Fruits and veggies are the basis for most healthy diets, yet keto eschews some fruits if they’re high enough in carbohydrates. Naturally, that has you curious whether you can safely eat cucumbers on your keto diet. Are cucumbers keto?
Cucumbers are indeed keto, as a 100-gram serving contains only 3.6 grams of carbs. However, you’re not getting much protein from a serving of cucumber, so be sure to bolster your diet in other ways.
In today’s article, we’ll discuss how keto-safe cucumbers are and share some of our favorite keto recipes with cucumbers. You won’t want to miss it, so keep reading!
So, Are Cucumbers Keto-Safe?
To answer the question of whether cucumbers are a smart fruit choice (they are indeed fruits!) for those on the keto diet, we need to look at the nutritional profile of this long, green fruit.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture or USDA, a 100-gram serving of cucumber contains the following:
- 16 calories
- 1 grams of total fat
- 0 milligrams of cholesterol
- 2 milligrams of sodium
- 147 milligrams of potassium (4 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 6 grams of carbs (1 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 5 grams of dietary fiber (2 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 7 grams of sugar
- 7 grams of protein (1 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 4 percent vitamin C
- 1 percent iron
- 3 percent magnesium
- 1 percent calcium
Let’s say you were feeling hungry and wanted to eat an entire cucumber that measured 8 ¼ inches in diameter. This would be an approximately 301-gram serving. Here is the nutritional profile for a whole cucumber.
- 47 calories
- 3 grams of total fat
- 0 milligrams of cholesterol
- 6 milligrams of sodium
- 442 milligrams of potassium (12 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 11 grams of carbohydrates (3 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 5 grams of dietary fiber (6 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 5 grams of sugar
- 2 grams of protein (4 percent of your recommended daily value)
- 14 percent vitamin C
- 4 percent iron
- 5 percent vitamin B6
- 9 percent magnesium
- 4 percent calcium
Even at 11 grams per cucumber, that’s not a terrible amount of carbs for this cylindrical fruit. We’d only caution you against eating a whole cucumber on the keto diet if you’re limiting your carbs to about 20 grams a day.
At that limit, a whole cucumber would be half of your carb allowance for the day. If you’re eating between 40 and 50 grams of carbs per day though, then you’d still have 30 or 40 grams to work with.
If you eat smaller servings of cucumber, then 100 grams only contains 3.6 grams of carbs. Even on a 20-gram allowance, cucumber won’t bump up your carb load too much on keto!
The Health Benefits of Cucumbers
Why eat cucumbers? There are plenty of reasons, so let’s take a closer look now!
Keeps You Hydrated
Although drinking fluids is the best way to stay hydrated throughout the day, eating water-containing foods can be almost as good.
That’s especially true of certain fruits and vegetables, with the cucumber among them.
Cucumbers contain 96 percent water. Of all foods, cucumber has the highest water content, so you should certainly incorporate it into your diet for better hydration!
Could Help You Lose Weight
Given that cucumbers are mostly water, it makes sense that they contain so few calories. You can refer to the last section to see just how low-cal cucumbers really are.
Incorporating cucumbers and other low-calorie, high-water vegetables and fruits into your diet could be the key to weight loss.
A 2016 report in the journal Nutrients reviewed 13 studies that involved 3,628 participants in all. The participants were said to have a lower body weight due to eating this type of diet.
Might Reduce Blood Sugar
You’re not expecting cucumber to contain a lot of sugar, and you’d be right. That’s why it might be a key food in controlling blood sugar, which is crucial for diabetes patients.
According to a classic study published in The Journal of Ethnopharmacology, when the researchers studied 27 rabbits and the effect of diet on the animal’s blood sugar, the researchers confirmed that cucumbers lowered blood sugar.
Now, this is an animal study and so the results may not apply to people. That said, the findings of the study are promising enough that you should feel inclined to eat more cucumber even if you aren’t at risk of diabetes.
Contains Plenty of Nutrients and Antioxidants
Cucumber is way more than just water. The fruit also has manganese, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, and even some vitamin C.
Manganese regulates sex hormones and blood clotting while helping the body develop healthy bone and connective tissue.
Potassium manages our nerve signals, muscle contractions, and fluid balance and might be able to prevent kidney stones, osteoporosis, and stroke.
Magnesium controls our energy production as well as nerve and muscle function.
Vitamin K can produce four major proteins to clot blood (out of a possible 13) and vitamin C safeguards the body from free radical damage.
Cucumbers contain plenty of antioxidants too!
They Taste Good!
Even if you’re picky about the fruits and vegetables you consume due to the taste, cucumber barely tastes like anything. The texture is quite appealing too, so why not eat one?
Our Favorite Keto Cucumber Recipes
Outside of munching on cucumbers, you can also incorporate them naturally into many salads. Here are two of our favorite keto cucumber recipes.
Sour Cream and Lemon Cucumber Salad
This first recipe is courtesy of lifestyle blog Sweet as Honey. The flavorful salad contains only 4.2 grams of carbs and features cucumber as the starring ingredient.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Ground pepper (1/4 teaspoon)
- Garlic clove (1, crushed)
- Lemon juice (2 tablespoons)
- Erythritol (1 teaspoon)
- Fresh dill (1/4 cup, chopped fine)
- Dijon mustard (1 teaspoon)
- Mayonnaise (3 tablespoons)
- Sour cream (1/2 cup)
- Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
- English cucumbers (2, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch pieces)
Begin by peeling the cucumbers and cutting them into ¼-inch slices. Gently add the salt and toss.
Wait 20 minutes for the cucumbers to sweat, then drain the fluid.
Grab another bowl and mix your ingredients for the dressing. Add the cucumber and toss.
Put the salad in the fridge for an hour so the flavors incorporate.
Greek Cucumber Salad
Tangy, rich, and flavorful, this keto Greek cucumber salad recipe from The Best Keto Recipes makes a great lunch or side.
You’ll need these ingredients:
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Crumbled feta cheese (1/2 cup)
- Lemon juice (1 tablespoon)
- Olive oil (1/4 cup)
- Olives (1/4 cup)
- Jarred pepperoncini peppers (1/4 cup)
- Red onion (1/2 cup, chopped)
- Tomatoes (1 cup, chopped)
- Cucumbers (2, chopped)
Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Add the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil, tossing to incorporate. Stir in the feta cheese and serve.
Cucumbers are a light, low-cal, low-carb, heathy snack or meal that’s packed full of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants. Keto dieters can reach for this crunchy fruit as often as they wish and be healthier for it!