On a hot summer day, our bodies start to feel more dehydrated because of the heat. Although water will quench your thirst, sometimes you want something cool and refreshing to snack on. A cucumber is the perfect snack to reach for. They are loaded with water and electrolytes that help improve the symptoms of thirst.
The health benefits of the cucumber do not stop there. They are one of the very low calorie vegetable. There are no saturated fats or cholesterol. The peel in the cucumber is a great source of dietary fiber, which aids in the reduction of constipation. The fiber also offers protection against colon cancer.
Cucumbers also have potassium. Potassium is an intracellular electrolyte, which helps with a healthy blood pressure and heart rate by countering effects of sodium.
Cucumbers also have anti-oxidants (b-carotene and a-carotene). These along with vitamin C, Vitamin A zeaxanthin and lutein aid in searching and destroying free radicals floating through the body.
Cucumbers also have a mild diuretic property, which aid in avoiding weight gain and high blood pressure.
Cucumbers also have a high amount of vitamin K. this essential vitamin helps with bone strength.
Cucumbers are the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world. Florida and California are the main producers of the United States and provide us with our cucumbers for most of the year. Researchers feel that the first cucumber originated in western Asia and parts of the Middle East. Today, China is the biggest producers of cucumbers and supply 2/3 of the world with their cucumbers.
There are many kinds of cucumber; the most known types are the slicing cucumber, and the pickling cucumber. However, there are burpless and heirloom varieties as well. The burpless are exactly what they sound like they are. They are bred to produce less gas in the stomach causing you to burp less.
When choosing a cucumber in the store, look for the greenest and firmest. These are crisp and have a refreshing taste. Make sure to wash the cucumber very well. They are safe to store at room temperature for a day or two. If you do not planning on eating it right away, it is best to keep it in the refrigerator.
You can prepare cucumbers many different ways. My favorite way is to slice them up, peel and and dip in ranch. Many people like to peel them, cube them, and toss them in a salad. You can also cook them in dishes such as casseroles and curry’s. Another awesome food that derived from the cucumber is the pickle.
A cucumber in a smoothie? Seems like it can be a strange combination. However with all the water in a cucumber this is really refreshing and mixed with fruits it doesn’t seem so strange right? Since cucumbers do not have a potent flavor it is a nice accent.
Cucumber Mint Smoothie
1 cucumber peeled seeded and chopped
3 TBSP mint leaves and sprig finely chopped
1 ½ cup apple juice or still cider
1 cup lemon sorbet
1 cup ice cubes
Place all items in the blender and blend on high until smoothie. Garnish with mint.