Turns out, you must not eat raw cucumber with meals… but why?

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Cucumber, known for its high water content, is often advised to people on a weight loss spree. Also high in fibre, cucumbers help one feel fuller for longer. Easily available at all vegetable stores, cucumbers — that are cooling in nature — are often consumed as an accompaniment to meals. But, it turns out one must not have kheera along with lunch or dinner. But why?

Dr Alka Vijayan, an Ayurveda expert, recently took to Instagram to share that she does not have cucumbers with her meals, and neither does she recommend it to her patients. “I don’t prefer consuming raw cucumber with cooked meals. Neither do I recommend it for my patients, even if they are looking for weight loss,” she said in the video.

 

Explaining the reason, she said when raw and uncooked cucumbers are combined with cooked meals it leads to a delay in digestion. This happens because the time taken by the body to digest cooked and uncooked foods is different, as cooked food has already undergone a transformation after being subjected to heat that leads to the formation of pro-inflammatory products called ama. Ama, a causative factor for pain and aches in our body, also leads to inflammatory conditions in the long run.

Agreeing, Swati Bathwal, a dietitian, told indianexpress.com, “Yes, cucumber is excellent for weight loss as it is rich in water content. Also, the seeds in cucumber help in preventing constipation, and both fibre and water content help induce satiety. But, eating cucumber with meals can cause indigestion for some people because of the compound called cucurbitacin (class of biochemical compounds). Also, cucumbers must always be eaten with its skin on after it is washed thoroughly.”

According to Reema Kinjalkar, a nutritionist at Urban Platter, cucurbitacin imparts bitter taste. Some people with weak digestive health may find it hard to digest cucumber due to this compound, as it known to induce indigestion problems such as gas and bloating.

“Cucurbitacin is most concentrated near the ends of cucumbers. These compounds are produced as a self-defense mechanism to protect themselves from being eaten. As a result, rubbing the ends and sprinkling the salt aids in the extraction of the white milky fluid containing the cucurbitacins. By removing the cucumber’s ends, you limit the chances of the cucurbitacins spreading to the rest of the cucumber,” added Reema.

 

Giving more reasons, Dr Alka said: “Secondly, cucumber is light, watery, and cold in nature. Regular consumption may lead to vata imbalance causing bloating, constipation, and dry hair.” She suggested eating cucumbers in the form of salads (as a whole meal). “It is best recommended for pitta predominant body types because it helps in cooling down the body heat and rehydrating it.”

If the vata people want to include it in their diet, per Dr Alka, they should sprinkle some salt, pepper, and sesame seed to reduce bloating. “And for kapha types, it is best to consume them by pairing them with green leafy vegetables,” added Dr Alka.

As such, Reema listed the following benefits of cucumber:

Good for bone health

Cucumber contains vitamin K, which lowers the incidence of bone fractures. Vitamin K is used by the human body to form bones and also to minimise the risk of hemorrhaging in liver pathologic conditions. Vitamin K is also required by the body for calcium absorption and bone formation.

Digestion aids and controls blood sugar

High water and dietary fiber content is particularly efficient in clearing the body of toxins and improving digestion. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar and fat in the body and therefore prevents sudden spikes in blood glucose level.

Beneficial to heart health

The presence of potassium and magnesium aids in blood pressure regulation. Fibres help to manage the total cholesterol level in the body and improve heart health.

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