CSA Week Six :: Cool As A Cucumber

cucAhhhhh.  Just as we enter July and Summer starts to heat up, here come the cucumbers.  The high water content of cucumbers (about 96%) make them a great choice to help hydrate the body. When the body is hydrated it can eliminate toxins, which is good for the kidneys and liver and eating a cucumber every day is considered very effective as a cure constipation.

Some of the other benefits of cucumbers are in the form of silica that can promote joint health by strengthening connective tissue.  Potassium, magnesium, and fiber present in the cucumber can help your blood pressure remain normal.  Cucumbers have shown benefits in helping to alleviate bladder and kidney problems and the water contained within cucumbers  helps smooth the process of renal function with urination. In fact, the cucumber is the best natural diuretic.

I’ve mentioned in the past about the big boosts to your health eating fresh vegetables can provide, but here are a few smaller benefits that cucumbers can give.

Mouth disease on the teeth and gums, pyorrhea in particular, can be treated effectively with cucumber juice and if you take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

That  rich  silica content that helps with joint health can also  prevent rupture and damage to the nails on your fingers and toes.

And lastly, cucumbers have diuretic properties that are beneficial to the skin.  High water content; vitamin A, B, and C; and minerals, like magnesium, potassium, manganese, and silica; make a cucumber becomes an important part in skin care. Face masks containing cucumber extract are used for skin tightening and the ascorbic acid  present in cucumbers can reduce the level of water retention, which in turn reduces the swelling around the eyes. Hence why you always see photos of women at the spa with cucumber slices on their eyes.

And one more skin tip, cucumbers can also refresh topically. Slices of cucumber will help soothe and relieve sunburns.  So if you are short on aloe, reach for a cucumber.

Cucumbers don’t only cool you down on the outside, they are a key “cooling” ingredient in many food dishes, especially in Indian cuisine, where they are mixed with yogurt and herbs and served aside spicy dishes.  If you have some summer tomatoes try mixing them with some cucumber, red onion and a vinaigrette as another way of cooling down.  Then there is my favorite hot weather water recipe–mix sliced lemons and cucumbers with ice in a pitcher and drink throughout the day, a thirst quencher AND appetite suppressor.

Here are some other ways of enjoying cucumbers, including salads, dressings and my personal favorite which is in a bowl in the refrigerator with some apple cider vinegar.  A perfect snack!

Creamy Cucumber Dressing

1/2 cucumber
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Halve cucumber lengthwise, remove seeds and cut into small pieces.
Place cucumber pieces, sour cream, lemon juice, sugar and salt into blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Refrigerate until ready to use. Store any left over dressing in fridge.

Cucumber Salad

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp celery seed
2 medium/large cucumbers – peeled and sliced
1 medium/large onion – peeled and sliced then cut slices in half and separate

Mix the first three ingredients until sugar is dissolved.
Add the celery seed.
Toss in cucumbers and onions.
Let the flavor build in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.

MORE CUCUMBER RECIPES:  Cucumber Salad With Sour Cream and Dill Dressing, Cucumber Sangria, Cucumber Tomato Salad, Easy Cucumber Sandwiches, Lemony Cucumber Salad, Watermelon Cucumber Cooler, Cucumber and Herb Triple Decker Sandwiches, Cold Cucumber Soup, Grilled Chicken Panzanella With Cucumber and Feta