eating cucumbers and by making cucumber detox water. Simply add some clean, sliced cucumber to a fresh jug of water and sip on it throughout the day.
Weight loss is an inevitable bi-product of consuming plenty of cucumbers. Why? They are naturally low in calories firstly, a cup of cucumber contains only 16 calories. A medium sized whole cucumber contains just 45 calories, making them a great choice for healthy snacks, side dishes and as part of your every day meals.
They can also facilitate weight loss because they help to reduce water retention in the body. Water retention occurs when your body becomes dehydrated as a result of excess sodium and reduced potassium intake. Cucumbers contain potassium but they also help to flush out excess sodium thus, reducing water retention and bloating. Sometimes, you might look and feel heavier because of excess water retention. Get rid of it by drinking cucumber detox water, drinking more water in general and eating plenty of fresh, raw cucumbers on a daily basis.
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar levels is extremely dangerous especially for those with diabetes. Some animal studies have highlighted that consuming cucumbers could help to stabilize blood sugar. Therefore, if you have been diagnosed with high blood sugar levels, consume more cucumbers to facilitate blood sugar level reduction.
Cucumbers contain fiber and they are considered a high water content fruit. Both fiber and proper hydration can help to prevent constipation, promoting regular and healthy bowel movements which is vital for your overall health and wellness.
How to Include Cucumbers into Your Diet in a Healthy Way
Here are some healthy ideas to increase your cucumber intake:
Cucumber and dip
Slice some cucumber
Use hummus, guacamole or blended corn dip
Add to Salads
Add sliced cucumber to your regular main meal salads or side salads.
Make a quick and simple pickle by soaking your sliced cucumbers in organic apple cider vinegar. Leave soaked in a jar for about 12 hours, eat them as a snack, add them to salads, sandwiches or burgers.
Mini Cucumber Slides
Replace crackers and bread with cucumber and create mini cucumber slides. Fill your slides with whatever you want. For vegans, you can make a vegan tuna using the pulp from carrot juice, vegan mayo and dulse flakes. For non-vegans, add tuna flakes, mayo, scallions and whatever you feel like adding.
In conclusion, from a scientific perspective, cucumbers are classified as fruits. However, from a culinary perspective they are mostly seen as vegetables. Whatever the case may be, adding more cucumbers to your will boost your health and provide you with some of the health benefits mentioned in this article.