10 Amazing things to know about the humble cucumber

At one stage or another, you must have seen an advertisement whether on tv, online, or in a magazine talking about a cucumber, especially when it comes to skin products. Cucumbers are considered worldwide as the beauty vegetable. Whether used externally or internally the cucumber produces results that make you look and feel beautiful but how does a cucumber do this?  Simple, the high water content combined with the various vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals provide the body with exactly what it needs to rejuvenate and revitalise itself… but there is more to the humble cucumber than eye treatments,  face masks, and creams.

Cucumber in water
Credit: Alexander Duncan

BENEFITS OF CUCUMBER

Constipation

Cucumber has high levels of alkalinity and offers soluble fibre which helps improve bowel functioning. The high water content in cucumbers performs a cleansing action in the body, removing waste and toxins. Mixed with coconut water, cucumber juice can also help restore electrolyte balance in people feeling the effects of dehydration. 

Rehydrates body and replenishes daily vitamins

Cucumbers are made of up to 95 percent water, keeping the body hydrated while helping the body eliminate toxins. Don’t forget to leave the skin on because the skin contains a good amount of vitamin C, about 10 percent of the daily-recommended allowance.

Skin and hair care

When used externally, cucumber plumps the skin due to the water content. Cucumber skin can be used to relieve skin irritations and sunburn. Place a slice over puffy eyes and its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce puffiness. The silicon and sulphur in cucumbers help to stimulate hair growth by applying cucumber juice to your scalp you will notice the difference over time.

Fight cancers

Cucumber is known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol. These three lignans have a strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of several cancer types, including breast, ovarian, uterine, and prostate. Cucumbers also contain various antioxidants which fight cancer-causing free radicals. 

Home care

Eliminates a foggy mirror. Before taking a shower, rub a cucumber slice along a mirror and it will stop the mirror fogging up.

Relieves bad breath

Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds, the phyto-chemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

Hangover cure

To avoid a morning hangover or headache; eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish many essential nutrients lost during alcohol consumption, reducing the intensity of both hangovers and headaches.

Aids in weight loss and digestion

Due to its low calorie and high water content, cucumber is an ideal diet food for people who want to lose weight. The high water content and dietary fibre in cucumbers are very effective in ridding the body of toxins from the digestive system while providing you with the nutrients and minerals that the body needs to function effectively.

Controls diabetes and blood pressure, reduces cholesterol

Cucumber juice contains a hormone which is needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin, which has been found to be beneficial for diabetic patients. Researchers found that a compound called sterols in cucumbers may help reduce cholesterol levels. They contain a lot of potassium, magnesium and fibre, which works effectively for regulating blood pressure. This makes cucumbers good for treating both low and high blood pressure.

Promotes joint health,relieves gout and arthritis pain

Cucumber is an excellent source of silica, which is known to help promote joint health by strengthening the connective tissues. The silica is a vital component of collagen which help for healthier muscles, ligaments, and tendons. When cucumber juice is mixed with carrot juice, the combination is known to relieve gout and arthritis pain, by lowering the uric acid levels. Cucumbers have mild diuretic property, which is perhaps attributed to their  potassium and low sodium content.

They surprisingly have a high amount of potassium which has been found to have a potential role in bone strength by promoting bone-mass building activity. It could also have a role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain. 

Cucumber cuts
Credit: Natalie Rhea Riggs

HOW TO PREPARE CUCUMBER

Juices and Smoothies

These 2 methods are the quickest and most efficient ways to prepare cucumbers for maximum nutrient absorption. For the best quality juice a masticating juicer such as an Oscar Juicer is the best option.  When it comes to smoothies adding cucumbers to smoothies means you get the soluble and insoluble fibre as the pulp is not thrown out.  To enhance the flavour of your cucumber juice or smoothie, you can add ginger, mint leaves and a variety of fruits and vegetables. For detoxifying purposes you can mix cucumber with leafy greens like kale and spinach.

Salads

Cucumbers compliment most salads, whether sweet, sour or salty. With the right tools such as a mandoline slicer and a spiral slicer you can create salads that look as great as they taste. Cucumbers have a very mild flavour so they can be combined with any fruit and vegetable. Here is our suggestion for a tasty summer salad:

Fresh cucumber salad:

Ingredients
1 English cucumber, peeled and diced.
1 cup (¼ whole) Sweet melon or watermelon, finely diced.
Coarse salt.
2 cups Greek yogHurt.
¼ red onion, thinly sliced.
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced.
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Directions – Put the cucumbers and melon in a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Press out as much liquid as possible. Toss the cucumber and melon with the yogurt, onion and pepper in a serving bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour or until ready to enjoy.

OTHER IDEAS

  • Add cucumber slices combine with lemon and mint. for refreshing water with detoxing properties.
  • Combine lemon, cucumber and apple juice and freeze into ice moulds to make healthy ice lollies for the kids in summer.
  • Make your own crisp and tangy pickled cucumbers. All you need is, a cucumber, vinegar, a pinch of salt and a jar.
  • Cucumbers are a great addition to any sandwich.
  • Cucumber slices are excellent appetizers.
Cucumber
Credit: Sarah Gualtieri

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