Cucumber is one of the nutritionally dense veggies in the health ecosystem. They originally belong to South Asia, but now they grow mostly on all the continents.
Cucumbers are scientifically known as (cucumber sativus) and belong to the same botanical family as melons. There are two types of commercially produced cucumbers: the pickling cucumbers and slicing cucumbers.
Slicing cucumbers are larger and have thicker skins, and you have to eat it fresh. Pickling cucumbers are usually smaller and have thinner skins.
According to whfoods.org cucumbers are excellent sources of anti-inflammatory vitamin K, molybdenum, and energy producing pantothenic acid. They are good sources of copper, potassium, manganese, phosphorous, infection-fightingvitamin C, magnesium, vitamin B1 and biotin. They contain the nail protecting vitamin silica.
Cucumbers also containsome valuable compounds such as glycosides, flavonoids, steroids, carbohydrates, tannins and terpenoids
According to USDA National Nutrient Database, a cup of sliced cucumber contains:
- 16 calories
- 2 grams fat
- 115 grams of water
- 8 grams of protein and
- 9 grams of carbohydrates.
One cup of cucumber provides the following RDA:
- 4 percent magnesium
- 11 percent vitamin K
- 4 percent potassium
- 4 percent vitamin C
- 2 percent riboflavin
- 2 percent thiamine
- 2 percent vitamin A
- 2 percent calcium
- 2 percent folate
- 2 percent vitamin B6
- 2 percent pantothenic acid
- 2 percent phosphorous
- 2 percent iron
- 2 percent zinc
- 2 percent copper
How To Enjoy Cucumbers
According to the Environmental Working Group cucumbers were ranked the most contaminated food and second in cancer risk due to their pesticide content. So it would be wise if you go in for organic cucumbers.
Cucumbers are often waxed after harvest to withstand the long journey to their destinations. Organic produce will not contain petroleum-based waxes. You can use a natural fruit and vegetable cleanser to remove the wax, pesticide residues, and debris.
If you eat conventionally grown cucumber, wash the whole cucumber under cold running water and gently scrub with a natural bristle brush.
Cucumber makes an ideal base for your vegetable juice. You can cut half inch cucumber slices as serving dishes for veggie salads. You can use fermented or raw cucumbers in vinegar based salads
Mix diced cucumbers with mint leaves and sugar snap peas and toss with rice wine vinaigrette.Add cucumber pieces to chicken salad recipes and tuna fish.
Puree tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and green peppers to make a fresh cold gazpacho soup. Sprinkle salt and pepper for extra flavor.
Health Benefits of Cucumber
Reduces Cellulite And Wrinkles. Cut thick pieces of cucumber and rub them on the area where you want to treat for cellulite. Cucumber contains phytochemicals which tighten collagen and firms the outer layer of skin. This action reduces the appearance of visible cellulite. They also reduce wrinkles so can be used as part of your regular moisturizing routine.
Boosts Your Energy Levels. Cucumbers are great energy boosters because they are rich in B vitamins. The B vitamins help your body turn food into energy. The European trappers ate cucumbers for energy and to keep them from starving to death. You can avoid soda, coffee and other health hazard energy drinks and feast on cucumber to get yourself energized.
Frugal Facial. Cut cucumber into pieces and boil it in a pot of water. Remove the pot from the fire and lean over the steam. Your skin will become more healthy and radiant. You can apply pieces of cucumber on your face and keep circles of cucumber over your eyes. It cools your eyes and reduces dark circles because it is rich in vitamin K.
Fights Bad Breath. Take a thin slice of cucumber and put it on the roof of your mouth. Keep it in place with the help of your tongue for 30 secs to one minute. The phytochemicals present in cucumber will attack the bacteria and removes the bad breath.
Hangover Cure. Eat a few pieces of cucumber before going to bed, they’ll help you stop snoring too. They contain enough B vitamins, sugar, and electrolytes to replenish the essential nutrients reducing the intensity of the hangover. The water rich cucumbers suppress your symptoms of acid reflux by temporarily raising stomach pH.
Moistens Cracked Heels And Dry Nails. Cracked heels are due to insufficient moisture. When the skin loses its moisture content, it dries out and cracks. Deep fissures can be very painful. You can apply pieces of cucumber onto your cracked heels and dry nails. It moistens, nourishes and enhances the beauty of your feet.
