Adding cucumbers to salads or sandwiches is a simple, low-calorie way to boost your intake of potassium, vitamins C and K, and beneficial antioxidants. Although their high water content and appreciable amount of insoluble fiber generally promote digestive health, certain cucumbers -- particularly those with more seeds -- can cause minor symptoms of indigestion.
Garden cucumbers, also known as common cucumbers, can be found in most produce aisles. This field-grown vegetable has semismooth, dark green skin and slightly tapered ends, and it contains more seeds than most other varieties. Cucumber seeds are a good source of insoluble fiber, the kind that promotes digestive efficiency and helps prevent constipation. For people who find them harder to process, however, eating these seeds can cause belching or other minor digestive problems.
If you have trouble digesting regular cucumbers, it may not be because of the seeds. Garden cucumbers are often waxed to retain moisture and extend shelf life. Eating a waxy peel may lead to slight indigestion, particularly if you have a sensitive stomach. Common cucumbers also contain cucurbitacin, an organic compound that tastes bitter in high concentrations. Eating bitter cucumbers can cause stomach cramps and diarrhea, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension.
English cucumbers, the long, smooth-skinned kind that come wrapped in plastic, are a good alternative for people who have difficulty digesting garden cucumbers. Also known as the “burpless” variety, these cucumbers are seedless and rarely waxed.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Cucumber, With Peel, Raw
- The Cook’s Thesaurus: Cucumbers
- Oregon State University Extension Service: Cucumber Bitterness Explained
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: Bitterness in Cucumber and Zucchini
- Wellness Foods A to Z: An Indispensable Guide for Health-Conscious Food Lovers; Sheldon Margen, M.D.
- Photo Credit showcake/iStock/Getty Images
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