Nutritional Value of Cucumber During Pregnancy
Cucumbers are known to humankind for almost 6 thousand years. Their motherland is India where they can still be found in the wild though some scientists believe that they originally came from Bulgaria.
Cucumbers were probably cultivated about 3 thousand years ago in Western Asia. These vegetables are mentioned in Bible and in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Europeans love cucumbers since XV century, and North Americans consume them since XVI century.
Today cucumbers are grown everywhere all around the world, and that’s very good for pregnant ladies who can enjoy these crunchy and juicy vegetables and get healthier day by day.
Nutrition value of cucmber during pregnancy
A cucumber contains 95% of totally pure and clean water. That’s why it perfectly quenches the thirst and removes the hazardous toxins from the body.
Besides this precious liquid cucumbers are rich in useful organic acids, fiber, vitamins B, A, C, PP, E, magnesium, nickel, silver, folic and coffee acids, phosphorus and iron. They’re a natural anti-sclerotic medicine, can be used as an effective antipyretic and keep a heart healthy and strong.
The health benefits
What are the health benefits of eating cucumbers during pregnancy? There is a long list of advantages that future mothers can gain from eating cucumbers everyday:
- they are very poor in calories so they are priceless in preventing obesity;
- they are an exceptional source of naturally distilled water which is vital for preventing of dehydration;
- consumed in reasonable amounts they work as a harmless diuretic that is superior for the kidneys and will be helpful in getting rid of swelling;
- they contain such anti-oxidant components as vitamins C, A and K and beta-carotene which boost immunity in pregnant moms-to-be making them more resistant to contagious diseases;
- due to their natural diuretic effect they lower the blood pressure;
- cucumbers contain everything that unborn baby needs for the proper development: calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and vital vitamins like B1, B2, B3 and B9, also known as folic acid.
Are cucumbers always healthy for pregnancy? Still every rose has its own sharp thorn, and there are some nasty consequences caused by unrestrained cravings for cucumbers:
- consumed in large amounts they work as a strong diuretic, increasing the frequency of urination which may after all lead to dehydration;
- overeating may also result in an intensive buildup of intestinal gas that may lead to such troubles as bloating, belching and severe indigestion;
- as for salty and spicy pickles you should avoid them if during pregnancy you suffer from swelling or high blood pressure.
Precautions and Indications
You should avoid these crunchy vegetables if you have been diagnosed with colitis or enterocolitis, chronic nephritis, pyelonephritis,hepatitis and gastritis. And you shouldn’t eat them if you are diagnosed with kidney stones. The allergic reactions to these green vegetables are not very common, but still beware especially if you have suffered from allergy to pumpkins, water-melons or melons which are cucumbers close “relatives”.
Anyway before including them into your everyday diet you should visit a doctor and ask him for his permission.
6 Appetizing Ways to Enjoy
Since cucumbers are very high in fiber, they make a good combination with protein products and can be served a side dish to fish and meat. A cucumber mixed with an egg is another common but delicious gastronomic combination.
But don’t try to combine these vegetables with fresh milk – this mixture works as a pretty strong laxative. For the same reasons it’s not recommended drinking a lot of water after eating cucumbers – wait at least 30-40 min.
Is it necessary to peel cucumbers before eating or making juices? If you eat very fresh organic vegetables just plucked from the garden, it’s not necessary. But if you eat vegetables bought at the nearest supermarket, you should peel them because their skin can contain hazardous pesticides and nitrates. In any case don’t forget to wash them for 3-4 min in running cold water and scrub them thoroughly with a special vegetable brush.
There’re at least 6 yummy ways to consume cucumbers:
- Fresh and cool salads! Just mix cucumbers with onions, tomatoes or radishes, add a little olive oil, apple vinegar, salt, white or brown pepper. You can also combine cucumbers with black olives, cress salad, chopped dill and avocado. This dish tastes great with some olive oil kosher salt, lemon or lime juice.
- Make some refreshing soup. Mix in a blender sliced cucumbers, chopped red onions, 1 minced garlic clove, some chopped dill and a little sour cream. Add olive oil and turn the blender on. When the puree is ready, put it in the fridge for 1-2 hours. This dish is great for hot and long summer days.
- Dainty cucumber sandwiches which are a traditional meal of Britain’s upper class. You can make them at home very easily even if you don’t belong to the royal family. Just cut a cucumber into slices, take thin slices of white bread, some unsalted butter, some cream cheese and chopped mint leaves. These sandwiches taste gorgeous with a cup of mint or green tea.
- You can turn fresh cucumbers into home-made pickles. Stir in a big saucepan 3, 5 cups of water, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar, 1, 25 cups of white vinegar. Bring to boil and then cool completely. Put 4 cups of cucumber “spears”, 2 whole garlic cloves and 2 heads fresh dill into a plastic container. Pour the chilled vinegar mixture over vegetables, seal the container with a lid and put into the fridge for 2-3 days.
- Make some Tzatziki sauce. Mix in a deep bowl 1 large sliced cucumber, 3 tbsp of Greek or plain yogurt, 1 minced garlic clove and 1 tbsp of fresh dill or mint. Add 1 tbsp of salt and pour over 3 tbsp of lemon juice. Put this mixture into the fridge for 5-6 hours. Tzatziki is a wonderful and savory salad dressing.
- As for fresh cucumber juice you can drink it pure mixed with honey, sugar or some salt. You can also mix it with celery juice in ratio 50:50.
How to Pick and Store Fresh Cucumbers
How to pick up a perfect cucumber of your dreams? First of all you should prefer cucumbers with the bright intensively green skin. They should be firm without any suspicious spots, traces or cracks.
Don’t buy too large or too “shiny” ones because that usually means that these vegetables were ruthlessly “overfed” with nitrates. Their smell is very important too. Good cucumbers always have a very pleasant and peculiar fresh smell without any additions. If you feel some unpleasant odors, for example, chemicals don’t hesitate, throw the spoiled vegetables away.
You can store them in a refrigerator for 10-12 days in a paper or plastic package on the upper shelves located far off from the freezer. You can cut cucumbers into very thin slices, wrap them up in a plastic bag and put into the freezer. Vegetables can be stored this way for 2-3 months.
During pregnancy you can enjoy the refreshing taste and numerous benefits of cucumbers almost limitlessly. “Pure” organic vegetables from your own garden grown without any nitrates are the best for the mother. Still even “big city” cucumbers from the nearby supermarket can be very useful too if you pick, store and consume them according to rules and focusing on your and your child’s safety.
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