Cucumbers have a mild, refreshing flavor and are a delicious addition to any salad, sandwich or side dish. Frequently cucumbers are peeled, because the rough outer skin can be difficult to chew and digest. However, what many people don't know is most of the beneficial nutritional value of cucumbers stems from the peel. So leave the peel on to reap all of the benefits this vegetable has to offer.
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Source of Fiber
Cucumber peels are rich in insoluble fiber, a type of fiber that sweeps through your digestive tract like a broom, creating fecal bulk. It also helps relieve constipation and is an important factor for keeping you regular. For a healthy diet, women need 25 g of total fiber daily, and men require 38 g, explains the Linus Pauling Institute. The inner soft part of cucumbers provides some soluble fiber, which is another type of beneficial fiber. Soluble fiber attracts water and forms a thick substance that travels through your gut, helping to soften your stool. Enjoying six large cucumber slices with the peel, or about 1 cup, provides approximately 1 g of fiber -- most of which is insoluble.
Vitamin K Content
Keep the peel on your cucumber to reap the benefits of its vitamin K content. Vitamin K helps activate proteins that your body needs for healthy bone maintenance, as well as cell growth, and helps you form blood clots. Most of cucumbers' vitamin K content is located in the peel -- a cup of cucumber with the peel contains 49 micrograms of vitamin K, while peeled cucumber contains just 9 micrograms.
Naturally Low in Calories
Because cucumber slices with or without the peel are naturally low in calories, you can snack on them without feeling guilty. Each slice provides a minimal 1 to 2 calories. Enjoying a few slices of fresh unpeeled cucumber slices in the afternoon can help refuel your body without wrecking your diet.
Beneficial for Vision
Cucumber peels are a hidden source of beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A. Beta-carotene is well known for its beneficial effects on eye health and vision. While vitamin A comes in a variety of compounds, beta-carotene is the type with the highest concentration in cucumber peels. Throughout the day, women need 2,310 IU of vitamin A, and men require 3,000 IU, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. A 1/2-cup serving of cucumber slices with the peel provides 55 IU of total vitamin A, about half of which is in the form of beta-carotene.