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. It 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.
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. 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.
The alkalinity of 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. Like celery, this colourless drink can help regulate blood pressure because of its minerals and traces of sodium.
The excellent source of silica contributes to the proper construction of connective tissues in our body as in bones, muscles, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.
During dry and hot weather, drink a glass of cucumber and celery juice. It helps to normalize body temperature. Cucumber juice is diuretic, encouraging waste removal through urination. This also helps in the dissolution of kidney stones. The silicon and sulfur content makes it helpful in promoting hair growth. Drink it mixed with carrot, lettuce or spinach juice.
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 ten minutes. 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. When there is a sunburn, make cucumber juice and rub it on the affected area for a cooling and healing effect. It supplies the necessary electrolytes and restores hydration of the body cells, thus reducing water retention.
Choose cucumbers that are dark green in colour 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 refrigerator to retain its freshness, cut cucumbers should be kept wrapped up or in an air-tight container. Consume within a day or two.