If you haven’t purchased cucumbers recently, you should add them to your next grocery list! These humble veggies (which are really a fruit) are part of the Cucurbitaceae gourd family that includes melon, squash, and pumpkin.
Originating in Southern Asia, there are three primary varieties of cuke: pickling, burpless, and slicing. The most popular (and well known in North America) is the slicing cucumber which is long and green with a uniform skin tone and color.
The benefits of cucumbers might surprise you because you truly don’t hear much about them in the media. They are inexpensive and readily available at grocers, big box stores, and your local farmer’s market.
Top 5 Benefits of Cucumbers
1. Hydration: Cucumbers are an excellent option if you have trouble getting enough water each day. By volume, they are more than 90% water and much like their cousin the watermelon, give you a water boost without a glass. The water and nutrients also boost skin, nail, and hair health! If you’re suffering from indulging in too much alcohol the night before, a glass of cucumber water works even faster to rehydrate your cells and clear your head than water alone.
2. Weight Loss Helper: Cucumbers have few calories. An entire cup of cucumber contains only 16 calories and a shockingly low glycemic index! They are an excellent option to fill out salads, sandwiches, and smoothies that give a satisfying crunch, plenty of water content, and are basically a “free” food for diabetics and those looking to control their weight.
3. Anti-Inflammatory: One of the greatest benefits of cucumbers is their anti-inflammatory properties. With their vitamin C, manganese, beta-carotene, and more, their content of cucurbitacins have been shown in several scientific studies to be particularly good at fighting free radicals and lowering the heat of inflammation. These same qualities also aid in the relief of heartburn and ease sunburn when applied directly to the skin. Lower inflammation throughout the body protects your brain, heart, joints, and skin.
4. Detoxifying: The lignans (and water content) found in cukes are excellent at “cleansing” the digestive system and flushing excess estrogen. Too much estrogen in the body can lead to cancers of the reproductive organs. They’ve also shown to be beneficial in the resolution of kidney stones. They are a natural, safe diuretic and the fiber content is outstanding for keeping the gut in great shape!
5. Anti-Aging: Cucumbers are one of the most popular ingredients used in spas and there are plenty of reasons why. They can be applied to the eyes to reduce puffiness or dark circles. They are effective against the bacteria that cause bad breath. It is a primary additive to many masks because it is revitalizing and refreshing, giving your skin a firm, natural glow. It has been shown effective to even tone, improve complexion, and tighten pores. The silica in them improves skin elasticity – especially important as we age.
Truly, the water content is one of the most universally wonderful benefits of cucumbers. It is estimated that 70% of the United States population is consistently suffering from dehydration and may not even know it.
Experts recommend that you should consume half an ounce of water per pound of bodyweight for the average person and one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight if you are physically active, live in a dry or hot climate, or have a job that keeps you outside regularly.
Since your body is two-thirds water, making sure you get enough every day is essential to good health. This recipe (put your own spin on it) will make it easier to get the water you need.
Cucumber and Mint Water
- 1 gallon filtered water
- 2 medium cucumbers, washed and sliced thin (leave the peels on)
- 6 sprigs of peppermint or 4 peppermint herbal tea bags
- ½ sliced lemon, lime, or orange (optional)
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until chilled. This infused water is quick and easy to make and you’re going to love the way it makes you feel.
If you’re in search of a delicious salad for the hot summer months, try this recipe now! No cooking required!
Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad
- 2 medium cucumbers, washed and chopped (leave the peels on)
- 2 medium avocados, pitted and diced
- 2 large tomatoes, washed and chopped
- ½ red onion, diced
- ¼ cup cilantro or Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 large lime, juiced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl, toss gently, and chill for at least one hour. Stir lightly and serve.
This cool summer salad makes an excellent side for meat or seafood dishes.
Stock up on this versatile, delicious, and inexpensive produce right now and invite the cool and extensive benefits of the cucumber into your daily health regimen.