Cucumber During Pregnancy: Health Benefits And Side Effects

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When you need to cool your body in summers and want a low-calorie snack to deal with hunger pangs at work, a bowl of sliced cucumber is the best choice. A fruit by definition, cucumber is also great for weight loss.

But is it good for pregnant women? Can cucumbers cause any harm to you or the growing baby?

In this post, MomJunction tells you all that you need to know about eating cucumbers during pregnancy.

Is It Safe To Eat Cucumbers During Pregnancy?

You can eat small amounts of cucumber, although it is not usually recommended in the pregnancy diet. Cucumbers are known to cause allergic reaction, frequent urination due to excess water and salt content, and belching and indigestion (1). So, discuss with your healthcare provider before adding it to your regular diet, because they can do good too.

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How Cucumber Can Be Beneficial During Pregnancy

Though cucumbers are known to cause certain side effects when consumed during pregnancy, they are also known to be beneficial when taken in small amounts.

1. Low-calorie food

Cucumbers are low in calories, and can prevent obesity. They can keep you full for a longer time and prevent excess eating, thus avoiding weight gain.

2. High water content

Cucumbers contain about 96% water (2). You can keep yourself hydrated by consuming cucumber, in addition to drinking water (3).

3. Natural diuretic

The water content of cucumber acts as a diuretic (4), thus supporting the elimination of toxins. It also reduces swelling (5).

4. Cooling and cleansing

The cooling and cleansing property of fresh cucumber juice is helpful for skin nourishment and tightening (5).

5. B vitamins

The multiple B vitamins in cucumbers are known to boost your mood. They ease anxiety and might help reduce stress (6).

[ Read: Eating Radish During Pregnancy ]

6. Fiber

Cucumbers are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels whereas insoluble fiber softens stools and treats constipation, which is common during pregnancy (7).

7. Essential micronutrients

Rich in antioxidants (8) including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese (9), cucumbers help improve immunity and thus prevent contracting infections. Also, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iodine, and sulfur (10) are all important for fetal development and can prevent growth abnormalities.

9. Electrolytes

The availability of sodium and potassium electrolytes in cucumber juice helps regulate the blood pressure levels during pregnancy (11).

Next, we tell you about the nutritional facts of cucumber.

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Nutritional Value Of Cucumber

According to the USDA, the nutrition present in 100g of raw cucumber with peel is as follows (12):

Vitamin C2.8mg
Thiamine (Vit B1)0.027mg
Riboflavin (Vit B2)0.033mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.03mg
Pantothenic acid0.259mg
Pyridoxine (Vit B6)0.04mg
Vitamin A105IU
Vitamin K16.4mcg

g=grams; mg=milligrams; mcg=micrograms; IU=international unit

Though cucumbers have a high nutritional value, they can pose some risk when taken in excess amounts.

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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Cucumber During Pregnancy?

The downside of consuming cucumbers in excessive amounts include:

  1. Gas formation and indigestion (14).
  1. The excess water content in cucumbers will increase the frequency of urination, which could make you uncomfortable.
  1. Sometimes, cucumbers can cause allergic reactions resulting in itching and swelling.
  1. Cucumbers contain toxic substances such as cucurbitacins and tetracyclic triterpenoids, which are responsible for the bitter taste and are life-threatening when taken in excess amounts (15).

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[ Read: Avocados During Pregnancy ]

Can You Drink Cucumber Juice During Pregnancy?

Yes, you can have freshly made cucumber juice. Select firm and dark colored cucumbers, blend them and consume.

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How To Consume Cucumber In Pregnancy?

If your healthcare provider has given the go-ahead to consume cucumbers, you can enjoy the benefits by including it in your diet.

First, peel the cucumbers, since their skin contains toxic pesticides. Wash them at least for three to four minutes in running water and scrub them using a vegetable brush.

The best ways to consume cucumbers are:

  1. Salads: Combine cucumbers with tomatoes, onions or any other vegetables with little olive oil, salt, vinegar, and pepper. You can also make a delightful salad by combining cucumbers, black olives, chopped dill, avocado, and cress. This tastes good with kosher salt, olive oil, and lemon juice.
  1. Soup: Blend sliced cucumbers, red onions, garlic clove, chopped dill, olive oil and some sour cream. Once the puree is ready, refrigerate for about one to two hours. This is an excellent soup to have on hot and long summer days.
  1. Sandwiches: Cut thin slices of cucumber and put in between two slices of bread along with some unsalted butter, chopped mint leaves, and sour cream cheese. These make an ideal snack to go with a cup of green or mint tea.
  1. Tzatziki sauce: Combine one large, sliced cucumber, three tablespoons of plain or Greek yogurt, one tablespoon of fresh mint or dill, and one minced garlic clove. Add one tablespoon salt and three tablespoons lemon juice. Refrigerate the mixture for five to six hours, and serve as a salad dressing.
  1. Homemade pickle: Take three to five cups of water, one tablespoon of sugar, one tablespoon salt and 25 cups white vinegar. Boil the mixture and let it cool. Take four cups of cucumber spears, two heads fresh dill and two garlic cloves in a container. Add the chilled mixture over the vegetable, cover the lid and refrigerate for two to three days before consuming.

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Next, we answer a few commonly asked questions about eating cucumbers when pregnant.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is pickled cucumber safe during pregnancy?

Yes, it is safe to eat pickled cucumber but be watchful about the sodium intake. Go for home-made pickles, that too in minimal quantities.

2. Does craving cucumbers when pregnant tell something about baby’s gender?

According to old wives tales, craving for cucumbers can indicate that you are carrying a boy. However, this has no scientific value.

3. Can you eat cucumber seeds during pregnancy?

You cannot have excess amounts of cucumber seeds since they contain a compound called cucurbitacin (16). This is toxic and results in indigestion in some people, especially those who have a sensitive digestive system.

[ Read: Consuming Tomatoes During Pregnancy ]

4. Can cucumber cause miscarriage?

Cucumbers are not known to cause miscarriage; there are no studies to show an association between them.

Nevertheless, add cucumbers to your pregnancy diet in tiny quantities. If you feel alright, you might add a few more pieces but do not over-consume.

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Cucumbers are not completely bad for you, and it all depends on your medical condition and health. Talk to your healthcare provider to know if you can safely consume them. Most importantly, choose the organic varieties to ensure that you’re eating healthy.

Have any more interesting ideas about ways to include cucumber in pregnancy diets? Tell us about them in the comments section.

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Jyoti Benjamin

Jyoti Benjamin has 25 years of experience as a clinical dietitian and currently works in Seattle. She focuses on teaching people the value of good nutrition and helping them lead healthy lives by natural means. Benjamin has a masters in Foods and Nutrition, and has been a longtime member and Fellow of AND (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and the... more

Swati Patwal

Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist and toddler mom with over eight years of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children. Then she worked as a nutrition faculty and clinical nutrition coach in different organizations. Her interest in scientific writing... more