Promotes Brain Health. Cucumber seeds are rich in copper; they stimulate the process of neurotransmission which in turn improves overall brain coordination. Regular consumption of cucumber seeds reduces stress and improves brain function.
Fights Intestinal Worms. Cucumber is a natural remedy to eliminate tapeworms. It contains the enzyme erepsin that is known to kill intestinal worms.
Silences Squeaky Door Hinges. When a door hinge develops a squeak due to wear or settling,you can fix it with a couple of slices of cucumber. Rub them on the defective area and you have a cheap alternative for WD-40.
As a Dietary Source
The nutrients found in fresh cucumber extract:
- Scavenge free radicals
- Inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes.
- Boosts your antioxidant status
- Prevents overproduction of nitric oxide which can cause various side effects.
- And enhance the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Lignans. Cucumber contains three lignans which are unique polyphenols. They are:
- Pinoresinol and
The lignans bind with estrogen related bacteria in the digestive tract and contributes to a reduced risk of several cancers such as breast, uterine, prostate and ovarian cancers. The lignans can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cucurbitacins. Cucumber is a rich source of phytonutrients called cucurbitacins. You can enjoy their benefits from the fresh cucumber. Cucurbitacin A, B, C, D, and E have excellent anticancer properties. Recent discoveries show that cucurbitacins have a strong inhibiting effect on cancer signaling pathways.
These pathways are required by cancer cells to survive and proliferate. The cucurbitacins could be used as a future anticancer drug in clinical trials.
Fisetin. Cucumbers contain a flavonol call fisetin that has anti-inflammatory properties, and it enhances your brain health. Fisetin prevents progressive memory and learning impairments in mice with Alzheimer’s disease. It improves your memory and protects nerve cells from age-related decline.
Antioxidant Flavonoids. Cucumbers contain vitamin C and beta-carotene. Apigenin, Quercetin, kaempferol, andluteolin are antioxidant flavonoids that are present in cucumber and provide additional benefits.
Quercetin prevents histamine release. When histamines are released into the bloodstream, they can cause symptoms of an allergic reaction. Kaempferol fights cancer and lowers your risk of chronic diseases including heart disease.
B vitamins. Cucumbers contain B vitamins such as vitamin B1, vitamin B7, and vitamin B5. These vitamins help reduce feelings of anxiety and cushion the damaging effects of stress.
Potassium. Cucumbers contain potassium which helps to lower blood pressure. Low levels of potassium can cause heart rhythm disturbances and muscle weakness.
Fiber. Cucumbers are rich in fiber.They are low in calories and has great satiety value and make a filling snack. Cucumbers help you to maintain a healthy weight because their soluble fibers dissolve into a gel-like texture in your gut.
This process slows down digestion and helps you to feel fuller. The insoluble fiber present in the skin adds bulk to your stools and helps in healthy elimination.
Anti-Diabetic Advantages. The Cucumber juice contains a hormone needed by the pancreatic cells for producing insulin. Thus cucumbers are highly beneficial for diabetic patients. Scientists say that sterols are present in cucumbers which may help reduce cholesterol levels.
Silica. Cucumbers are excellent sources of silica which promote joint health by strengthening connective tissues. It boosts the health of your bones, nails and hair.
As A Juice Detox Cleanse
Cucumber is the ultimate cool-hydrate-cleanse food. It regulates body temperature and eases inflammation. Due to its abundant water content, cucumber is a natural diuretic. It helps in elimination of waste, aids in cell hydration and removal of kidney stones.
Cucumber is famed for its silica content, and it is very good at removing toxins, waste materials and heavy metals from the body. Silica is a good addition to any detox program to cleanse your cells deeply.
Silica helps to reduce the symptoms of hair loss, psoriasis and eczema. It enhances collagen production and helps to achieve hormonal balance.
Thus it ensures the luxurious growth of hair and beautiful skin. Silica strengthens your nails and feeds your nail bed resulting in stronger and healthier nails.
To enjoy the optimum benefits of cucumber, juice the entire cucumber including skin and seeds. Calcium, vitamin K, and zinc are found just under the skin.
Detox Juice Recipes
Cucumber Cool Green Juice
Source: The Blender Girl Recipes
1 English cucumber
½ lemon rind removed
1, green apple cored
One handful cilantro (you can substitute flat leaf parsley also)
Put all the ingredients into the juicer. Whip it up, pour into glasses and enjoy.
