As soon as the warm weather hits you’ll find one or two cucumbers stashed in my fridge all summer long. Although you seldom hear about them, cucumbers are actually packed with a variety of health benefits.
Known botanically as Cucumis sativus most folks are surprised to learn that cucumbers are actually a fruit, not a vegetable. They’re in the same family as melons, zucchini and pumpkin.
Cucumbers have many active ingredients, among them the natural anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin which supports brain health, and antioxidants that help prevent “systemic rusting.”
7 ways to get the most benefits from cucumbers
Cucumbers are far more flexible than most folks imagine them to be.
Following are seven fresh ideas for using cucumbers that will have you stocking up on this versatile faux veggie:
1. Soothe itchy eyes:
Cut 2 slices off and place them on your eyes. This feels especially soothing if you have red, itchy eyes from whatever’s blooming.
You can also cut slices and put in a jar of water in the refrigerator to infuse for around an hour. Then dip some clean cotton into the cucumber water. Squeeze it out place on your eyes as a compress.
2. Juice them:
Try juicing some cucumbers and drinking them alone or mixed with other healthy veggies and fruits.
Cucumbers contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol three compounds that could help reduce the risk of reproductive cancers including ovarian, breast, uterine and prostate cancers.
3. Soothe sunburns:
Cut the slices lengthwise and apply to areas of sunburn. Or use cucumber compresses as described in idea #1.
4. Drink cucumber water:
Cut cucumbers into 1/2 slices along with 1/4 slices of lemon and put into a glass decanter or carafe with some ice. Let your cucumber lemon water marinate for an hour and then sip on it all all day.
Among the many health benefits, you may see a mild diuretic effect which could help with blood pressure and water weight loss.
5. Eat them:
Sure most of us eat some cucumber from time to time. But few of us realize what an unsung health hero the humble cucumber actually is. I bet you walk right past them in the produce section all the time without giving them much of a thought. But it’s time that changed.
Cucumbers can help block COX2 enzymes (similar to Celebrex, a popular pain medication) dampening down pain-causing cytokines. While cukes aren’t as strong as drugs of course, they can help ease joint pain.
So go ahead and chop some fresh cucumbers into your salad along with fresh tomatoes and basil leaves. Finish with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette for a delicious fiber-packed salad which can help chase away some of your aches while helping you manage your weight at the same time.
6. Treat acne:
Cucumber have the ability to gently slough away dirt, dead skin cells, bacteria and left over make-up residue. It also naturally calms and cools red or inflamed skin.
Put a quarter of an unpeeled cucumber into your food grinder along with a tablespoon of witch hazel and 2 drops of tea tree oil and 5 drops lavender. Grind to a smooth consistency and apply as a ‘mask’ or dab onto an irritated area.
7. Make a facial toner:
To help tighten and refresh your skin try making a simple cucumber water facial toner.
Slice cucumbers into a 2 cups pure distilled water and allow to infuse for an hour or so. Strain out the cucumbers so you’re left with only cucumber water. Add 1 tablespoon of organic aloe vera leaf juice, 10 drops essential oil of lavender and 5 drops jasmine to the water and use as you would any commercial toner you buy.
If you have oily skin add 5 drops helichrysum toy our toner mixture. If you have dry skin, use rose oil.
In addition to writing a syndicated column on health which reaches 20 million people each week, Suzy is the author of a number of books on natural health.
You may have seen Suzy on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health and hundreds of morning shows. Quotes from Suzy, as well as her articles, have also appeared in major publications including Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, OK Magazine!, First for Women, Aptitud, Natural Health and Better Homes & Garden and dozens more.
Read more from Suzy at suzyCohen.com
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