Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Even though long, dark green, smooth-skinned garden cucumbers are familiar vegetables in the produce sections of most groceries, cucumbers actually come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, shapes and textures. You may find white, yellow, and even orange-colored cucumbers, and they may be short, slightly oval, or even round in shape. Their skins can be smooth and thin, or thick and rough. Cucumbers are native to Asia but grow on almost every continent. Actually it naturally thrive in both temperate and tropical environments, and for this reason have been widely cultivated worldwide.
The stems of the cucumber plant are rotating and wrap around each rod. Cucumber plant can also grow in the hydroponics without rooting on the ground and curve on the ground if they have no support. Cucumbers have large leaves and can shadow other fruits.
Researchers believe that the origin of cucumber is India, which today has one of the largest genetic reserves of cucumber. Cucumber cultivation has been common in the West Asian region for more than three thousand years and has been widely introduced by the Romans to European nations. Moved from India to ancient Greece and Rome, and the ancient Romans have a keen interest in this vegetable. The history of cultivation back to the ninth century in France and to the fourteenth century in England, which was transferred to the area by the Romans. The Spanish have also transported cucumbers to the African continent. In America, the history of cultivation goes back to the mid-16th century. In France the production of cucumbers dates back to the ninth century and in England its proliferation has become common in 14th century. The proliferation of cucumbers in America is attributed to the late 16th century.
According to Pliny the Elder ‘s writings, the Roman Emperor Tiberius used cucumber as a fruit on his dining table during the summer and winter.
Due to the great interest of the Roman emperor in this vegetable, its cultivation was established in all seasons of the year and built a special greenhouse for this purpose.
Health Benefits of Cucumbers
Here are the nutrition facts for cucumbers according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Cucumbers are 95 percent water. This makes cucumbers a great way to stay hydrated, especially during the summer. A cup of cucumber slices is “nearly as thirst-quenching as a glass of water” according to Eating Well magazine.
“They say we can get 20-30 percent of our fluid needs through our diet alone, and foods like these certainly help,” added Lemond. “Not only are they high in water content, they also contain important nutrients that play a part in hydration like magnesium and potassium.”
Preliminary research also suggests cucumbers promote anti-wrinkling and anti-aging activity, according to an article in the journal Filoterapia.
The fruit has two anticancer compounds, lignan and “cucurbitacin”. In recent years, pharmaceutical companies have been paying particular attention to the combination of cucurbitacin and hope to use it to develop new cancer drugs. According to a 2010 research review published in Scientific World Journal, scientists have found that cucurbitacins can help block the signaling pathways that are important for cancer cell proliferation and survival.
Cucurbitacins can also inhibits the growth of pancreatic cancer cells, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Cancer Research looked at cucurbitacin B (which cucumber contains) on human pancreatic cancer cells and found that cucurbitacin supplements inhibited the growth of seven pancreatic cancer cell lines by 50 percent, and also increased apoptosis, or “death by suicide,” of pancreatic cancer cells.
According to World’s Healthiest Foods, lignans may protect against cancer through working with the bacteria in the digestive tract. The bacteria take the lignans and convert them into compounds such as enterodiol and enterolactone, which can bind onto estrogen receptors and possibly reduce the risk of estrogen-related cancers, such as ovarian, breast, endometrial and prostate cancers. The research is not yet clear on whether lignans actually assert anti-cancer benefits.
A 2009 meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Cancer found little or no association between lignan intake and reduced breast cancer risk. Similarly, most studies have not found significant correlations between lignan intake and reduced prostate cancer risk, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, though one study of older Scottish men published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that consuming an enterolactone-containing serum reduced the risk of prostate cancer.
On the other hand, a Journal of Nutrition study of nearly 800 American women found that those with those with the highest lignan intake had the lowest risk of ovarian cancer. Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looked at nearly 1,000 women in the San Francisco area and found that postmenopausal women with the highest lignan intakes had the lowest risk of endometrial cancer.
You’ve probably seen pictures of people at a spa relaxing with cucumber slices over their eyes. It turns out there’s science behind this pampering ritual. Cucumbers have a cooling and soothing effect that decreases swelling, irritation and inflammation when used topically. Cucumber slices can be placed on the eyes can decrease morning puffiness or alleviate and treat sunburn when placed on the affected areas.
In the past few decades, it has become clear that vitamin K is important to bone health, and one cup of cucumber contains about 19 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. One review published in Nutrition noted that vitamin K intake might reduce fracture rates, work with vitamin D to increase bone density and positively affect calcium balance.
The human body uses vitamin K when building bones, and the effects seem to be especially important for women. A large American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study in 2003 showed that low vitamin K levels were associated with low bone density in women, but not in men. Another study published in 1999 found that low intakes of vitamin K were associated with an increased risk of hip fractures in middle-age women. This is especially interesting because the women saw results from eating lettuce, showing that dietary consumption of vitamin K via eating vegetables (not supplements) is beneficial. When it comes to men, the effects of vitamin K and bone health may become more apparent as they age: A 2000 study saw reduced risk of hip fracture among both elderly women and elderly men who consumed more vitamin K.
