Fruit of African origin, the gherkin is more successful in northeastern cuisines, but is still shyly consumed in the South and Southeast of the country. It is a key ingredient in the preparation of beans, stews, salads and, of course, the famous maxixada.
But this food is not only highlighted by the flavor very similar to cucumber , it is also rich in nutrients that provide health benefits.
For example, it can help treat diabetes, strengthen the immune system, and help with weight loss .
“The fruit has a variety of names, depending on the region where it is found. The best known are Cucumis anguria L., common in the North and Northeast regions of Brazil, and the Greater Gherkin or Peruvian, Cyclanthera pedata (L.) Schrad , a fruit vegetable originally from South America”, explains the nutritionist Creuza Nunes.
In addition to these types, nutritionist Letícia Rocha cites the Japanese smooth. In this case, the bark is not prickly and there is no bitterness in the taste. As with the others, the consumption of this variety contributes to tissue healing .
Benefits of gherkin
“It has nutrients such as zinc, which is a very important mineral for the proper functioning of our body. In addition, it is a source of mineral salts such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C ”, says Rocha.
And Nunes adds: “it also has B vitamins, in addition to being a good source of fiber .”
Helps in the treatment of diabetes
Nutritionists recommend consumption among people with diabetes.
“The diabetic patient can use it without any problem. The gherkin has fiber, which is an important nutrient to control the level of blood glucose in the bloodstream”, indicates Creuza Nunes.
It manages to provide an adequate balance in the diet of diabetics. For this, it is necessary to consume it daily and varying with other vegetables such as green leaves, eggplant, jilo, cucumber, tomato , onion , okra , chayote etc. ( 1 )
Strengthens the immune system
For nutrition specialist, Letícia Rocha, the immune system can be strengthened due to the antioxidant action present in this food. It manages to block the action of free radicals, responsible for cell degradation and death. For this reason, it increases the body’s immunity, preventing illnesses.
The zinc is another component with important biological role in strengthening the immune system. This is because the deficiency of this mineral increases the chances of the individual to have infections and other diseases. ( 2 )
A guide from the Ministry of Health provides guidelines on nutrition for people with HIV , in order to help these patients to have a balanced meal, keeping the body stronger and healthier.
Among these foods are gherkin, chayote, zucchini, green beans and others, with the recommendation to consume 3 to 5 servings a day. ( 3 )
Creuza Nunes explains that the fruit in question has anti-inflammatory and healing action, improving internal and external injuries . All this thanks to zinc, an essential element to accelerate the healing process. ( 2 )
Helps in men’s health
Nutritionists also highlight the fight and prevention of prostate problems in patients who regularly consume gherkin.
An article published by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) explains that this action comes from zinc , as one of the functions of the prostate is the accumulation of this mineral.
In fact, what happens is quite simple, zinc stays in the mitochondria of prostate cells. There, it inhibits terminal oxidation, avoiding several problems, especially the appearance of tumors. ( 4 )
Fibers are placed as compounds that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, one of the main causes of premature death in Brazil.
And no wonder they gained this fame, as they are capable of lowering blood cholesterol levels. In addition, they also help to regulate high blood pressure . ( 2 )
For these reasons, the maxixe is placed by the Ministry of Health in the group of cardioprotective foods. Therefore, they should be consumed more frequently. ( 5 )
Helps in weight loss
Finally, a benefit that appeals to many consumers: weight loss power.
“It has a low caloric value, each 100 g of gherkin has about 14 calories only, in addition to having a good source of fiber, which helps in the satiety process for those looking to lose weight. Remembering that it is also important to have an adequate diet and a frequency of physical activity for greater results”, recalls nutritionist Creuza Nunes.
|100 gram serving||Amount per serving|
|Energetic value||14 Kcal|
|C vitamin||9,6 mg|
* Daily reference values based on a 2000kcal or 8400kj diet. Your daily values can be higher or lower depending on your energy needs. Data taken from TACO, revised and expanded edition.
This fruit can be eaten raw, cooked or sautéed. It can be the main ingredient or add to another recipe. But regardless of the way used in the kitchen, it must undergo thorough cleaning .
“First of all, wash under running water with the help of a brush (use only for vegetables). Then, remove the ends of the skin with the help of a knife, cut in half and slice”, advises nutritionist, Letícia Rocha.
For those who want to eat it raw, Creuza Nunes recommends scraping the fruit with a knife or removing a very thin skin, avoiding waste. While preparing recipes, the nutritionist indicates some seasonings that combine perfectly, such as: salt, oil, lemon , chives and pepper.
- 20 gherkins cut into slices
- 1 chopped red or white onion
- 1 chopped tomato
- 1 chopped pepper
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- cilantro to taste
- Olive oil
- 450 ml of coconut milk
- Salt and black pepper to taste.
Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil. Then add the tomato and pepper, mixing all the ingredients well.
Add the gherkin, stir once more and add the spices (salt and pepper). Finally, add the coconut milk, stir and bring to a boil with the pan closed. The ideal point is when the gherkin is very soft.
Stew with okra
Bela Gill explains in this video some nutrients and benefits of gherkin. In addition, it teaches you how to stew with okra. The recipe is very simple and takes few ingredients, follow it!
How to make beans with gherkin?
- 200 g of cooked beans , with the cooking broth
- 6 gherkins, scraped and cut into 4 parts
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 1 small onion cut into cubes
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 1/2 cup (of tea) of green scent
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Let the onion and garlic brown in the oil. Then add the beans together with salt and pepper. As soon as the broth boils, add the gherkins. They should stay on the fire until cooked and then add the chives and parsley. Turn off heat and serve with white rice. ( 6 )
Nutritionists recommend the preparation of gherkin as a stew, see how to do it!
- 6 to 8 maxixes
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 chopped tomato
- 1 pinch of paprika
- Chopped cilantro and chives
- Pepper and salt to taste.
Put the oil in a pan and let the garlic and onion brown. Add the pepper, paprika, tomato and let it cook.
Add the gherkins, add enough water to cover them and cook over medium heat. Add the salt, stir from time to time until they are soft. When it’s almost done, just before removing the pan from the heat, add the green scent (cilantro and chives).
“The raw gherkin can be used as a salad to replace cucumber. For salads, prefer greener fruits, which have not yet formed seeds”, recommends Creuza Nunes.
- 8 gherkins washed, scraped and cut into slices
- 1/2 cup (of tea) of white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley and chives
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. The tip is to serve the cold salad. ( 6 )
Gherkin vinaigrette with grilled chicken
- 500 g of chicken breast cut into fillets and seasoned with salt, garlic and lemon juice to taste
- 5 tablespoons of oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 crushed garlic
- 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of chopped gherkin
- 2 tablespoons of vinegar
- 1/2 cup of parsley and chopped chives.
First, heat a non-stick skillet and grill the chicken fillets until they are golden brown, then set them aside. In the same pan, add olive oil, onion and garlic, letting them cook. Add the tomato and gherkin later, until they are shriveled. At this point, turn off the heat, add the vinegar, parsley and chives. Finish by placing the mixture on top of the fillets and serving. ( 7 )
Harms of consumption: is there a contraindication?
According to nutritionist Letícia Rocha, there are no contraindications in the consumption of gherkin. However, it is important to choose well when buying. “Avoid consumption when it starts to change color (becoming yellow), because it gets bitter in preparations”, warns the specialist.