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Food of the Month: Cucumber

Fresh cucumbers are easy to find all year round, especially right now in your garden or at your local farm stand. This salad staple can do so much more than unpuff your eyes. Some of the facts may surprise you!

Keeps you hydrated

Cucumber has a 96% water content that is naturally purified. This water content helps in keeping the body hydrated and regulating body temperature. Because more than half of the body is made up of water, it is essential for normal functioning of the different systems of the body. It also helps in flushing out the toxins from the body.

Relieves gout and arthritis pain

Cucumber is an excellent source of silica, which is known to help promote joint health by strengthening the connective tissues in our body as in the bones, muscles, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. It is also rich in rich in vitamins A, B1, B6, C and D, folate, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. A quick and easy remedy to ease arthritis pain is to take a mixture of cucumber and carrot juice, which lowers uric acid levels.

Aids digestion

Digestive disorders, such as heartburn, gastritis, constipation, and even ulcers, can be helped by the daily consumption of fresh cucumber juice. The high water content and dietary fiber in cucumber are very effective in driving away the toxins from the digestive system and therefore aid digestion.

Controls blood pressure

Cucumber juice contains a lot of potassium, magnesium, and fiber, which are very helpful for regulating blood pressure.

Quick pick-me-up

Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins. Put down your energy drinks, soda, and coffee and eat a cucumber slice.

Reduces cholesterol

Researchers found that compounds called sterols in cucumber may help reduce cholesterol levels.

Fights cancer

Cucumber contains three lignans that have a strong research history of reducing the risk of several cancer types, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer.

Acts as a diuretic

The water and potassium content of cucumber acts as a diuretic. It encourages the elimination of waste products from the body through urination.

Serving Suggestions

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  • Puree cucumbers with sugar to taste. Freeze in molds for a refreshing ice pop.
  • Sauté a few chunks with a little butter and fresh parsley to serve with grilled meat.
  • For refreshing cold gazpacho soup that takes five minutes or less to make, simply purée cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers. and onions, then add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add diced cucumber to tuna fish or chicken salad recipes.
  • Add a few slices of cucumber to your water for added flavor and health benefits.
  • Layer hummus and avocado on cucumber slices for a quick and delicious snack.

Tips for Selecting and Storing Cucumber

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  • Cucs can be very sensitive to heat, so choose those that are refrigerated in the grocery store
  • Select ones that are firm, rounded at their edges, and bright medium to dark green.
  • Avoid specimens that are yellow, puffy, have sunken water-soaked areas, or that are wrinkled at the tips.
  • Those with thin skin are likely to have fewer seeds than those with thick skin.
  • Skin is a good source of fiber and minerals, so try to eat them unpeeled.
  • To avoid waxes with pesticide residues that are difficult to remove, buy organic.
  • Store in the refrigerator. Once cut, keep wrapped or in an air-tight container.
  • Consume within a day or two after cutting.

Recipes

Cucumber Salad

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 large cucumber or 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 sweet bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, julienne

Directions:

Combine rice vinegar and sugar in a medium bowl, mix well. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise, scrape out and discard seeds. Cut into thin slices and place in bowl with vinegar mixture. Dice pepper, slice onion and add to vinegar mixture and cucumbers. Salt to taste.

Toss salad lightly, cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours. Julienne carrots for garnish just before serving.

Cold Cucumber Soup

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Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 4 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except raisins in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and chill 2-4 hours or until cold.
  3. Add raisins just before serving.

Cucumber Cocktail

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  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup ice, finely chopped

Mix in blender until smooth.

Cucumber-Hummus Hors D’oeurves

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Pretty much anything you put on a cracker, you can put on a cucumber! Here’s a favorite snack in the Casses Chiropractic offices.

  • 1 English cucumber
  • hummus (traditional or your favorite flavor)
  • 1 avocado
  • sea salt
  • fresh-ground pepper
  • garnish of your choice

Slice the cucumber (any variety works) into rounds about a quarter inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and ground pepper. Place a spoonful of hummus (try roasted red pepper or roasted pine nut) on each round. Peel the avocado and slice into bite-sized pieces. Place a piece on each cucumber. Top with a bit of red pepper or radish or other crunchy vegetable, and serve.