Cucumber Apple juice
Source: Detox body cleanse.com
Two green apples
½ head of iceberg lettuce
Mint for garnish
Wash the ingredients and put them into the juicer. Blend well. Pour into tall glasses and enjoy.
Clean the cucumber and cut into ½ inch slices. Put these slices into theater and top with ice. Allow to marinate for at least an hour.For best results allow it to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Topping with ice is important to keep the cucumber pieces submerged.
You can play with your creativity and bring in more variation. Here are some cucumber water variations:
- Cucumber lemon detox water
- Cucumber mint detox water
- Cucumber and lime detox water and
- Pineapple cucumber detox water
Cucumber Beet Juice for Detox
Source: Best Juicer.net
One beet medium size
1 cup spinach
One knob ginger
Wash all the ingredients, cut and clean as per required. Put everything into a juicer. Serve chilled in tall glasses. Enjoy.
Cucumber Juice Detox for Pineal Gland
Four stalks of kale
One tsp apple cider vinegar
Wash and clean all the ingredients. Put them into the juicer. Add apple cider vinegar. Whip it up. Pour into glasses and serve chilled.
Benefits Of Cucumber Detox
Cucumber Detox has the following benefits.
- Boosts your energy levels
- Helps the kidneys, liver, and colon to remove all the toxins
- Strengthens the immune system
- Helps in weight loss
- Improves skin health
- Gives you a lighter feeling
- It gives you better sleep
- Improves concentration
- Reduces feelings of fatigue
Cucumber For Pain Relief
UTI Pain Relief. You tend to suffer from urinary tract infection when germs affect the kidneys, bladder, and tubes that connect them. The symptoms include burning sensation while urinating and pelvic pain in the women.
Cucumber has high water content. It helps to flush out the bacteria and prevents the infection by increasing the frequency of urine. Just cut some pieces of cucumber and enjoy.
Poison Ivy Rash. Poison ivy grows as a small shrub and has a potent irritant called urushiol that causes swelling, itching, redness and painful blisters.
Cucumbers are one of the simplest home remedies for poison ivy rash. Place the slices of this cooling veggie on the affected area. Mash it up and apply the paste over the affected area. It gives a soothing relief to the itching sensation.
Toothache. Cucumber cools and calms the sore areas in your mouth. Cut cucumbers into bite sized pieces, sprinkle some salt for extra taste and chew nicely. It contributes to healing a toothache precisely.
Soothes Sunburn. Cucumbers contain lots of moisture and are a great cooling agent. They can be used to treat sore, sunburnt skin. Rub a thick piece of cucumber over the affected area and you will feel immediate relief.
Eye Pain. Eye pain may be due to some allergies, Lyme disease, and tuberculosis. The symptoms include itchy red eyes, the sensation of a foreign body and crusting of lashes or eyelids.
Cucumbers have anti-irritation properties and help to reduce pain and swelling. Take some cucumber slices and cool in the fridge for 10 minutes and put it over your eyes for 15 minutes.
Fights Inflammation. Cucumber soothes the burning of the stomach, cools a sore throat, relieves acne pain, calms down inflamed skin and cures wounds and sores.
Relieves Gout And Arthritis Pain. Cucumber enhances joint health because it is an excellent source of silica and also strengthens connective tissue. You can mix cucumber along with carrot juice to relieve gout and arthritis pain by lowering uric acid levels.
As a Household Cleanser
Removes Fog In Your Mirror. Before you start turning the taps in the bathroom, rub cucumber over the mirrors and windows. This action will prevent them from fogging up. It will release aromas that will relax you while you soak.
Removes Crayons On The Walls. If you have small kids around then, they will try their creativity on the walls. Take an unpeeled cucumber and rub it over the crayon mark. You can also use this process to erase a pen mistake.
Removes Tarnish. Cucumbers act as eco-friendly custodians to shine your stainless steel taps and pots. Rub a thick piece of cucumber over the tarnished area and it removes the tarnish leaving the surface shiny and new. Cucumbers are gentle on your hands, unlike the harsh chemical cleaners.
Shoe Polish. If you want to clean your scruffy shoes, rub pieces of cucumber over your shoes. It will make them clean and glistening, and it repels water.
Drives Garden Pests. Place a few slices of cucumber in aluminum tin cans. Keep the containers around your garden plants. The cucumber and aluminum react together to make a handy repellant. You won’t smell it, but it will keep the pests away. Replace the cucumber pieces periodically; it acts as natural pest control.