Cucumbers contain several antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta-carotene and manganese, as well as flavonoids, triterpenes and lignans that have anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin C is well known for its immune system benefits, and beta-carotene has been shown to be beneficial for vision.
According to a 2010 animal study published in the Journal of Young Pharmacists, fresh extracts from cucumber showed increased scavenging of free radicals. Free radicals are associated with a variety of human diseases, but can sometimes be held in check by antioxidants.
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables of all kinds is associated with a reduced risk for many health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and obesity. Cucumbers’ potassium content may be especially helpful in this regard. One cup of sliced cucumbers contains only about 4 percent of the body’s daily potassium needs, but it comes with significantly fewer calories than most high-potassium foods like bananas. Potassium is an essential part of heart health. A study of 12,000 adults, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that those who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium each day lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease by 37 percent and 49 percent, respectively, compared to those who took 1,793 mg per day. Several studies have linked cucumber consumption to reducing hypertension. Many studies have linked it with lower blood pressure because it promotes vasodiliation (widening of the blood vessels). A 2017 study published in Public Health of Indonesia found that elderly participants with hypertension saw a significant decrease in blood pressure after consuming cucumber juice for 12 days.
A 2013 review in Fitoterapia noted that cucumbers might help relieve constipation because they provide both fiber and water. Tufts University notes that cucumbers can pack even more of a digestive punch if they are turned into pickles during a home-fermentation process. Cucumber pickles contain probiotic bacteria that promote healthy digestion and cultivating beneficial gut flora. Store-bought pickles usually do not have these bacteria because they have been boiled out.
Cucumbers are a low-calorie food therefore a popular ingredient in diet meals. A 2011 study in the journal Obesity found that greater water consumption correlated with more weight loss in middle-age and older adults. Participants who consumed 500 ml of water prior to eating a meal lost an average of 2 Kgs more than participants who did not. Snacking on water-dense foods like cucumbers can be an effective way to up water intake. But lemon cautions against relying too much on water-dense foods like cucumber.
Brain and memory health
Recently, scientists have taken interest in the flavonoid fisetin. Cucumbers are a good source of fisetin, which studies have associated with protecting nerve cells, improving memory and decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s in mice, according to a 2013 review in the journal of Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. The same review found promising results for the relationship between fisetin and cancer prevention.
Variety of Cucumber
- Greenhouse or green cucumber
The most common type of cucumber is green cucumber, which is known by its various names such as Badrang, Hayarzeh, Flomus, etc.
- Armenian Cucumber
Armenian cucumber is a thin and long cucumber that sometimes its length reaches to one meter. It is less aromatic than green cucumbers. This cucumber fruit is light green in color and stripes.
This kind of cucumber is surprisingly juicy and crunchy and easily sliced. It is very tasty to eat raw.
- Serpent Cucumber
serpent cucumber is a year-long and climber that sometimes reaches three meters in length and has three to five loopy leaves and cauliflower stems.
The harvest of serpent cucumbers is based on the size and when this type of cucumber is harvested to a certain extent.
- speckled cucumber
As its name implies, it is a speckled cucumber that is grown in white and green.
Raw speckled cucumbers are very crunchy, flavorful enough and also suitable for pickling. Sometimes, these types of cucumbers are also sold as “pickled cucumbers”.
- Lemon cucumber
These cucumbers are yellow in color and are lemon-like. Lemon cucumber is sweet and lacks the bitter parts of most cucumbers. This type of cucumber has a thin shell and soft, flavorful seeds. Raw lemon cucumber is very tasty and used in salads. It can also be used to make delicious pickles.
- African horned cucumber
African horned cucumber or melon cucumis metuliferus, horned melon, spiked melon, kiwano, jelly melon, hedged gourd and melano are names of this kind of cucumber.
This cucumber belongs to Africa and it does not look like cucumber. The yellow skin has the green beans of this fruit that make it look like cucumber and its taste like pomegranate. African cucumbers are traditional foods of the African continent that are capable of improving nutrition and food security, promoting rural development and supporting sustainable land use. It is one of the limited water resources during the summer in the Kalahari Desert.
Also there is other varieties of cucumber such as Bitter Gourd or Karela, Hedgehog Cucumber, White Emerald Cucumber, Italian round cucumber and etc.
Production by country
At present, China is by far the world’s largest producer of cucumbers with over 64 million tons of total production. Iran, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Ukraine, and Spain are the next four highest producers, followed by the United States, Mexico, and Egypt.
It is noteworthy that our company “kala Sepid Tarabar” as an international transportation & trading company has experienced and professional staff members in all matters related to any shipment (road – rail – sea-air and multi modal freight), so has always been able to serve the interests of its customers to purchase and export cargoes to all over the world as fast as possible as a strong advisor by choosing the best route and method of transport and positioning The global marketplace.
Our professional staff will work for you to ensure all your specific requirements are met in the most timely manner possible. We will also keep you up to date on supply situations so you can stay on top of your market.