Cucumbers are some of our favorite fruitables. Like tomatoes, they live in that strange land between fruit and vegetable, but are technically a fruit from the same family as melons and squashes. And like tomatoes they hold many secrets.

Cucumbers come from Asia originally, but are now cultivated all over the world. They thrive in both temperate and tropical environments, and are easy to grow in the proper soil conditions.

There are hundreds of varieties of cucumbers. They range in color from white to yellow to dark green. They may be oval, elliptical, or round. Their flavor can be sweet bitter, or neutral. But they all have potent benefits.

1. Anti-inflammatory

Cucumbers have long been considered a cooling food. But recent research has discovered that they have anti-inflammatory properties that are more than skin deep. Cucumbers interfere with the development of inflammation by inhibiting the activity of certain inflammatory enzymes such as cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2). Cucumbers also help balance levels of nitric oxide, preventing them from becoming so high that excessive inflammation is triggered.

Cucumbers are an excellent source of silica. Silica strengthens the connective tissue, which along with a reduction in inflammatory enzymes makes for healthier joints. For these reasons eating cucumbers can also help relieve arthritis symptoms.

2. Hydration

If you have ever bitten into a cucumber on a hot day, you know how thirst quenching they can be. Cucumbers are 90 96 percent water. And its water that has been filtered by the cucumber stem, making it ultra-pure and full of trace minerals.

Those minerals are part of what makes cucumber so hydrating. It is not enough to just drink water to be hydrated, we also need minerals to balance electrolyte levels and support organ function. Cucumbers contain magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

These hydrating properties also mean that eating cucumbers can support weight loss. The water, nutrients, and fiber in cucumbers sweep toxins out of the body, which helps melt fat.

3. Skin Tonic

Those minerals that make cucumbers so hydrating also make them great for skin. Cucumbers are also high in silicon, which helps repair and regenerate skin tissue.

Cucumbers are a great way to cool off after too much sun exposure. Gently rub a cucumber slice over the affected area, or layer a few slices on a really bad burn.

Cucumbers can reduce the appearance of under eye puffiness and dark circles. Lie down with cucumber slices over your closed eyes for 15-20 minutes, a few times per week to take years off your face.

4. Kidney Health

In addition to the kidney support that comes from hydration, cucumbers directly improve the functioning of the kidneys by lowering uric acid levels. Cucumbers can even help dissolve kidney stones. To increase the kidney-supporting benefits, have carrots with the cucumbers.

5. Immunity

Cucumbers are high in antioxidants, especially vitamins A and C and beta-carotene. Antioxidants help scavenge free radicals from the body, which improves functioning of the immune system. Cucumbers are also high in vitamin K and molybdenum. Vitamin K is necessary for building bone and proper blood clotting.

6. Cholesterol

The sterols in cucumber can help lower LDL cholesterol levels. LDL is the bad type of cholesterol that interferes with liver functioning and contributes to heart disease. The high-fiber content of cucumbers also helps manage cholesterol levels, while the potassium and magnesium help balance blood pressure levels.

Cucumbers are another one of natures wonder food. Luckily they are easy to grow in many climates and quite delicious. Because of their high water content and similarity to melons, it is best to eat cucumber alone, just with other fruit, or with leafy green vegetables. Many of the nutrients are concentrated in the skin and seeds, so consume those parts of the cucumbers if you can.

Because cucumbers are highly susceptible to pesticides, seek out organic cucumbers whenever possible, or grow your own. If you do get conventionally grown cucumbers, thoroughly scrub the skin or remove it.

To get the bitterness out of raw cucumbers, cut a one-inch piece off one end of the cucumber. Rub this piece in a circular motion on exposed inside of the rest of the cucumber. The white foam this usually produces is the tannins being removed from the cucumber. You can rinse this foam off, or rub into your skin for a pore-tightening mask. Then enjoy this juicy fruitable as part of you healthy, life-giving diet.

Watch this video and try this delicious Cucumber Tomato Salad Recipe: