Powerful Health Benefits of Cucumbers
Can you believe summer is almost here? Well, it is! And the warm weather brings about an abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables bursting with nutrients our bodies need to thrive. So...in this article, I’d like to highlight one of my all-time favorite summer fruits. Cucumber! And yes, I said fruit. Because technically, cucumbers are the fruit of the plant.
They actually belong to the same family as winter squash and melons. However, most people refer to them as veggies. Either way, I’m obsessed with cucumbers. Because they contribute to good health and keep you slim. Plus, they work miracles when it comes to your skin. What more could you ask for?! So let’s explore the key benefits of cucumbers…
Cucumbers Keep You Hydrated
Your body is made up of approximately 60% water. And every cell in your body needs water to thrive, including your skin cells. Otherwise, they just shrivel up and die. When this happens, your body becomes sluggish. Which causes fatigue, weight gain, constipation, headaches, and much more.
When it comes to your skin, dehydration causes fine lines and wrinkles to appear. Plus, your skin becomes dull, feels dry and tight, and is easily irritated. Ugh! This is why I always stress the importance of hydration. And because cucumbers are made up of approximately 95% water, eating them is a delicious way to keep your cells hydrated and your skin plump and juicy. Especially during warm summer months.
Cucumbers are Packed with Antioxidants
Antioxidants are necessary to protect your cells from free radicals. Some antioxidants can also repair cellular damage, prevent free radicals from being formed from certain toxins, and even prevent cancerous cells from growing. Essentially, antioxidants are the key to optimal health as well as slowing down the aging process–inside and out. And the antioxidants in cucumbers specifically have been linked to reducing inflammation, preventing cancer, and improving heart health. Yes, please!
Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Cucumber
Inflammation is at the core of all modern diseases. So eating anti-inflammatory foods, such as cucumbers, is a must to stay healthy and slim. Plus, the anti-inflammatory nature of cucumbers (and water content) explains why they are so popular when it comes to your skin. And I’m talking about eating them as well as applying them topically. If you haven’t experienced it yourself, you’ve probably at least seen pictures of women with cucumber slices on their eyes. Well, we do this specifically to soothe and reduce puffy eyes.
If you want to try this at home, be sure to chill your cucumber before applying. Because the cold further helps to reduce redness and swelling. Using cool cucumber slices also provides relief when used on sunburned skin. In addition, you can use a little fresh cucumber puree in your face mask for an added boost. Because cucumbers are a good source of vitamin C and caffeic acid, both of which help to fight and prevent the signs of aging as well as sun damage.
Additional Nutrients & Benefits
Cucumbers contain a variety of other vitamins and minerals that also promote optimal health and beautiful skin. Some of the them include:
- Vitamin K: essential for forming blood clots as well as strong bones
- Pantothenic acid: a B-vitamin involved in producing energy as well as burning fat
- Biotin: a B-vitamin that helps produce natural oils in your skin to keep it soft and moist
- Potassium: an electrolyte that regulates blood pressure and maintains good kidney function
- Magnesium: a mineral necessary for over 300 vital functions in the body as well as youthful skin
- Silica: a mineral that helps build strong teeth, bones, nails, and hair
Finally, cucumbers can help rid your belly of bloating. Thanks to a synergistic combination of caffeic acid, vitamin C, silica, and water.
Delicious Ways to Add Cucumbers to Your Diet
By now I hope it’s clear why I love cucumbers so much. And I definitely recommend adding them to your daily diet for all the reasons I’ve discussed above. Now, it’s important to recognize that some nutrients are found in the skin while others are in the flesh. This means it’s important to consume both parts for maximum benefits. Some may not like the thick, and waxy texture of larger slicing cucumbers.
However, they do have higher concentrations of certain nutrients found in the skin, such as silica, than smaller pickling cucumbers. Because pickling cucumbers are thin-skinned, which makes it easier to quick pickle or ferment. But honestly, you can’t go wrong either way. If you’re not a fan of thick skin, stick to smaller, thin-skinned cucumbers. However, if you thinly slice or dice larger cucumbers into small chunks, it may help with the texture. Here are some of my favorites ways to eat cucumbers:
- Add to fresh juices & green smoothies
- Slice and dip in salsa or guacamole
- Dice or puree and add to sauces and dips
- Chop and add to salads
- Dice or puree and serve in cold soups
- Fermented pickles
And here is the perfect cold summer soup.
Broth Loading Chilled Cucumber Soup
Prep Time: 15 Min - Cook Time: 12 Min- Yield: 4-6 servings
- 1 cup water
- 4 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and sliced
- 1/2 cup yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon Celtic or Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups ( 1 quart) Chicken Bone Broth
- 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder, blended with one teaspoon of water
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk, not vanilla flavored
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the cucumbers, onion, salt and pepper, and cover. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are very soft. Puree using a food processor, blender or immersion blender until smooth.
Bring bone broth to a simmer and add the arrowroot powder, bay leaf, and pureed cucumbers. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring until soup thickens. Cool soup to room temperature and add the almond milk and fresh herbs. Refrigerate. Serve the soup very cold.
NOTE: Use caution when pureeing soup in a blender or food processor. Work in small batches and cover the top of the sealed blender or processor with a kitchen towel to avoid getting burned.
Keep thinking big and living BOLD!