An essential in most salads, the flavor of refreshing cucumbers entices everyone in the summer heat. It’s a joy to have a cool bite of this crisp, nutritionally dense vegetable that is packed with nutrients like Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Riboflavin, B-6, Folate, Pantothenic acid, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc and Silica (phew). This versatile vegetable is made up to 95% water, which makes it naturally low in calories, fat and cholesterol. A 100 gram serving of cucumber provides only 12 calories as carbohydrates.
7 Healing Benefits of Cucumber
1. Alkaline producing effect on the body: Cucumbers are amazingly alkalizing, which is great especially for people who have acidic bodies due to wrong eating habits. Your body has to be slightly alkaline, if you wish to be healthy.
2. Cucumbers are the best cosmetic for your skin: Cucumbers are used topically for various types of skin problems, including dark circles, swelling or puffiness under the eyes and sunburn. Two compounds in cucumbers, ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, prevent water retention which may explain why cucumbers applied topically are often helpful for swollen eyes, burns and dermatitis.
3. Cucumbers are excellent source silica: Silica is the beauty mineral, a trace mineral that contributes to that strength of our connective tissue. Connective tissue is what holds our body together. It includes the inter-cellular cement, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone.
4. Hair growth: Silicon and Sulphur promote hair growth. It’s best to juice cucumber with some mint leaves and carrots to increase this function.
5. Cucumber works as a diuretic: The high water content cleanses the body by removing toxic and old waste material. Cucumbers help eliminate uric acid, which is beneficial for people with arthritis and joint pains. The magnesium content in cucumber relaxes nerves and muscles and helps blood circulating smoothly.
6. Eat cucumbers to lose weight: Since they are 95% water, they fill you up adding volume to meals. With 16 calories per cup, cucumbers are nutritionally dense, this means you can eat more and feel satiated.
7. Helps improve heart health: Lignans found in cucumbers have immune boosting, anti-inflammatory effects that are beneficial for fighting cardiovascular disease. Cucumbers also provide important minerals like potassium and magnesium that are extremely beneficial for healthier blood pressure levels. Magnesium rich foods are also beneficial for blood pressure in addition to general nerve functioning, fluid balance, heart beat regulation, better blood sugar levels and higher energy expenditure.
Cucumbers are the best hydrating food for summers, so enjoy this treat. I recommend choosing cucumbers that have been organically grown, since cucumbers are among the foods on which pesticides residues have been most frequently found. In addition, cucumbers are often waxed, since you may not be able to determine the source of these waxes, again I recommend choosing organically grown cucumbers or else peel the skin.
Quick serving idea: Cucumber Tempura
Make cucumber tempura by dredging cucumber slices in a beaten egg and then in whole wheat flour. Bake on a cookie sheet until crispy and serve with a dipping sauce.