Cucumber is a popular salad ingredient, and it is a common component of the daily diets of people all over the world. Not only is this vegetable tasty, but it is also versatile. Additionally, there are many proven health benefits of consuming cucumber. So, having it in your diet is certainly an advantage. Plus, it is low in calories, which means it is easy to fit into your diet.
However, when you are on the keto diet, you need to be extra cautious about everything you consume. Even with common vegetables such as cucumber, you need to track the net carbs it contains.
So, are cucumbers keto friendly? Can you have cucumbers on the keto or a low-carb diet? Or is this salad ingredient too high in carbs? Keep on reading to find out whether it belongs on the keto diet!
What is Cucumber?
The cucumber is a plant that originated in South Asia, more than 3000 years ago. However, today it grows as a widely cultivated vine across all continents. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae gourd family and is an annual plant. The vine produces cylindrical-shaped fruits that are elongated, and have tapered ends. Therefore, cucumbers are fruits, but people use them as vegetables. And, for the sake of clarity, we will refer to them as vegetables in this article.
There are several types that we are cultivating, however, there are three main varieties- for pickling, slicing, and seedless (burpless). This vegetable comes in many different sizes. It can grow up to 62 cm (24.4 in) long and 10 cm (4 in) wide. The interesting thing about this vegetable is that it contains 95% water. The taste can vary depending on the variety. It can be described as a mild melon flavor and aroma, while the rind has a slightly bitter taste.
Since cucumbers are cultivated for at least 3000 years, people have found many ways to use them and consume them. The mild flavor of this vegetable allows it to be combined with other flavors and aromas easily. The slicing and seedless varieties are mostly used in salads, either by themselves or with other vegetables.
People use pickle variety to pickle the vegetable with brine, sugar, and spices to give it a specific taste. A special kind of pickling cucumbers are cornichons which are small and are best for pickling.
Cucumber Nutritional Facts
Below, you can see the table with nutritional information on 100 grams of raw, unpeeled cucumber. Keep in mind that this vegetable is usually consumed with other veggies and condiments. Therefore it may have higher carb content depending on what type of condiment it is. (*)
|Total Carbs||3.63 grams|
|Net Carbs||3.13 grams|
Cucumber health benefits
Drinking the right amount of water is one of the most important things. Proper hydration ensures that your body functions the way it should. Studies have shown that not drinking enough fluids impacts thermoregulatory, metabolic, cardiovascular, and central nervous functions. Additionally, moderate dehydration causes impairment in physical performance. (*)
However, drinking water is not the only way to consume enough water to keep hydrated. We consume water through food as well. Cucumbers are a perfect example of a highly hydrating food. They have a water content of about 96%. Therefore, they are promoting water consumption, and they may help you reach your daily water intake goals. (*)
Additionally, keeping your body hydrated will help you have regular stools! (*)
Even though this veggie is mostly water, it also contains nutrients that will benefit your health! It is moderately rich in some micronutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.
Thanks to these micronutrients and other compounds, cucumbers have a strong antioxidant power. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that help fight oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals, and it’s the cause of many chronic diseases and cancers. Antioxidants work by binding to the free radicals and disabling their ability to cause oxidative stress.
Researchers did a study on 30 older adults and gave them cucumber powder for 30 days to examine the antioxidant activity of cucumber. At the end of the month-long study, all participants had improvement in their antioxidant status. (*)
Another study discovered that the antioxidants in this veggie are compounds in the groups called flavonoids and tannins. They are one of the most effective groups of antioxidants to combat free radicals. (*)
Additionally, animal test studies have shown that cucumbers can have blood sugar-lowering effects. In male mice, who were diabetic, cucumber peels helped reverse all the effects of the high blood sugar. (*) (*)
Can You Have Cucumber On The Keto Diet?
This popular vegetable is made up of 96% water. It is also extremely low in carbs. In 100 grams it contains just 15 calories. It has about 0.7 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat, 3.6 grams of total carbs out of which 0.5 grams are fiber and 3.1 are net carbs.
When you look at the nutritional information, you can see that this vegetable is easy to incorporate into any diet. It is low calorie and low in carbs, which is great for someone on a keto or a low-carb diet. It also has many health benefits and is a very hydrating food.
So, let’s answer the big question! Can you have cucumbers on the keto or a low-carb diet? The answer is YES it is keto-friendly! It is a whole food that you can eat in many different ways. Plus, if you want it to have even fewer carbs, peel the vegetable, and it will have just 1.5 grams of net carbs per 100 grams! (*)
You can make it a salad with other keto-friendly veggies, or eat it as a snack with a keto-friendly dipping sauce. Our recommendation is our Keto Cucumber Spicy Chicken Sushi Rolls that will have you drooling!
This veggie has just 3 grams of net carbs per 100 grams in unpeeled cucumber. Peeled cucumber has 1.5 grams of net carbs per 100 grams.
Yes, it is keto-friendly!
Cucumbers are grown as a vine. They were cultivated more than 3000 years ago in South Asia, but today they are cultivated on all continents. People use cucumbers in salads or as a snack with dipping sauce. They can also be pickled in brine, sugar, and spices.
They have a high water content, which makes them one of the most hydrating vegetables. Ensuring proper hydration is crucial for your body to function as it should. Apart from its water content, this veggie is also nutritious. It contains vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium. It also has antioxidant ability.
Apart from the health benefits, this veggie is also great for those who are on the keto diet and those on a low-carb diet. It is low in calories, but it is also low in carbs. Unpeeled cucumbers have 3 grams of net carbs per 100 grams, while peeled cucumbers have 1.5 grams net carbs per 100 grams. That makes it easy to incorporate into any diet, but make sure it fits in your daily carb allowance.
So, if you are on the keto or a low-carb diet, make sure you incorporate this healthy vegetable into your daily diet!