First of all, let me say that cucumbers aren’t fruits in the strictest sense. However they are fruits in the nutritional sense. The Latin name for cucumbers is “Cucurbita Maxima”.
It’s an odd little vegetable that looks like a cross between a potato, but not exactly a potato.
It grows in Asia and Africa and is one of our earliest settlers across the pond. They have been a major part of our food supply since we first began cultivating them.
Is Cucumber a Cruciferous vegetable? Yes, Cucumbers are classified as cruciferous vegetables due to their health benefits and also their phytonutrient content. Daily intake of Cucumbers promotes hydration, lower blood sugar, and supplies the body with rich antioxidants.
From a medicinal perspective, cucumbers are highly effective against many kinds of skin problems. Among these are acne, psoriasis, eczema, boils, and abscesses.
They’re a major treatment for ulcers in the mouth and neck and reduce or eliminate inflammation of the kidneys, stomach and intestine.
They’re very good for the digestion system and the skin. The flesh of the cucumber is somewhat sticky when it’s young but after it matures it looses most of its rough parts making it easy to peel.
Most vegetable peelings contain a lot of vitamin C, so it’s easy to understand how they become such a healthy vegetable. When you eat a cucumber, it’s almost the same as eating a piece of raw tomato, though the taste is a bit different. They’re a fairly “clean” vegetable, one that doesn’t contain a lot of residual pesticides and artificial additives.
So, is cucumber a cruciferous vegetable? It’s hard to say. I’ve often heard both praises and criticisms of cucumbers. Some people love them, while others hate them. It seems that they can be a bit finicky eaters.
Cucumbers have a high water content, which can make them a bit hardy in hot weather. It also has a mild taste and is slightly acidic. Many of the cucumbers we store end up on the counter with a mild onion flavor due to over washing.
The majority of the vinegars we use are a result of this high-water content and should be avoided by consumers with sensitive palates.
However there are other vegetable varieties that aren’t as adaptable to acidic foods and should be consumed sparingly due to this fact.
It’s hard to tell in many cases. We simply don’t know how the fleshy interior is and whether or not it has any nutrients inside.
In short, we just don’t know for sure. With a little more research it might not be so difficult to determine if this vegetable really is a cruciferous vegetable.
What are cruciferous vegetables?
What are cruciferous vegetables? Cruciferous vegetables, also known as rhizomes or rhizome plants, are fleshy vegetables that contain a hair like structure known as a rhizome.
Most plants in this family have gray, cream, or white outer skins with various dark-colored interior sieves that allow water to pass through easily.
These include potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, turnips, beans, eggplant, peas, carrots, corn, melons, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
Cruciferous vegetables were used by the ancient Egyptians for food preparation and they are still used today; however, other root vegetables such as Brussels sprouts are more common.
The main difference between the modern day modern vegetable and the ancient one is the method of preparation. Root vegetables need to be washed and rinsed very carefully before cooking.
They also need to be eaten right away to avoid fermentation (as described above) and they do not taste good after the main course.
Therefore, it is important to make sure that these vegetables are washed thoroughly and only eaten on the very beginning.
It is interesting to note that the flesh of standard root vegetables tends to be quite thick as well; it may have more calories per inch than other vegetables such as potatoes. Cruciferous vegetables can be stored in liquid or dry form.
Cruciferous vegetables can be stored on shelves in the refrigerator for up to a year if they are tightly wrapped and kept at room temperature.
If they are not stored properly they can spoil! They can also be frozen, but this can only be done in the refrigerator. However, don’t try to thaw them out on the cold! It can really be dangerous!
You can use what are cruciferous vegetables for nearly any purpose. They are ideal for stews and soups; however, you can also cook them as salads.
As I mentioned above, they are great in salads because they hold their shape so well. Also, you can mash them up and make mashed potatoes.
Kale is also another great vegetable that holds its shape, so it is a good vegetable to mince as well.
So, now that we know what are cruciferous vegetables, how can we improve our health? We need to start eating more of them, especially the green leafy types. When we are choosing vegetables, remember that what are best to buy are ones that are good for you.
Try to stick to those that are high in vitamins and minerals, as well as ones that have plenty of fiber.
Avoid processed foods as much as possible, because they will always be loaded with chemicals and preservatives.
Benefits of Cruciferous vegetables
One of the most nutritious vegetables around are the cruciferous vegetables or those that are rich in isothiocyanates and glucosinolates.
This family of vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, brussel sprouts, kale, mustard greens, okra, peppermint, romaine lettuce, and turnips. It’s because of the beneficial health properties of these vegetables that they are referred to as super-foods.
They have high levels of soluble fiber, which prevent constipation and help in managing and maintaining a healthy colon, and high levels of both isoflavones and phytosterols. In addition, they also contain a considerable amount of vitamin A and C.
Studies reveal that taking high amount of isoflavones and phytosterols every day can decrease the risk of certain cancers including colon, breast, and prostate cancer. The consumption of cruciferous vegetables also lowers the risks of type 2 diabetes, gallbladder diseases, stroke, and pancreatic cancer.
However, the consumption of broccoli and other common cruciferous vegetables should not replace diet with more complex and healthy foods.
Instead, it’s advisable to complement this type of diet with low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables.