Controls Ants. To reduce the menace of ants keep cucumber peels or slices in the kitchen or at the points where ants enter. Ants have a natural aversion to cucumbers. You can keep bitter cucumbers, and it works best.
Controls Cockroaches. Cockroaches often cause social embarrassment along with several health risks. Along with other natural pest control methods, you can use cucumber slices, bay leaves, and garlic in the roaches affected areas as deterrents.
As a Skin Care Alternative
Revitalizes Your Skin. Cucumbers improve dull, greasy complexion. It prevents blackheads, dryness and hydrates your skin.
Cucumber Revitalizing Mask. Puree cucumber in a blender along with one tbsp. Greek yogurt, one teaspoon, honey, one teaspoon aloe vera gel, and half a teaspoon lemon juice.
Apply it to damp skin, leave it for 5 minutes and then reapply the mask with the interval of 15-20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and splash some cold water.
Reduces Skin Tanning. Cucumber contains mild astringent properties and helps to remove tan. Dip a clean washcloth into the juice of cucumber. Squeeze it and apply onto your face. It has mild bleaching properties and helps to achieve even skin tone.
Rejuvenates Skin. Cucumber with all its nutrients rejuvenates your skin, giving it a youthful and glowing complexion.
You can make a face pack with cucumber juice, few drops of lemon juice, fuller’s earth powder and sandalwood powder. Apply it on your face and neck and wash it off after 15 minutes.
Cucumber Face Masks For Acne
This mask is gentle on acne prone skin, reduces inflammation, reduces acne and heals acne scars.
Puree fresh organic cucumber and aloe vera gel. Add desired essential oils just a couple of drops and full-fat milk powder to get a thick paste and apply onto your face and neck. Wait for 15 minutes and wash it off.
Fights Wrinkles. The hydrating properties of cucumber greatly reduce wrinkles.
Mix two tablespoonsof cucumber juice with 2 tablespoons of egg white and a tsp of lemon juice. Apply all over your face and rinse it off after 20 minutes. This healthy mask keeps wrinkles at bay.
Reduces Dark Circles. Place two circles of cucumber on your eyes and leave them for 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can soak cotton balls and place them over your eyes.
The abundant amount of antioxidants and silica slowly reduces the dark circles. Cucumber also reduces water retention and puffiness of eyes.
Cucumber For Hair. The Silicon and Sulfur content in cucumber enhances hair growth. Apply cucumber juice to your scalp and leave it for 20 minutes and wash it off with a natural shampoo.
Exfoliating your skin removes ingrained dust, old dead skin and gives a healthy glow.
Puree ½ a cucumber and add ¾ cups of sugar, ½ tablespoon of olive oil and one small handful of chopped up mint leaves. Stir together and put it in a jar. Keep it refrigerated. Apply onto your face leave for a couple of minutes and wash it off.
Take two whole cucumbers, two tablespoons olive oil and two tablespoons lemon juice. Puree all together in a blender. Pour the mixture into a bowl and heat it up to a warm temperature.
Place half the mixture in a large bag and the remaining in the second bag. Slide your feet into it and remain for 15 minutes. Wash your feet with warm water.
The cucumber foot mask refreshes your tired toes, moisturizes, exfoliates and keeps your feet beautiful and soft.
This lotion soothes and regenerates your skin and is very useful if you’ve spent lots of time in the sun.
Mix 1 cup of cucumber juice, ¼ cup coconut milk and ¼ cup aloevera juice. Pour the contents into a lidded container and stir well to combine. Keep it refrigerated.
You can apply the lotion to the skin using aspray bottle or a clean washcloth.
Take ¾ cup of chopped cucumber and a few basil leaves in a blender. Add 1 cup of white sugar and ¼ cup of coconut oil. Whip until you’re happy with the consistency.
Pour into a jar that can be sealed and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. This scrub makes your skin soft and gives a refreshing smell to your skin.
Cucumbers have antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties, they cleanse your body of toxins and waste and produces soothing relief against skin irritation.
You can relish cucumbers by making pickles, in fresh salads and whipping up Tzatziki sauce.
To bring in more variety enjoy a perfect English sandwich, sip a cool cucumber cocktail, fry cucumber slices, and relish a tasty raita sauce.