A staple green in many a salad or green juice but one whose nutritional benefits have become somewhat forgotten amongst the sea of exotic superfoods currently on the market. In this weeks Skinfood Spotlight we’re celebrating the alkalising, skin restoring and collagen promoting Cucumis Sativus, or as it is more commonly known – the humble cucumber.
Belonging to the botanical plant family called Curcubitaceae which includes watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin, melons and squashes – like its relatives, cucumber is rich in water (96% to be precise) and dense in essential skinfood nutients including a host of B vitamins, A, C and most importantly silica!
One of the biggest components of youth promoting collagen, this trace mineral present in cucumber contributes to both the growth and maintenance of connective tissue throughout the body – most notably promoting skin healing and regeneration. Great for repairing free radical damage, silica works to encourage the elimination of harmful toxins released during the digestive process which can seep into the bloodstream and contribute to inflammation and skin disturbances.
Functioning as powerful cell protectant – the antioxidants present within cucumber have been shown to help neutralize free radicals, support the integrity and function of the skin cells and even assist in minimizing the exposure of the skin to harmful UV rays! The antioxidants present have also been proven to work as an anti-inflammatory that inhibits the formation of skin hyper-pigmentation.
Highly alkaline, the minerals within the juice of cucumber effectively assists in regulating the body’s blood pH and neutralizing acidity making it a great addition to your #skinfood diet. Additionally, cucumbers have been shown to deactivate the activity of certain pro-inflammatory enzymes whilst preventing the overproduction of nitric oxide also known to result in increased inflammation which can lead to excessive acidity in the body.
The array of B vitamins present within cucumber are particularly beneficial for those suffering from conditions such as acne – an inflammation of the skin sometimes thought to be aggravated by a deficiency in vitamin B. Referred to as the ‘anti-stress vitamin’, B5 more specifically has been shown to help minimise and even heal skin conditions such as acne (especially when combined with vitamin C which cucumbers also contain) by assisting the body in the breakdown of triglycerides and cholesterol, fats within the blood known as lipids that can inadvertently contribute to the formation of inflammatory skin conditions.
Adequate intake of vitamin B5 has also been shown to be an effective way of ensuring a healthy digestive tract – something you’ll know all too well is what we’d describe as one of the key precursors to clear skin.
So there you have it – a brief breakdown of one of our favourite skin-foods that will never go out of fashion. For a double dose enjoy it both orally and topically to experience the full effect of its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. For glowing skin try De Mamiel’s Dewy Facial Mist and to rejuvenate and lighten the delicate under eye area give Jane Iredales Active Light Under Eye Concealer a go. And for a dose of delicious #skinfood nourishment from the inside out, add cucumber to your morning green juices, afternoon smoothies or spiralise it in place of courgetti (recipe here).
Vora, J. D., Rane, L., & Kumar, S. A. (2014). Biochemical, Anti-microbial and Organoleptic Studies of Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus) . International Journal Of Science and Research , 662-664.
Di Gu, J. V. (2008). Inhibiting melanin production and transfer at numerous points along the biosynthetic pathway; includes multiple pigmentation inhibitors, cell protectants and a functional ingredient penetration enhancer. Grant Publishing.