What is the one green fruit ingredient you might want to include in all your juice recipes? Cucumbers! Technically they are a fruit though we tend to classify them as a vegetable. Because cucumbers contains about 96% water they are practically perfect for juicing.
photo credit Karen and Brad Emerson
The cool and juicy cucumber (cucumis sativus) belongs in the plant family of melons and squashes called Curcubitaceae. They may be found in a variety of colors and shapes, but you probably most familiar with the long green varieties used for slicing and pickling.
Cucumbers provide health benefits from head to toe, inside and out. Nutritionally they contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and potassium.
Digestion and Anti-Cancer
If you are eating this vegetable (skins and all) you will get the benefits of both soluble and insoluble fiber. By juicing you will still consume the soluble fiber which helps nutrients get absorbed through the intestinal tract.
Cucumbers contain plant lignans which bind with bacteria in the digestive tract and convert them to enterolignans for both pro and anti-estrogenic effects. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, “Reduced risk of estrogen-related cancers, including cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate has been associated with intake of dietary lignans from plant foods like cucumber.”
Cucumbers are a rich source of cucurbitacins which blocks cancer cell development according to scientists and we can expect to see more research on the connections between cucumbers and anti-cancer benefits.
Skin, Hair, and Nails
Cucumber is a powerful tonic for the skin, hair, and nails. Many women know the beauty trick of applying cucumber slices to the eyes for reducing puffiness. The astringent properties in cucumbers draw out dirt and cleanse the pores, making it a popular ingredient in oily skin or acne skin care.
Cucumbers also contain silica, a trace mineral which contributes to strengthening connective tissues. This results in stronger hair and nails.
You can get these benefits both by putting cucumber juice on your skin as well as by drinking it.
Weight Loss and Inflammation
Because cucumbers contain mostly water they are and excellent food to help cleanse and wash away toxins. Toxins are often stored in fat cells and cause inflammation. But beyond just water content cucumbers also supply electrolytes to restore hydration of the body cells and balance the fluid levels in the body. This makes cucumber an important food to aid in weight loss and other inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
You can juice a cucumber – skins and all. Just be sure that if your cucumber is not organic, you wash it thoroughly first. The taste of cucumber juice is so mild it can be mixed with almost any fruit or vegetable without changing the taste. And because they contain so much water you will yield a lot of juice from cucumbers.
Easy Breezy Cucumber Cooler Recipe
1 stalk celery
1/2 lemon, peeled
Put all ingredients through the juicer, then pour over ice.