Temperatures have hit 110 degrees fahrenheit consistently all week. I slug home from the office, kick off my shoes, pull my hair back, and change into lighter clothes. The AC blasts a cool reprieve. So does the cucumber.
Because cucumbers are part of the melon family, they are approximately 95% water. That enables them to keep the body hydrated and to help regulate inner body temperatures. They’re also helpful in flushing toxins. I sometimes find cucumber skin bitter and peel it away but the skin does contain ample vitamin C and makes it an anti-inflammatory. If I’m not going to eat it, I might as well rub it on my skin like I use aloe vera. Used this way, it also hydrates and relieves irritations like sun burn. In fact, some herbalists recommend using cucumber around the eyes to reduce swelling.
According to studies by DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating cucumbers can also help lower blood pressure in some hypertension prone individuals when coupled with a diet of low starch and lean proteins. They’re high in vitamin K and a host of other phytonutrients that I can’t pronounce like apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, kaempferol, pinoresinol, lariciresinol, secoisolariciresinol, and triterpenes. All good I’m sure. Other studies show that cucumbers, when eaten regularly, help to regulate uric acid, so it is great for prevention of certain kidney or bladder stones.
I love how fresh they are – great for salads but also for adding to smoothies. In this case, they become a smoothie on their own. This is a terrific refreshment but would also work well poured into popsicle molds (paletas) or with watermelon added for a sweeter flavor. Try one of these with a dip in the pool or a brief shower. My athletic sons assure me that getting my head wet is a great cooling mechanism also. If you’re fighting the heat, what are your tips for staying cool?
Agrigirl’s Cucumber Cooler
large serving for one
- 1 medium cucumber peeled (or not) and cut into chunks.
- leaves stripped from 2 sprigs of mint
- 1 cup sparkling water
- 8+ ice cubes
- Sprinkle of stevia (I use stevia as a sweetener – this is not FDA approved and that is worthy of a food politics post of its own)
Combine all ingredients into a blender and whip on the highest setting for 1 minute. Pour into glasses and drink immediately. You could actually add alcohol to this drink if desired but it is so light and refreshing that it’s definitely not needed.