Whether you’re a veteran of keto or just getting started, you’ve likely noticed that your selection of vegetables has shrunk dramatically. That’s because most of your greens have a medium to high level of carbs.

But what about cucumbers?

They’re a light and refreshing snack, perfect for snacking on and pairing with a keto-friendly dip, but how keto-friendly are they, exactly?

In this article, we’re going to dive into the world of cucumbers and why they are an excellent, low-carb snack you should be including in your diet, what’s in them, their biggest health benefits, and more interesting facts!

So, Are Cucumbers Keto?

The short answer is that yes, you can eat cucumbers on a keto diet! Even though they do contain some carbs, it’s not enough to have an impact on your diet. In fact, they’re one of the lowest carb vegetables around, with tons of health benefits packed inside.

Their natural crunch and mild flavor make them an easy addition to your favorite recipes. They go great with salads, snacks, nut butter, pasta, and wraps, and can even be added to a glass of water to make a detox drink.

Let’s Talk Carbs

Half a cup of cucumber, with the peel, only contains about 2 grams of carbs. This makes them a safe snack for the cautious keto dieter. However, cucumbers aren’t just low in carbs. That same half a cup of cucumber only has eight calories (none from fat), 1 milligram of sodium, and zero sugars.

While cucumbers aren’t rich in vitamins and minerals, they do contain small amounts of calcium, iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Similar to eating lettuce or celery, the primary benefit you’ll get from snacking on cucumbers is a satisfied stomach and a clear conscious.

However, there are long term benefits for those who make cucumbers a regular part of their diet.

Let’s take a look!

Benefits Of Eating Cucumbers On A Keto Diet

Hydration

Cucumbers are 95% water [1], making them an excellent source of hydration. Alongside lettuce, they’re the most hydrating veggie around. Adding a cucumber to your salad or snacking on a few during the summer time will keep you feeling fresh and alert.

Before you head out to the gym, consider packing a cucumber in your gym bag. While it may seem a little strange, they make a great post-workout snack. This is due to their high water and electrolyte content. You could even add a few slices to your water bottle, helping you recover from workouts even faster.

Remember, water is essential in how our bodies operate and plays a vital role [2]. Additionally, staying properly hydrated can help keep you regular [3] and prevent constipation since they contain fiber.

Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Studies have shown that eating more cucumbers could help bring down blood sugar levels which can benefit our bodies in a variety of ways, including the prevention of diabetes, a condition that 12-14% of US adults have [4].

In one study conducted on animals, different plants effect on blood sugar levels were examined, including cucumbers. The study showed cucumbers were able to effectively decrease and regulate blood sugar levels [5].

Antioxidants

Another great benefit of cucumbers is that they are packed with antioxidants6. Vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, flavonoids, triterpenes, and lignans all help to remove free radicals and keep your system in tip-top shape [7].

Vitamin C, in particular, is an essential part of a healthy diet. Not only does its antioxidant properties help fight chronic disease and cancer, but it can give a big boost to your immune system.

Many of the antioxidants also reduce inflammation throughout the body. Too much inflammation throughout the body can lead to serious health conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and arthritis [8].

Skin Health

Everyone has seen the stock images of the couple at a spa, relaxing in peace, with cucumbers slices laid over their eyes. What you may not have realized is that cucumbers actually have a host of benefits for your skin’s health.

The natural anti-inflammatory properties of cucumbers make them an effective and organic way to reduce inflammation on your skin’s surface. This includes things like acne, morning puffiness, and even sunburns.

High vegetable intake is an essential part of a healthy complexion. Their nutrient-dense nature and healing properties help bring out the best in your skin.

Heart Health

Fruits and vegetables play a vital role in keeping your heart healthy, and cucumbers are no exception. There is an abundance of studies linking cucumber consumption and low blood pressure.

Cucumbers help to reduce hypertension (high blood pressure) by widening the blood vessels. Long-term hypertension is one of the leading causes of heart failure, strokes, kidney disease, and dementia, so keeping it in check it vitally important.

