Cucumber is the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world and known to be one of the best foods for your body. From skin care to fighting cancer, the cucumber is a great friend of good health.
During summer time, it adds crunch and coolness to green salads, pasta salads and tuna sandwiches. But some people experience side effects after eating cucumbers. Whether it is itchy skin or embarrassing belching, pinning down what is causing these unwelcome reactions will tell you whether you need to give up the cucumbers or simply look for new ways to enjoy them.
The following are some of the side effects of eating excessive cucumber.
Toxicity – Cucumber contains small patches that taste bitter. These portions contain the toxic tetracyclic triterpenoids or cucurbitacins compound. Excessive consumption of this compound can cause even death. Cucumber juice remains increasingly susceptible to this bitter tasting toxic compound, and for this reason, it is best to avoid bitter tasting cucumber juice.
Fluid Loss and Imbalance – One major harmful effect of cucumber consumption in excess is the risk of fluid loss and consequent body imbalance. Cucumber seeds contain cucurbitin and fatty oil that have mild diuretic properties. Excessive consumption of cucumber increases the effect of this diuretic, and might lead to loss of fluids and electrolytes from the body, causing imbalances, and even dehydration in extreme cases.
Vitamins and Minerals – Cucumber flesh is rich in vitamin C or caffeic acid, and the skin is rich in fiber and minerals such as silica, potassium, and magnesium. While all these minerals and nutrients provide the body with much benefits, excessive consumption trigger their harmful side effects. Vitamin C can become a pro-oxidant that promote the growth of free radicals and harm body cells, under certain conditions. Similarly, excessive potassium causes hyperkalemia or a condition that leads to reduced kidney function, and excessive fiber cause intestinal gas, bloating, and abdominal cramps.
Excessive Water – Over 90 percent of cucumber is water, and the dangers of excessive water consumption apply to excessive cucumber consumption as well. Excessive water intake increases the total blood volume, and put strains on blood vessels and the heart, as well as cause an unnecessary wear and tear on the kidneys. Excessive water also drops the concentration of electrolytes in the blood, causing water to seep in and swell the cells, leading to a variety of conditions ranging from headaches to impaired breathing.
Wax Coating – Cucumbers are a fragile fruit, and most farmers wax the skin at the growing or plucking stage to protect the fruit from insects, or prevent damage while shipping. Most waxes contain compounds such as ethyl alcohol, soaps, and milk casein. Milk casen is linked to milk allergy. Excessive consumption of cucumber skin leads to the dangers of such harmful compounds entering the body.
Allergies – Swelling or hives around your mouth, throat and tongue commonly occur with oral allergy syndrome. You may also experience itchy skin. If you have an allergy to ragweed, cucumbers may also cause allergic reactions. A phenomenon known as cross-reactivity explains why some people with ragweed pollen also experience allergic symptoms after eating certain foods. Cucumbers fall into the ragweed cross-reactivity group, as do melons, sunflower seeds, chamomile tea and bananas.
If you have sinusitis or any kind of chronic respiratory conditions, then it is advisable to stay away from eating cucumber. If Ayurvedic practitioners are to be believed, the cooling effects of these veggies aggravate such conditions, leading to complications.
How to Avoid Cucumber Side effects
Wash the cucumber thoroughly under running water. You may also wash in vinegar mixed water or baking soda mixed water. Ensure to remove the peels of the cucumber to safeguard yourself and your family from the toxins hidden on the peels. If you find that raw cucumbers are giving you a tough time, then try sautéing or grilling the same.
Consuming cucumber in moderate quantities has the maximum health benefits.
Fights cancer. Cucumber contains lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol – three lignans that have a strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer.
Controls blood pressure. Cucumber juice contains a lot of potassium, magnesium and fiber which are very helpful for regulating blood pressure.
Beneficial for teeth and gums. Cucumber juice is also beneficial for people with teeth and gums problems, especially in cases of pyorrhea. Cucumber is a good source of dietary fiber and this fiber massage in the teeth and gums.
Gets rid of bad breath. The photochemicals present in cucumber help kills the bacteria in your mouth which are responsible for bad breath. To get rid of bad breath, press a slice of cucumber in between your mouth with your tongue for at least 30 seconds.
Aids digestion. Digestive disorders, such as heartburn, gastritis, and even ulcers, can be cured by the daily consumption of fresh cucumber juice. The high water content and dietary fiber in cucumber are very effective in driving away the toxins from the digestive system and hence aid digestion. Daily consumption of cucumber can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation.
Cures diabetes. The cucumber juice has been found to be beneficial for the diabetic patients. This vegetable contains a hormone needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin.
While buying cucumber, choose the ones that are firm to touch and dark green in color. Do not buy overly matured or yellow-colored as they are prone to contain more insoluble fiber and mature seeds. Go for organically grown cucumber to get a rich taste and more nutrients content.
The optimal quantity of intake of cucumber, however, depends on the individual's nature and constitution. Now that you know more about the harmful effects of cucumbers eaten in excessive quantities, you are better equipped to decide how much of it to eat.