Hydration 101: Cucumber vs Tap water vs Isotonic drinks

Cucumber is good for weight loss, hydration, and helping recore faster.

Cucumber contains lots of electrolytes, making it ideal for hot days, that we tend to sweat more. Moreover, cucumber is good for athletes, or people who want to lose weight. Certainly, cucumber can hydrate you effectively, helping you recover faster from workout…

Cucumber is low in calories

Cucumber has only a few calories. According to the USDA, 100 gr has only 12 calories.

Particularly, a cucumber has about 20 calories.

That’s ideal if you want to lose weight.

It is water, rich in minerals

Moreover, cucumber is mainly water. 96% is water.

So, cucumber can keep you hydrated. But, why cucumber can hydrate you more efficiently than water?

Cucumber has lots of minerals. Therefore, cucumber doesn’t only hydrate you. Its provides minerals, as well.

As minerals are lost when we sweat, we need more than just water. We need mineralized water. Cucumber is practically water, rich in minerals.

Keeps you full for a long time

Cucumber is good for weight loss, for another reason. It keeps you full for a longer time.

A cucumber not only has a few calories, but it’s also mainly water. Just a cucumber may provide more than 250 grams of water.

So, cucumber can fill the stomach. Sensors in stomach send signals that it’s full. Therefore, we don’t feel hunger.

Cucumber is good for weight loss

Consequently, cucumber is good for weight loss. Just 100 gr (half of a medium cucumber):

  • is low in calories (only 12 calories),
  • keep you full,
  • is low in sugars (less than 1.5 gr),
  • has dietary fiber,
  • is low in fat (less than 0.2 gr),
  • can hydrate you.

Cucumber vs isotonic drinks vs water

We want water for the proper function of the body. Especially after exercise.

When we exercise in a hot environment, we tend to sweat. Good hydration is the key, for athletic performance and health. Runners could benefit the most.

Why tap water isn’t the best option for hydration?

Want to hydrate instantly? Drink water. This isn’t the best solution, though.

When sweating, we lose more than water. We lose minerals. Therefore, we should replace minerals. as well.

Tap water doesn’t contain significant amounts of minerals.

Fruits and vegetables can hydrate you after running

So, the best option is eating many fruits and vegetables. Especially green juices are mainly water, enriched with vitamins and minerals.

Imagine that fruits and vegetables are natural water filters. They filter water, providing the purest water we can drink. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables enrich it with minerals and vitamins.

Fruits not only hydrate you, but also protects your skin. They have powerful anti-aging effects:

  • pomegranate juice has linked to healthy skin. It contains compounds that prevent sun damage to the skin.
  • citrus fruit juice can hydrate you, as well. All citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, they can naturally increase collagen concentration in the skin.
  • strawberries and cherries contain high amounts of melatonin. Melatonin can act as a powerful skin antioxidant, protecting from skin aging from sun rays.

Moreover, green juices are low in sugars.

On the contrary, fruit juices aren’t the best option, due to the high sugar content. Prefer to eat whole fruits.

On the other hand, you eat fruits adding them in smoothies. Fiber in fruits won’t let instant spike of the blood sugar.

Why do we need electrolytes after running?

Essential minerals for the human body are called electrolytes. These important minerals are sodiumpotassium, chloridecalcium, and magnesium.

Electrolytes are so important for many functions of the body. They regulate:

  • muscle contraction,
  • the pH of the blood,
  • the fluids in the body.
  • nerve signals.

Therefore, athletes, runners, and active people should worry about electrolyte imbalances.

We can get electrolyte imbalances after losing body fluids. For instance, on excessive sweating or fever.

Additionally, drinking water may cause even greater electrolyte imbalances. More fluids, without intake of the lost minerals isn’t good for you. For instance, you may experience muscle cramps, when electrolytes in your body are out of balance.

That’s the reason, long-distance runners consume electrolytes, in order, to avoid leg cramps. Any amateur athlete should concern about adequate electrolyte intake, as well.

