Belly fat or “spare tire” gets a lot of attention thanks to its potential health risks like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer.1 It’s no secret that losing belly fat isn’t easy. To fight belly fat, you definitely need something that’s low in both fat and calories. That’s why cucumber, which is rich in fiber and minerals and has very few calories (1/2 cup sliced cucumbers offers 8 Cal) might be the answer to trimming your waist once and for all.
Belly fat may just be bloating or water retention due to constipation, food intolerance, overeating, bacterial irritation, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).2 Or it can be fat that accumulates with age, declining metabolic rate, high cholesterol and blood glucose, hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, and menopause.
Cucumber has zero fat, low calories, negligible sugar, and many minerals and vitamins like A, C, and K. With 95% water content, it is a filling snack. Moreover, it eases constipation and reduces gas and bloating by flushing out toxins. It also lowers total cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose, high levels of which contribute to a bulging belly. Here are 5 reasons to have cucumber for belly fat.
1. Detoxes And Reduces Bloating
To alleviate the bloated look around your tummy, the body needs to continuously flush out toxins. This is where cucumber seeds come in. They act as a diuretic, helping pass urine and flushing out excess water and toxins. This can help reduce bloating and tighten your stomach muscles. Unsurprisingly, these awesome diuretic properties are well acknowledged by Ayurveda practitioners.3
2. Eases Constipation
Any indigestion or constipation can also add to that pesky bloating. Fortunately, cucumbers can help remedy this, thanks to their high water and fiber content. A diet rich in raw cucumber can also keep the gut clean and free from constipation.4
3. Soothes Stomach Irritation
Gastric ulcers can cause unpleasant bloating in the stomach area.5 Cucumber, however, is a demulcent. This means it can soothe inflammation and can ease stomach lining irritations. Which is why Unani medicine, a form of alternative medicine, uses cucumbers to help ease and treat gastric ulcers.6
4. Offers A Fat-Free Source Of Energy
Studies show that successful fat and weight loss depends on fat intake and not necessarily overall calories. Cucumber happens to have zero fat and low calories. So, even if you’ve already eaten and are still craving a snack, cucumber is an excellent choice no matter the time of the day. Just don’t add a cheesy dip!7
5. Lowers LDL Cholesterol And Blood Glucose
Cucumbers might even improve cholesterol levels by lowering total cholesterol and decreasing triglycerides. An animal study found that cucumber extracts brought down total cholesterol by 29% in test subjects. Plus, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol dropped by 86% and triglycerides by 72%. It’s pretty impressive.
The ethanol extract of cucumbers also significantly reduced blood glucose levels. Researchers linked the anti-hyperglycemic (lowering high blood glucose) and cholesterol-lowering effects to the saponins and flavonoids in the cucumber.8
But why does that matter? Well, belly fat has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Keeping your sugar levels in check might actually lower your risk.
Have Cucumber Juice To Reduce Belly Fat
A good way to pack in the power of several nutritional goodies in one dish is to juice it up. Nutritionists and Ayurvedic practitioners alike recommend a juice detox to cleanse regularly. It can also kick-start your weight loss journey. Cucumber juice is often a star in these detox drinks.
Looking for some ideas? Try this popular juice combo with cucumber, lemon juice, ginger, aloe vera, and cilantro. Blend these together and drink up once a day.
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
- A handful of cilantro
- 2 tablespoons of aloe vera juice
- 1 cup water
Or Have Cucumber Salad
Or if you are in the mood for a salad, mix the same ingredients barring the water. You may also want to add just 1/2 a tablespoon of aloe vera juice as it doesn’t taste that great.
Here’s why this combination makes sense
- Lemon and other citrus fruits can increase the body’s metabolic rate, helping in weight loss and maintenance. It’s even patented!9
- Ginger, in several studies, has proven to have very beneficial effects in weight loss. Ginger fires up the metabolism. The antioxidants in ginger also fight inflammation in the digestive tract, keeping digestion running smoothly.10
- Aloe vera can reduce lipid levels. This aids in weight loss and stops the negative effects of excess blood fat, like clogged arteries. It also stimulates the metabolic rate, which helps for the consumption of more energy. This process stabilizes and reduces the body mass index (BMI).11
Together, these ingredients make a potent weight loss drink that works from the inside – on the digestive system, metabolism, and blood lipids.
Weight loss and fat loss is challenging. The average American lifestyle doesn’t help, either. It’s full of processed foods and chronic nutritional overload, marked by eating too much. These factors overwhelm the body, eventually slowing down metabolism.12
So to kick-start your metabolism, eat fewer calories, and bring down bloating, make cucumber a staple in the weight loss diet.
|↑1||Belly fat boosts risk of dying of heart disease. Harvard Health Publications.|
|↑2||Abdominal bloating. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑3||Changade, Jayashree V., and Anil H. Ulemale. “Rich Source of Neutraceuticle: Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber).” International Journal of Ayurveda and Pharma Research 3, no. 7 (2015).|
|↑4||Rahman, A. H. M. M., M. Anisuzzaman, Ferdous Ahmed, A. K. M. Rafiul Islam, and A. T. M. Naderuzzaman. “Study of nutritive value and medicinal uses of cultivated cucurbits.” Journal of Applied Sciences Research 4, no. 5 (2008): 555-558.|
|↑5||Peptic Ulcers. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑6||Jamal, Anwar, Aisha Siddiqui, A. Tajuddin, and M. A. Jafri. “A review on gastric ulcer remedies used in Unani System of Medicine.” Nat Prod Rad 5, no. 2 (2006): 153-59.|
|↑7||Kendall, Anne, David A. Levitsky, Barbara J. Strupp, and Lauren Lissner. “Weight loss on a low-fat diet: consequence of the imprecision of the control of food intake in humans.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 53, no. 5 (1991): 1124-1129.|
|↑8||Sharmin, R., M. R. I. Khan, Most A. Akhtar, A. Alim, M. A. Islam, A. S. M. Anisuzzaman, and M. Ahmed. “Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of cucumber, white pumpkin and ridge gourd in alloxan induced diabetic rats.” Journal of Scientific Research 5, no. 1 (2012): 161-170.|
|↑9||Jones, Dennis. “Regulation of appetite, body weight and athletic function with materials derived from citrus varieties.” U.S. Patent 6,224,873, issued May 1, 2001.|
|↑10||Hasani-Ranjbar, Shirin, Neda Nayebi, Bagher Larijani, and Mohammad Abdollahi. “A systematic review of the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines used in the treatment of obesity.” World journal of gastroenterology: WJG 15, no. 25 (2009): 3073.|
|↑11||Vogler, B. K., and E. Ernst. “Aloe vera: a systematic review of its clinical effectiveness.” Br J Gen Pract 49, no. 447 (1999): 823-828.|
|↑12||Robbins, James. “Why AMPK Levels Decline.” Life Extension Magazine, 2014.|