Cucumber: Nutrition Facts

Calories in Cucumber and Their Health Benefits

Cucumber on Cutting Board
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Cucumbers have a refreshing quality, in part because of their very high water content. They are divided into two categories: pickling and slicing. Pickling cucumbers are bitter when raw and, as the name implies, are used to make pickles. These types of cucumbers include cornichon, dill, and gherkin.

Slicing cucumbers, on the other hand, include varieties such as the seedless English (or hothouse), the lemon, and the common green market cucumber.

Some cucumbers contain seeds while others do not.

Common varieties of cucumbers are available year long with peak season from April to October.

Cucumber Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/2 cup slices (52 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 8 
Calories from Fat 1 
Total Fat 0.1g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 76.44mg2%
Carbohydrates 1.9g1%
Dietary Fiber 0.3g1%
Sugars 0.9g 
Protein 0.3g 
Vitamin A 1% · Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 1% · Iron 1%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

One half cup of cucumbers contains only 8 calories and 1.9 grams of carbohydrates, making them a very low calorie food choice. If you are trying to reduce carbohydrate intake, substitute crackers with cucumber slices.

Cucumber Health Benefits

Cucumbers with the skin contain a fair amount of vitamin K, about nine percent of the daily needs in one-half cup. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that assists in blood clotting.

For those people on Coumadin, it's important to keep your intake of vitamin K consistent. 

How Many Calories are in Pickles?

According to the US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database, one large pickle (about four inches long) contains 16 calories, 0.4 grams fat, 3.25 grams carbohydrate, 1.4 grams fiber, 1.4 grams sugar, 0.7 g protein, and 1092 mg sodium.

Pickles are a very low calorie food, however, they contain nearly half of the amount of sodium we should eat in a day. If you are looking to follow a low sodium diet or are salt sensitive and have a history of high blood pressure, eating pickles is probably not the best food choice.

Picking and Storing Cucumbers

Choose cucumbers that are firm but not hard. Skip out on cucumbers that are limp, have soft spots, or appear yellow.

Although most people store cucumbers in the refrigerator, many chefs suggest storing them outside the refrigerator because cold temperatures can accelerate decay and cause pitting or water soaked areas.

If cucumbers are stored in the refrigerator, it should be for no more than a few days, and they should be placed towards the front of the shelf where temperatures tend to be warmer.

Cucumbers are sensitive to ethylene, a natural gas that causes certain foods to ripen. If you keep your cucumbers on the counter keep them away from bananas, tomatoes, and melons, which are high ethylene producers.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Cucumbers

Cucumbers are great sliced as is, used in salads, as crudités to dip into spreads, or mixed with yogurt and dill or mint as a side dish, especially for spicy dishes.

Cucumbers can also be mixed with other fruits such as melon to make cold, refreshing soups. Lastly, make cucumber water to break up the monotony of regular iced water.

Recipes With Cucumbers  

Start your day by hydrating your body with a refreshing glass of cucumber water, or slice up some cucumbers to add to your salad or dip into your hummus as a filling snack. Shred some cucumbers to use to make an all time Greek favorite, tzatziki, which you can serve as an appetizer for dipping or as a protein topper for a calcium and protein packed meal. Lastly, use your cucumber as a "cup" for protein— scoop out the middle and replace it with your favorite salad.

Sources:

Labensky, SR, Hause, AM. On Cooking: A textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3rd ed. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003: 625.

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