On the contrary, it’s also advisable to remove excesses of certain fatty foods such as saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol, especially if you are already suffering from cholesterol concerns.
i). Ability to Strengthen the Immune System
There are certain specific health benefits associated with the intake of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. One of its benefits is its ability to strengthen the immune system.
When you eat a lot of it, you are less likely to become sick, as it contains certain immune-boosting nutrients, which are beneficial in warding off bacteria and viruses.
Additionally, one study reveals that people who ate two or more portions of broccoli every day were less likely to have their body cells damaged by the UV light from the sun as compared to people who don’t have regular consumption of the vegetable.
ii). Protection of the Liver
Moreover, another health benefit associated with broccoli and cruciferous vegetables is in the area of protecting the liver. This is due to the presence of certain chemicals called glucosinolates, which occur naturally in it.
Glucosinolates are powerful antioxidants that have the capability to protect against cell damage that can come from free radicals and environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and UV light exposure.
These chemicals have been discovered to inhibit formation of the amyloid plaque, which accumulates and clogs up the memory foam of the arteries, causing atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.
Another chemical that can inhibit the formation of amyloid plaques is the compound 4 hydroxyisoleucine, which is contained in broccoli.
iii). Improves Total Blood Coagulation
These studies conclude that consumption of broccoli and cruciferous vegetables can improve total blood coagulation, decrease plaque buildup, slow down the process of amyloid plaques in the arteries, protect liver cell function, increase the bioavailability of the antioxidant agents, and enhance immune function.
These benefits are attributed to the fact that the compounds present in it facilitate the rapid digestion of glucose and stimulate the release of myrosinase, a compound that aids the breakdown of cholesterol.
Myrosinase also helps in the production of the superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione. These compounds are important in fighting free radical damage.
iv). Prevents Chronic Diseases
Aside from lowering the risk of developing chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease and diabetes, these compounds present very promising health benefits in the prevention of thyroid disorders, especially under high intake of processed cabbage and kale.
The recent studies indicate that iodine deficiency leads to hypothyroidism, a condition characterized by an inadequate level of thyroid hormone in the body. Hypothyroidism is more common among women.
Symptoms include lethargy, slowed growth, constant cramping, and fatigue. Some people who suffer from this illness also experience bone pain and swelling.
It’s important to note that excessive intake of cabbage and kale may trigger an iodine deficiency, which may lead to hypothyroidism.
How to grow healthy Cucumber vegetables
If you are someone who likes to grow your own vegetables, I think it is about time you learn how to grow healthy cucumbers.
You might be missing out on some of the best tasting vegetables in the world. Growing your own vegetables is a great hobby or business and it is an enjoyable past time.
Growing cucumbers, for instance, can be a little bit more challenging than most other vegetables but as long as you know the basics and keep a positive attitude towards it, you should be able to do it quite easily.
I am going to share with you a few tips that will help you have a better cucumber and make it easier for you to take care of them.
1). Prepare the Soil
The first thing that you need to understand when learning how to grow healthy cucumbers you need to ensure that you have good soil. To do this, you will need to purchase some organic garden soil that is designed for growing vegetables.
You can use this soil to plant your seeds as well as growing plants that you can harvest off. This will allow you to get more out of each plant because you are able to pick and eat them as opposed to just picking them and leaving them on the counter.
When you are ready to harvest your cucumbers, they will be full of water so make sure you don’t flood the area they are in because they will drown and die.
2). Cucumbers Grow and Mature Quickly
Another important tip on how to grow healthy cucumbers you need to remember is that they grow really fast, you should be able to get them harvested and ready to eat within 4 months if you follow the basic rules.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to grow cucumbers is that they don’t water them enough, this results in the cucumbers becoming moldy and hard to eat.
You want to water your plants every couple of days, when doing this you want to try to get the soil damp but not saturated.
3). Mulch Your Garden Soil
It is also a good idea to mulch your garden soil with wood chips or crushed stone chips, this will help keep the soil moist but at the same time keep it from rotting.
4). Fertilize Cucumbers Properly
If you are wondering how to grow healthy cucumbers you also need to learn about fertilizing them. Like many other vegetables green beans need plenty of fertilizer because they are naturally growing.
They have very sensitive roots that cannot handle high amounts of fertilizer so start out with low levels of fertilizer until you know your plants will take it.
Don’t worry, this process is not difficult at all, in fact you should have no problem implementing this into your daily routine.
If you want to know how to grow healthy cucumbers, you might also be interested in learning how to grow healthy tomatoes.
Tomatoes are extremely popular because they taste fantastic, but unlike cucumbers they do not have a thick taproot. If you prune your tomato plants they will become overgrown and lose their lushness and beauty.
Pruning your tomatoes will also improve the quality of the harvest from your garden.
If you are wondering how to grow healthy cucumbers you also need to know about harvesting them. Much like tomatoes you should only pick the fruit from the base. You should also be careful when picking, don’t pick too early or you’ll end up with a basket full of green beans.
To harvest your cucumbers just grab the bottom, turn it over and use a spade to turn the rest of the fruit over.
This should be done for each and every one of your plants. Harvesting them should not take more than a minute, but you might find it takes a little longer if you are trying to get them in a hurry.