The cucumber is a type of melon and comes from the same family as watermelon, zucchini and other squash. It is cylindrical in shape with lengths of approximately 6 to 9 inches.
Its skin is very similar to watermelon, ranges from green to white. Inside, the flesh is pale green and very juicy.
The cucumber is a tropical plant but is also easily available in most part of the world. However, in some cultures, cucumber is more often used to make pickles, of which most of its nutrients would have been lost.
Cucumber has an impressive amount of water (about 96%) that is naturally distilled, which makes it superior to ordinary water. Its skin contains a high percentage of vitamin A, so should not be peeled off.
The cucumber contains alkaline-forming minerals and is an excellent source of vitamin C and A (anti-oxidants), folate, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, silica, sulfur, and lesser amounts of vitamin B complex, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus.
You have seen beauty practitioners use slices of cucumber on their eyes. It is found that the caffeic acid in this vegetable helps to prevent water retention and when applied topically, helps reduce puffy and swollen eyes.
Most people are unaware of the immense health benefits of cucumber and would avoid eating cucumber where possible. Fresh cucumber may taste “bland” to some but its thirst-quenching and cooling properties are refreshing. It acts as an anti-oxidant when taken together with fried and barbequed foods.
I like to mix cucumber juice with carrot or orange juices.
Here’s a list of health benefits of cool cucumber:
Acidity: The alkalinity of the minerals in cucumber juice effectively helps in regulating the body’s blood pH, neutralizing acidity. The juice is also soothing for the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers.
Blood pressure: Like celery, this colorless drink can help regulate blood pressure because of its minerals and traces of sodium.
Connective tissues, building: The excellent source of silica contributes to the proper construction of connective tissues in our body as in the bones, muscles, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.
Cooling: During dry and hot weather, drink a glass of cucumber + celery juice. It wonderfully helps to normalize body temperature.
Diuretic: Cucumber juice is diuretic, encouraging waste removal through urination. This also helps in the dissolution of kidney stones.
Fever: The temperature regulating properties in cucumber juice makes it a suitable drink when you have a fever.
Inflammation: The Chinese think that cucumbers are too “cooling” and not suitable for people with rheumatism. But we know now that cucumber can help counter uric acids that are causing inflammation in joints. When cucumber is taken it does its cleaning work at the joints, thus stirring up pain as it eliminates the uric acid. This means it also help other inflamed conditions like arthritis, asthma, and gout.
Hair growth: The silicon and sulfur content in cucumber juice makes it especially helpful in promoting hair growth. Drink it mixed with carrot, lettuce or spinach juice.
Puffy eyes: Some people wake up in the morning with puffy eyes, probably due to too much water retention in the body (or having cried to sleep). To reduce the puffiness, lie down and put two slices of cucumber on the eyes for a good ten minutes.
Skin conditions: The high amount of vitamin C and anti-oxidants in cucumber makes it an important ingredient in many beauty creams for treating eczema, psoriasis, acne, etc.
Sunburn: When there is a sunburn, make cucumber juice and rub it on the affected area for a cooling and healing effect.
Water retention: It supplies the necessary electrolytes and restores hydration of the body cells, thus reducing water retention.
Choose cucumbers that are dark green in color and firm to the touch. Avoid those that are yellowish or are wrinkled at either ends. Thinner cucumbers have fewer seeds than those that are thicker.
Store cucumbers in the fridge to retain its freshness. Cut cucumbers should be kept wrapped up or in an air-tight container and kept in the fridge. Consume within a day or two.
Where possible, buy organic as cucumbers may be waxed or have pesticides.