With summer in full swing, cucumbers are in abundance! Although many think that cucumbers are just filler in a salad, they are LOADED with nutrients and health-promoting properties.
Note, with their high water content they readily absorb pesticides and chemicals, so choose those grown by organic methods.
Cucumbers are perfect for hot summer days as their high water content (96%) promotes hydration and help meet your daily fluid needs. Some health benefits of cucumbers include:
- Hydrating — made up of 96% water, one cucumber contains almost 7 ounces of fluid which helps prevent dehydration especially in the summer
- High in Vitamin K which is a key for bone health and proper blood clotting
- Rich in Vitamin C which is necessary for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues.
- High in potassium which can help reduce sodium-induced water retention and thus lower blood pressure
- High in beneficial fiber (if you keep the skin on!) — Fiber helps improve gut health
- Aids in weight management — Cucumbers are low in calories but high in fiber and fluid making them a perfect addition to any weight loss program. Dip cucumber slices in hummus or use as a base in place of bread for bruschetta.
- Contains lignans that may protect against estrogen-related cancers such as breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate.
- Helps soothe the skin — The pulp of cucumbers contains water, Vitamin C, and caffeic acid which is a natural chemical that possesses anti-inflammatory properties. This combination helps reduce skin irritations and swelling making cucumber slices a good home remedy for acne and sunburn.
- Helps combat bad breath — A common cause of bad breath is odor produced when bacteria attack trapped food particles. The fluid in cucumbers helps to cleanse the mouth and wash away these smelly culprits.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy cucumbers?
Here is one of my favorites:
If you have a spiralizer, dig it out and make cucumber noodles! This works best with a low-seed, English style cucumber. If you don’t have a spiralizer, just dice or julienne the cucumber and toss with the other ingredients.
This recipe uses fresh oregano, but add whatever you have growing. Basil, dill, parsley, chives and even mint are great additions. To add some crunch and added healthy fat and protein, top it off with some sunflower or hemp seeds!
Spiralized Greek Cucumber Salad with Lemon and Feta
- 1 Large Cucumber preferably English style
- 1 Medium Red or yellow bell pepper chopped
- 1 Cup Grape or cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/4 Cup Pitted Kalamata olives halved
- 1/4 Cup Sliced red onion or shallot
- Juice and Zest of 1 lemon
- Extra-Virgin Olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 Cup Crumbled feta cheese optional
- Spiralize cucumber using the medium blade. Cut strands into smaller pieces, about 4-inches long. Place cucumber noodles in a large bowl. If you don't have a spiralizer, you can just chop the cucumber into bite-sized pieces. Be sure to take out the seeds first!
- Add bell pepper, tomatoes, olives, and onion to bowl with the cucumber.
- Zest and juice lemon and add to the bowl. If you are not a huge lemon fan, start with adding just 1/2 of the juice at first.
- Drizzle generously with olive oil, add fresh oregano, about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Toss to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and/or pepper, as desired
- Allow to sit at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to meld. Serve topped with crumbled feta cheese and fresh herbs of choice, if desired.