TikTok is no stranger to a viral food or wellness trend with the video sharing platform, but while some are somewhat dubious in their health boosting claims, the latest eating craze could have some important benefits for gut health.
The hashtag #cucumbersalad is the current foodie fad du jour, clocking up 558M views this week alone, and 30M users searching for #cucumbersaladrecipe.
The humble cucumber is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes the squash and different kinds of melon, and contains various nutrients while also being low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium.
Cucumbers are a staple ingredient of many everyday salads, owing to the fact it contains lots of water and has a cooling and refreshing impact on the palette, but experts say an entire salad of the green stuff comes with a whole host of potential benefits including:
Hydration and detoxification throughout the body
Helping to aid weight loss
Contributing to better skin and a glowy complexion
Helping to regulate blood pressure
But perhaps the most important plus point of the cucumber salad currently taking over our feeds can be found in the gut.
"As well as being a tasty snack between meals, TikTok’s viral cucumber salad provides several benefits for your body, most notably by improving your gut health," explains Rhysa Phommachanh, health expert at Landys Chemist.
"Improving your gut health is especially important as it can be the root of improvement within your overall health, from seeing reduced inflammation and pain to regular and pain-free bowel movements."
Gut health benefits of #cucumbersalad
So, why is the cucumber salad so good for our gut health? For a start cucumbers are made up of more than 95% of water which helps to soften our stools, prevent constipation and keep our bowel movements regular.
"The high soluble fibre found in cucumbers also acts as a coolant in the stomach and helps to slow our digestion by breaking down and absorbing nutrients; this helps us to avoid constipation and bloating," Phommachanh adds.
Pickling cucumbers has been found to boost these benefits further, which is where the TikTok salad comes into play.
"When fermented, even a little as the recipe encourages, cucumbers are probiotic-rich which stops unhealthy bacteria from growing in your stomach and ultimately prevents minor stomach issues," Phommachanh continues.
Of course, you should watch out for how much of the salad you consume on a weekly basis, especially if you’re looking to reduce your salt intake.
"Pickled cucumbers are high in sodium due to the brining process, and as the viral TikTok recipe contains salt to taste, this can increase sodium levels if you’re a fan of salt!" Phommachanh continues.
"Consuming too much in your daily diet can contribute to high blood pressure, so be sure to moderate how much you’re consuming."
How to make the perfect cucumber salad
Phommachanh outlines the six simple steps for recreating January’s most viral health craze:
1 - Chop your cucumbers into bite-size pieces (you can create the fancy spirals seen on TikTok, or slices are fine!) and add these to a bowl
2 - Toss in some salt, this helps to drain excess moisture and allow the cucumbers to sit for 5 minutes (5 minutes is fine, you don’t want to remove too much of the cucumber’s natural water!)
3 - Pat dry, and throw in some garlic and spring onion
4 - Add in 1 tsp of chilli flakes along with 1 tsp of sugar, and toss together
5 - Add in 1 tsp of rice vinegar and 1 tbsp of sesame oil
6 - Mix well, and enjoy!
Read more on gut health:
Gut health: Foods to eat and avoid to improve your wellbeing(Yahoo Life UK, 8-min read)
Scientists can predict the onset of colon cancer by looking at your gut bacteria (Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read)
3 yoga poses that can aid digestion and improve gut health (Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read)
Watch: Try these probiotic-rich foods to boost your gut health