Bright green celery juice may have been the "it" drink of 2019, taking up precious real estate on our social media feeds with endorsements from celebs and self-proclaimed wellness gurus.
But it appears our love for the veg is waning — as happens with most fads — and a new green fruit is beginning to earn our attention: The ever-so-cool cucumber (yes, it's technically a fruit!). And not the entire cucumber, per se, but cucumber juice specifically.
The cucumber on its own provides vitamins A, C and K, magnesium, potassium, folate and fiber, per the USDA. So why the juice?
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Drinking Cucumber Juice Means You'll Miss Out on an Important Nutrient
Like celery juice, one of the claims is that cucumber juice helps your body detox. But the truth is, our bodies don't need a juice to help it detox — we have our kidneys and liver to do that for us. And as a dietitian, I cannot stress that enough.
In fact, when you juice a fruit or vegetable, you remove the dietary fiber from the food, which could actually be doing more harm than good when it comes to detoxing our bodies.
A whopping 95 percent of us just aren't getting enough fiber. So juicing — while it may deliver other nutrients — doesn't help our cause in getting more fiber in our diets.
A November 2016 study published in Advances in Nutrition did a deep dive into the affect dietary fiber has on our gut, liver and kidneys. It turns out, when we eat fiber, it changes the environment of our gut in a number of ways, one of which includes helping specific beneficial bacteria grow.
Ultimately, this results in an improved gut barrier function that actually protects our liver and kidneys from pro-inflammatory bacteria. In doing so, this allows the two organs to focus on their intended functions, including filtering and removing toxins from our bodies instead of fighting and controlling inflammation.
If that's not reason enough, a whopping 95 percent of us just aren't getting enough fiber, according to a January 2017 report published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. So juicing — while it may deliver other nutrients — doesn't help our cause in getting more fiber in our diets.
What About Cucumber Juice for Hydration and Bloat?
Another claim is that cucumber juice is "ultra-hydrating" because cucumbers contain beneficial electrolytes. Cucumbers themselves are hydrating because they're about 96 percent water.
However, if you're trying to hydrate, drink water — it'll find its way to your cells. There's no need to waste your time or money with an expensive bottle of cold-pressed cucumber at your local juice bar.
Fighting bloat is another touted benefit and there's actually some science to back this one. First, as we know, cucumbers are loaded with water and low in sodium, two properties that help with bloat. But cukes may also reduce GI swelling by inhibiting pro-inflammatory enzymes. However, again, you can get the same benefits and more by eating your cucumbers.
So, Should You Start Drinking Cucumber Juice?
Ultimately, if you want to try cucumber juice, or really any green juice for that matter, it can be delicious if you're into earthy flavors. And they certainly deliver some nutrients.
But if you're jumping on the cucumber juice bandwagon for its detoxing or hydrating benefits, there are probably better ways to spend your money. Focusing on eating whole fruits and vegetables, with their skins and seeds included, will do more for you in the long run.