The ordinary cucumber is actually an extraordinary vegetable. Apart from its nutritional value as a food and its health benefits, it is a very useful product to have around the home.
Officially the cucumber is a fruit
It comes from the same family as pumpkin, zucchini and other squashes. It has a dark green rind and white succulent flesh. There are 2 types of cucumbers – the pickling varieties such as gherkins
and the slicing varieties
. The pickling variety is relatively small at just 2 to 4 inches. The slicing varieties range in length from about 6 to 9 inches or even much larger. Their skin varying from green to white may be either smooth or ridged depending on the variety. Inside a cucumber is a very pale green flesh that is dense, yet aqueous and crunchy at the same time, with numerous edible fleshy seeds. Some varieties are seedless with thicker skins and longer in length. These are often referred to as “burpless” for obvious reasons!
All the health benefits
- The cucumber is the best natural diuretic known for secreting and promoting the flow of urine.
- Cucumber juice is great for improving the complexion and health of the skin.
- It is the perfect way to add dietary fiber on a daily basis as cucumber comes ready packaged with the extra fluid you need when consuming more fiber.
- It helps in kidney and urinary bladder disease as well as liver and pancreatic diseases.
- Useful for high and low blood pressure conditions because of its potassium content.
- It contains erepsin which is the enzyme that helps to digest protein.
- It is suggested that because of the high silicon and sulphur content of the cucumber, it promotes the growth of hair especially when the juice of the cucumber is added to the juice of carrot, lettuce and spinach. So there is a hair restoration cocktail for you to try!
- Another juice mixture is cucumber with carrot which can be beneficial for arthritis and rheumatic conditions resulting from excessive uric acid in the body.
- Cucumber juice can be taken for helping with diseases of the teeth and gums – particularly pyorrhea.
- The high mineral content of cucumber helps prevent splitting of finger and toe nails.
- A mixture of cucumber, radish and bitter gourd (juiced) is beneficial to diabetics.
- Used topically, cucumber will help with skin problems including swelling under the eyes, sunburn and other burns as well as dermatitis.
- Just one cucumber contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C as well as folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
- Feeling tired during the afternoon, cucumber will provide that quick pick-me-up to revitalize you. Snacking on cucumber will also stave off that afternoon or evening snacking binge.
- Rub a slice or two of cucumber along your cellulite areas for a few minutes and the phyto chemicals in the cucumber tighten the collagen in your skin, firm up the outer layer and reduce the visibility of cellulite.
- Try the same for wrinkles too - an anti wrinkle treatment.
- To avoid a hangover or terrible headache – eat a few cucumber slices before bedtime and wake up refreshed and headache-free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body has lost.
- For an instant facial or massage – cut up an entire cucumber and place in a pot of boiling water. The chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that will reduce stress. Clean your face before leaning over the steam for a few minutes.
Here are some further general and very practical uses for cucumbers
Remember the saying “cool as a cucumber”? This is because the cucumber has a high water content giving it a very unique moist and cooling taste. So don't forget that it tastes good too!
- For a squeaky hinge, take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problem area and the squeak will disappear.
- If you are at a restaurant and you can’t clean your teeth or don’t have a mint to suck, take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for just 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath.
- To clean your taps, sinks or stainless steel without resorting to chemicals, take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean. It will remove tarnish, bring back the shine and keep your fingers and nails safe.
- To remove crayons marks from the walls, take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the damage.
- To prevent fogging up of the bathroom window, rub a cucumber slice along the mirror.
- To discourage slugs in the garden, place a few slices in a small pie tin outside. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent which is undetectable to humans but which garden pests dislike and they quickly leave.
- Need to polish your shoes in a hurry - rub a fresh cut slice of cumber over the shoes for a quick and durable shine that also repels water.