Are isotonic drinks good for hydration after exercise?

Isotonic drinks contain water, hydrating salts, minerals and sugars.

The most common sugar types are glucose, sucrose, and fructose. These types of sugar provide instant fuel to the body. Therefore, they are essential during demanding and time-consuming exercise. On the contrary, we don’t need them on short workouts.

Glycogen is the fuel of the body. We burn both glycogen and fat during exercise. Long runs depletes glycogen stores of the body. Sugar from isotonic drinks provides instant energy. This energy is vital for athletes.

So, should you drink isotonic drinks during running?

Many studies have shown that isotonic drinks may improve athletic performance. Maybe they are good for demanding workouts that last more than 1 hour. In this case, they provide an instance source of energy.

On the other hand, isotonic drinks are mainly sugary water. Don’t buy them if you don’t exercise more than an hour or you don’t exercise intensely.

Certainly, look at the nutrition facts label. A good isotonic drink should have chloride, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. All are essential minerals, lost on sweat.

But, if you don’t want to waste your money, and also want the best possible recovery, prefer vegetables and fruits for your hydration…

They contain all the minerals you need. So, if you eat healthy, before and after a workout, you won’t experience any mineral imbalances.

Is cucumber rich in electrolytes?

Cucumber contains many minerals and all the important electrolytes. Just a cucumber contains:

  • Calcium (39 mg),
  • Iron (0.6 mg),
  • Magnesium (33 mg),
  • Phosphorus (58 mg),
  • Potassium (381 mg),
  • Sodium (5 mg),
  • Zinc (0.4 mg),
  • Copper (0.2 mg),
  • Selenium (0.3 mcg).

So, cucumber not only can hydrate you, but also contains so many minerals.

Moreover, many fruits and vegetables are rich in minerals. Probably, zinc, iron, or calcium intake may be a little tricky in a whole food plant-based diet. Therefore, eat many of zinc, iron, or calcium-rich foods.

Health benefits of cucumber

According to a 2012 study, cucumber is good for you, as it has many health benefits.

Cucumber has anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-constipation, anti-diabetic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, analgesic, wound healing, cosmetic, and antioxidant properties (1,2).

Also, it has lipid-lowering activity, helping you lose weight.

Most noteworthy, cucumber has a cleansing action. It can remove chemical toxins from the body. Eat many foods rich in chlorophyll for the best results.

Furthermore, cucumber is gentle to the skin. It can relieve sunburn’s pain, and skin irritations.

Moreover, cucumber seeds can help in constipation problems.

Many of these health benefits are due to the unique powerful compounds in cucumber.

For instance, cucumber is rich in phytochemicals, such as flavonoids, and alkaloids (1). Powerful antioxidants.

Certainly, eating organic cucumber with the skin in salads or smoothies is good for your body. Tastes great too.

So, is cucumber good for muscle recovery & hydration?

A 2017 study showed that alkaline water is better than regular water (3). Especially after anaerobic exercise.

Most noteworthy, alkaline water can improve anaerobic performance and post-exercise recovery.

Athletes had a smaller recovery time, even after really demanding workouts, such as high-intensity interval training.

On the other hand, dehydration may lead to fatigue and poor athletic performance. Even to muscle cramping. 

Alkaline water is water that has a higher pH level, due to high mineral content.

Cucumber provides more benefits than alkaline water, though. Not only it’s mainly pure water, but also it’s high in minerals.

A whole food plant-based diet provides these alkalizing effects. There is no need to buy alkalized water, if you consume fruits and vegetables rich in minerals. Other good examples are watermelon and wheatgrass powder

So, cucumber is good for you if you want to recover faster and quality hydration after a long run.

Certainly, it’s good for you, if you want to lose weight. Low in calories, rich in nutrients…

Sources:

  • A 2018 study: Phytochemical and proximate composition of cucumber
  • Cucumber-A Natural Medicine and its therapeutic potential
  • Biology of Sport: The effect of mineral-based alkaline water on hydration status and the metabolic response to short-term anaerobic exercise