Inside: Discover 25 unique and surprising benefits of cucumbers that will improve your health, make your skin glow, cleanse your breath, and shine your shoes. Read all about the amazing uses for this versatile veggie!
This blog is part of my “Tidbits of Wisdom for Parents” YouTube video series. To access this video about the health benefits of cucumbers, click here.
Health Benefits of Cucumbers
When was the last time you snacked on a cucumber? They are a warm-season vegetable, but thanks to year-round balmy weather in various parts of the country, you can purchase this amazing veggie twelve months a year!
Cucumbers can be eaten raw, chopped in salads, juiced, pickled, and in some parts of the world, (mainly East Asia) they are baked, stir-fried or cooked in soups.
Many people erroneously believe that there aren’t many health benefits to cucumbers, nor do they hold up against such power-veggies as broccoli, carrots or spinach. But—cucumbers pack more of a punch than you think.
Here are just some of the reasons to enjoy this versatile vegetable.
25 Unique and Surprising Health Benefits of Cucumbers
1. A Natural Diuretic
Cucumbers are mostly water which is impressive for many reasons:
- First, the water you find in cucumbers is naturally distilled and is better for you than tap water or bottled water.
- Second, the composition of the water makes it a natural diuretic.
- Third: the high-water content helps to regulate our body temperature.
2. Drink the Juice for Kidney or Bladder Infections
Cucumbers are important for waste removal and when eaten regularly, they can help to dissolve kidney stones. They have also been used to treat bladder infections.
3. Reduces Uric Acid
Drink cucumber juice to reduce high uric acid that can lead to inflammation or degeneration of joints, muscles, and ligaments.
4. Normalizes Blood Pressure
Along with celery, cucumbers help to reduce blood pressure and can do so by almost 10 percent!
5. Contain Many Important Vitamins, Minerals, and Amino Acids
Cucumbers contain important vitamins you need every day. Just one cucumber contains Vitamin A, Vitamins B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, folic acid, Vitamin C, and they provide the best source of Vitamin E (in the seeds) of any other veggie. They also contain important minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and sulfur. Last, they contain the essential amino acids, methionine, and tryptophan.
6. Contain Important Phytonutrients
Phytonutrients are found on the skin of the cucumber and protect us against disease and illness. The phytonutrients found in cucumbers are beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, cucurbitacin, cucurbitin, ferulic acid, isoorientin, lupeol, and stigmasterol.
7. Helps with Cell Hydration
Cucumbers play a significant role in cell hydration, which keeps you from getting dehydrated and plumps up the skin.
8. Fabulous for Your Skin
The skin of the cucumber contains an important mineral for the skin: silica. Not only does silica strengthen the connective tissue of our skin, but it also helps with skin elasticity. And if you wake up with puffy eyes, put slices of cucumber directly on your eyes—it will help reduce the puffiness and will purify the skin.
9. Coolest of the Vegetables
The term, “cool as a cucumber,” is actually based in fact. A cucumber is about 20 degrees lower than your body temperature. That’s why they are so soothing on hot, burned or sunburned skin. They are also refreshing to eat on a hot summer day because of their thirst-quenching properties.
10. Helps with Eczema, Psoriasis, Hair Loss, Splitting Nails
Cucumbers contain both silica and sulfur—both amazing minerals that help improve skin conditions and strengthen the nails and hair. Sulfur is the dominant element of the skin and improves many different skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
11. Improves All-Around Health
Cucumbers eaten raw, pickled or juiced helps with depression, cleanses the blood, builds the heart, quenches thirst, moistens the lungs, and acts as a digestive aid.
12. A Great Pick-Me-Upper
Feeling tired in the afternoon? Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber! Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins and carbohydrates that can provide a quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
Quirky Uses for Cucumbers
Along with many health benefits, the cucumber can also be used in a number of quirky, interesting ways. Read on…
13. Eliminates Fog in the Shower
Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror; it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
14. Free your garden of pests
Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans, but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
15. Cellulite—Be Gone!
Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes. The phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!
16. Helps Headaches and Hangovers
Want to avoid a hangover or a terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients for the body; keeping everything in equilibrium and avoiding both a hangover and headache.
17. Curbs Bingeing
Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries by European trappers, traders, and explorers for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
18. Shines Shoes
Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe– its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
19. Works like WD 40
Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone.
20. Relieves Stress
Stressed out and don’t have time for a massage, facial, or a visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a pot of boiling water. Place a towel over your head and breathe in the cucumber steam. The chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in people (especially new mothers).
21. Cleans Your Breath
Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of a cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath. The phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
22. Tarnish Be Gone!
Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of a cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean. Not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won’t leave streaks and won’t harm your fingers or fingernails while you clean.
23. Works on Ink, Crayons, and Markers
Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing. Also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls.
24. Healthy for Pets
The lowly cucumber is also a healthy snack for your pets. Because of the sulfur and silica in the cucumber–it will improve their coats and make them silky soft.
25. Make Your Own Pickles
In another blog, I posted my favorite Refrigerator Pickle Recipe. (Another great recipe from one of my favorite cooks, Marlene Sorosky) They are super easy to make and taste refreshing and delicious! Check out the recipe here. They call for Japanese cucumbers—which you can find at any grocery store. They are long, green, the skin is thinner and they are usually packaged in plastic.
How to Pick Out A Cucumber
Last, it’s always helpful to know how to pick out any fruit or veggie so you end up with something that is sweet-tasting and fresh. Here are some things to look for when picking out a cucumber:
- Look for dark-skinned cucumbers
- Should be firm with no soft spots or wrinkles
- Can have bumps because they don’t alter the taste or texture.
- Choose a cucumber that does not have a waxy skin. Whenever possible, purchase organic cucumbers or Kirby cukes which are the kind used for pickles. Neither has a waxy skin.
- Don’t peel your cucumbers because many of the important vitamins and minerals are found in the skin.
- Refrigerate until ready to use
How do you like to eat your cucumbers? Salads? Pickles? Soups? Right from the garden? Please share your experiences with cucumbers and tell us just how much you like or dislike this versatile veggie!
You can access the 2-minute video here.