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That it’s really a fruit, not a vegetable, was once the most interesting thing about the cucumber. However, a study conducted by the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego has now officially elevated the packed-lunch sandwich staple to superfood status. Despite its water content of 95%, it seems cucumber’s health benefits don’t begin and end with a negligible calorie count. The scientists observed some potentially life-saving benefits at the cellular level. Allow us to explain.
A natural part of the ageing process involves the rise in number of so-called senescent cells – those that are decaying and outdated – in healthy tissue, causing it to lose its function over time. When these cells accumulate, the chances of them becoming cancerous and spreading through your system rise sharply. Eliminating the build-up of these potentially harmful cells is the job of senolytics, a class of molecules with the potential to prevent a host of age-related diseases.
The scientists discovered that one of the best senolytics available is a naturally occurring compound in cucumbers: fisetin not only performs a surgical strike on worn-out cells, but it also significantly decreases inflammation, another major factor in the advance of old age and the accompanying rise in cancer risk. With nearly 50,000 new cases of prostate cancer recorded every year in the UK, this refreshingly simple way to bolster your defences is surely worth chewing over.