Cool as a cucumber
Posted on 7th August 2020 at 12:26
Cucumbers have an impressive array of health benefits especially for the skin
I have great neighbours who I know will help me out if ever I have a problem so sharing produce from my garden and allotment with them is a pleasure. But when it comes to cucumbers I have to admit to being totally selfish and keeping them mostly for myself.
I have several different cucumber varieties planted this year in an attempt to prolong the harvest period and all seems to be going to plan for now. I picked the ones shown above first thing this morning before the temperature really began to rise and I 'm looking forward to using them fresh and pickled (fermented cucumber turns to mush easily so I don't bother with that option), and sliced into cool water with some mint
Commercially grown cucumbers are generally subjected to a fair amount of chemical spraying and their skins are waxed to improve their shelf life and appearance. It is best to peel them before use but given that most of the beneficial nutrients lie just below the skin surface and that the skin itself is a good source of use-able fiber, it is well worth growing your own if you get the chance and eating them skin and all.
There are numerous benefits to eating cucumber. Botanically it is a fruit rather than a vegetable and I like to eat it as such. At this time of year before the new season's English apples are available homegrown cucumber makes a worthy replacement - while the saying is that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, cucumber has the same effect. It's high antioxidant vitamin C content helps the immune system protect us from disease and it exerts a cleansing action within the body by removing accumulated pockets of old waste materials and chemical toxins.
The fact that cucumber is 96% water makes it a great hydrator too and it is super-rich in silica, aka the beauty nutrient. Back in the 1920's Paul Bragg, a pioneer in healthy eating, said: “There is nothing more nourishing for the skin to have than the liquid juice from the cucumber. The nutrition-rich water that it contains, when taken into the body, adds lustre to the hair, sparkle to the eye, color to the lips, tone to the skin, and spring to the step.” There is solid science behind those claims as cucumber is instrumental in collagen formation the fibrous protein responsible for holding the body together.
Applying fresh cucumber slices to the skin and eyes gives a soothing, cooling effect against skin irritations and reduces swelling. It also has the power to alleviate the pain of sunburn.
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