by Sylvie Tremblay, MSc, Demand Media
Vegetables should help form the foundation of your diet — women need 2.5 cups daily and men need 3 cups, recommends the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Each cup of cucumber juice counts as 1 cup of veggies to help you reach these intake goals. In addition to the general benefits of a diet rich in vegetables — including a lower risk of obesity and some types of cancer, according to the USDA — drinking cucumber juice offers specific health benefits due to its nutrient content.
Drinking cucumber juice helps you reach your recommended daily intake of vitamin K. This vitamin helps you build strong bone tissue and nourishes your kidneys. It also plays an important role in blood clotting — it activates proteins that trigger blood coagulation, so that you can stop bleeding after suffering tissue damage. Consuming cucumber juice helps to fight the effects of vitamin K deficiency, which can include nosebleeds, bruising and bleeding gums.
Cucumber juice also provides a source of copper. Copper helps you make neurotransmitters, the family of chemicals your brain cells need to communicate. It helps you produce healthy red blood cells, strengthens your connective tissue and boosts your immune system. It protects you from free radical damage — cellular damage that develops when you’re exposed to environmental toxins or sunlight. The copper in cucumber juice also supports your active lifestyle, since your cells need copper to produce useable energy.
Cucumber juice serves as a vegan-friendly source of calcium, an essential mineral. Hydroxyapatite, the mineral tissue that adds strength to your teeth and bones, contains calcium, and getting enough calcium helps retain your bone density. Your muscles also use calcium to contract, and your nervous system relies on small amounts of calcium to help transmit nerve impulses. Getting enough calcium also helps maintain your body’s hormone balance, since calcium in your bloodstream helps control hormone release.
Considerations and Serving Tips
Cucumber juice has one major nutritional disadvantage compared to whole cucumber — it does not contain dietary fiber, the indigestible carbohydrate found in intact cucumber. If you drink cucumber juice as part of your daily vegetable intake, make sure you also eat whole veggies to boost your fiber intake. Whole grains, legumes and nuts also contain fiber. You can also utilize the fiber from cucumber after juicing — simply freeze the leftover pulp collected from your juicer, and use it to add fiber to pureed soups and sauces. In addition to enjoying cucumber juice on its own, you can use the juice as a base for healthy smoothies — try blending the juice with frozen melon balls and fresh mint, or with strawberries and basil, for a refreshing beverage.