Cool Off With Cucumbers: 9 Surprising Health Benefits of Cucumbers
Summer can be one of the most enjoyable seasons to indulge in Earth’s edible treasures – all the amazing fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful, bright, and bursting with goodness. You may have heard about the idea of eating seasonally – that is, eating foods that are in season and using cooking methods that match the season as well. This idea has been popularized lately along with the trend of choosing more locally produced foods. As a Chinese medicine practitioner, I am all about this idea! Chinese dietetics has touted the practice of seasonal eating for ages as it helps to prevent illness and keeps your mind and body in sync with nature.
With our summer heating up, I would like to shine the spotlight on one of summer’s best foods – the cucumber. We often think of cucumbers as cool and refreshing, so it’s easy to see why it is a great choice in the summer months. If we look more closely at the cucumber, however, we find that it actually has tons of health benefits aside from it’s cooling nature. Since this squash is ever so plentiful in summer as well, load up at the local farmer’s market and cool off with cucumbers!
Health Benefits of Cucumbers
With a high water content and vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium, it’s no surprise that the cucumber is a great choice for a summer snack. This seemingly simple fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) also has some pretty amazing benefits that make it a perfect go-to addition to your diet. Here are 9 cool ways the cucumber can boost your summer health.
Keeps You Hydrated
Cucumbers, like other melons, have a very high water content – nearly 95%! They also contain electrolytes which help to rebalance your body fluids after sweating. That makes cucumbers and awesome snack to take when you’re heading out into the sun for the day or post-work out.
Great For Your Skin
For healthy, nourished skin, start adding more cucumbers to your diet. Not only is the cucumber moistening and hydrating to the skin, but it has anti-inflammatory properties as well. This can prevent redness and help to clear up aggravated skin issues. The detoxifying benefits will also work wonders on keeping your skin blemish-free.
Have you ever put sliced cucumbers on your eyes to reduce puffiness or redness? The cooling and soothing effects of the cucumber can be used topically for even more benefits. You can even use cucumber juice as a natural toner for brighter and cleaner skin.
Because cucumbers have such high water content, they are also great at detoxifying the body. Eating more cucumbers will flush out the unwanted toxins and revive your cellular fluid. For increased detoxification, try cucumber and melon juice.
Optimal Digestive Health
Not only is staying hydrated important in the summer to avoid dehydration, headaches, and heat stroke, but hydration is key to having regular digestion. We need plenty of water to help our food pass through our digestive system and form healthy stools. Constipation is often a sign of dehydration and may mean that your body is low on fluids. Cucumbers provide plenty of water, electrolytes, and fiber to keep your digestion on track.
Assists With Healthy Weight Loss
Cucumbers are an easy way to snack healthy during the day. Not only are they much healthier than any processed snack, but they can actually help you lose weight. If you are feeling stuffy and bloated this summer, replace your salty or sugary snacks with cucumber slices.
Cucumbers can keep you cool from the inside out. Lignans, a polyphenol that helps to reduce inflammation, are present in the squash which makes them great for any inflammatory issue. Eating more cucumbers will keep inflammation down for issues like arthritis, pain, and even cancers.
Alkalizes Your Blood
Cucumbers and cucumber water can help to keep your blood pH levels balanced. Unhealthy eating can cause acidity in the body and this, unfortunately, leads to free-radical damage and therefore may cause issues like cancer down the road. Incorporate cucumbers to help reduce this risk and alkalize the blood.
Along with the amazing digestive health benefits, cucumbers have also been known to keep blood sugar levels regulated. This benefit comes mostly from the skin of the cucumber, so make sure to leave it on!
Keeps Blood Pressure In Check
Cucumbers contain magnesium and potassium, both of which are important in the maintenance of good blood pressure. If you suffer from hypertension, add in cucumber slices or juice to your daily diet to help improve your blood pressure.
Quick recipes to get those cucumbers in:
Okay, so cucumbers are pretty great and offer us with some handy benefits. Try out these easy ways to get more cucumbers in your diet while keeping things interesting.
Try adding 4-5 cucumber slices and a hand full of raspberries to your water or sparkling mineral water.
Cucumber, Corn and Tomato Salad
- 1.5c Steamed Organic Corn (steamed)
- 1.5c Ripe cherry tomatoes
- 1.5c Chopped Cucumber
- ½ c Feta Cheese
- 3 T Olive Oil
- 1 T fresh lime juice
- 2 T fresh chopped basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and serve chilled.
Marinated Salmon with Cucumber Salsa
- 1 cup Chopped cucumber
- ¼ cup chopped shallot
- 1 avocado cubed
- 3 T Cilantro
- 1 T Lime juice
- 2 T Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 T lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Let salmon marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours. Grill on medium to high heat for 3 or 4 mins per side. Mix all ingredients for cucumber salsa and serve with the salmon.
I want to hear from you:
What are your favorite ways to use cucumbers? Please let us know! Leave a comment below.