While they don’t have as much potassium as bananas, a single cucumber can contribute to 4% of your daily potassium intake.

A healthy amount of potassium can reduce your chance of developing cardiovascular disease [9]. Potassium helps keep the sodium in our bodies in check—too much sodium plays a big part in leading to high blood pressure.

Bone Health

Another important vitamin in cucumbers is Vitamin K. Vitamin K is a primary aspect of healthy bones, and one cup of unpeeled cucumbers contains 19% of your daily intake.

Vitamin K is used by your body during bone development, particularly in women. Individuals who have a lower Vitamin K intake will also have a decreased bone density, increasing your chances of a bone fracture. Bone health is important for just about everyone, but especially as you age. Both men and women have increased odds of bone fractures as they age.

Increasing your Vitamin K intake through veggies like cucumbers is a great way to encourage bone strength.

Best Ways To Eat Cucumbers On A Keto Diet

There are a ton of different types of cucumbers, as well as a bunch of different ways to eat them. There’s no need to get lost in deciding which kind to go with since they will all carry the same keto-friendly health benefits.

Cucumbers are typically sold in two general varieties:

  1. pickling cucumbers
  2. slicing cucumbers

You can most likely guess which the first is for (Hint: Making pickles). The second is the one you’ll usually find in the produce section. It has a slightly thicker skin and is larger in size.

While most vegetables are delicious raw or cooked, cucumbers are usually best raw. You can cut them into slices and eat them like chips, throw them on a salad, and add them to a glass of water. If you’re feeling adventurous, they can even be used in more complex dishes, like sushi, gazpacho, and raita. Since they are pretty mild in flavor, you can add cucumbers to a variety of dishes or salads to give a nice crunch to your meal.

Can You Eat Pickles On A Keto Diet?

Pickles are perfect for keto. They’re full of nutrients, and pickle juice makes for an extremely health-friendly drink. When you’re picking pickles out, however, you need to be careful, as many on your grocery aisles are loaded with sugars and sodium. Read the ingredients before you purchase a jar, and opt for natural and organic selections.

Conclusion

Cucumbers are a great addition to a keto diet! They’re easy to prepare, can be eaten on their own or mixed with a dish, and carry a whole host of health benefits that you don’t want to go without. So keep your head up on your keto journey and start including more cucumbers in your diet!

References:

[1] Guelinckx I., Tavoularis G., König J., Morin C., Gharbi H., Gandy J. Contribution of water from food and fluids to total water intake: Analysis of a French and UK population surveys. Nutrients. 2016;8:630 doi: 10.3390/nu8100630.

[2] Jéquier E, Constant F. Water as an essential nutrient: the physiological basis of hydration.
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Feb;64(2):115-23. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2009.111. Epub 2009 Sep 2.

[3] Popkin BM, D’Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration, and health. Nutr Rev. 2010;68: 439–458. 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x

[4] Menke A, Casagrande S, Geiss L, Cowie CC. Prevalence of and Trends in Diabetes Among Adults in the United States, 1988-2012. JAMA. 2015;314(10):1021–1029. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.10029

[5] Roman-Ramos R1, Flores-Saenz JL, Alarcon-Aguilar FJ. Anti-hyperglycemic effect of some edible plants. J Ethnopharmacol. 1995 Aug 11;48(1):25-32.

[6] Ji L, Gao W, Wei J, Pu L, Yang J, Guo C. In Vivo Antioxidant Properties of Lotus Root and Cucumber: A Pilot Comparative Study in Aged Subjects. J Nutr Health Aging. 2015 Aug;19(7):765-70. doi: 10.1007/s12603-015-0524-x.

[7] Pham-Huy LA, He H, Pham-Huy C. Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health. Int J Biomed Sci. (2008) 4:89–96.

[8] Hunter P. The inflammation theory of disease. EMBO Rep. 2012;13:968–970.

[9] D’Elia L, Barba G, Cappuccio FP, Strazzullo P. Potassium intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease a meta-analysis of prospective studies. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 Mar 8;57(10):1210-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2010.09.070.

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