The nutritional value of a cucumber can be of benefit to good overall health in humans, whether it is eaten in its natural, raw state or whether it is combined with other nutritious vegetables. The vitamins in cucumbers include vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as calcium and folic acid, which is a B vitamin. Minerals in cucumbers are also of great health benefit and include magnesium, molybdenum and silica. The nutritional value of a cucumber helps create healthy skin and is also a good source of dietary fiber.
Cucumbers, watermelon and squash all hail from the same family of vegetables. Cucumbers are often enjoyed raw on sandwiches and in salads, or pickled and eaten as a garnish. The nutritional value of a cucumber was widely regarded by ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, as the vitamins and minerals in cucumbers are known to be of benefit to damaged skin and work to create a healthy complexion. With a high water content and a high vitamin C content, cucumbers naturally help reduce the inflammation of damaged skin, as well as soothe irritation.
Vitamin C ranks highest in regard to the overall nutritional value of a cucumber. This low-calorie vegetable is also very high in molybdenum, a mineral that aids in developing the nervous system and stimulates the healthy processing of waste in the kidneys. Molybdenum has a high antioxidant value and is believed by many to prevent tooth decay as well as anemia.
Other high ranking vitamins and minerals that contribute to the nutritional value of a cucumber include vitamin A, folate, potassium, calcium, manganese and tryptophan. Magnesium, a mineral that promotes healthy nerve function, a healthy immune system and helps stabilize blood pressure, is also abundant in cucumbers. Some studies have shown that foods, such as cucumbers, that are naturally high in magnesium and fiber may actually help lower blood pressure in individuals who suffer from hypertension.
Experts on the nutritional value of a cucumber say that unwaxed cucumbers do not need to be peeled and can be enjoyed raw. Cucumbers that have been waxed to prevent damage, such as bruising that sometimes occurs during shipping, should be peeled before eating, however. Experts further recommend that unwaxed cucumbers be eaten as often as possible, since a good deal of nutrition is present in the vegetable’s green skin, which also contains minute levels of beta carotene.