We buy them. We eat them. But do you know that the cucumber is not just for eating? The cucumber is a remarkable plant that is a member of the gourd family having melons, squash, and pumpkins as its relatives. It grows on a creeping vine that lies on the ground and comes in many sizes, shapes, textures, and colors, including white, yellow, and even orange.The cucumber was originated in India about 3000 years ago and made its way to this nation by the mid-1600’s.
Two common kinds of cucumbers grown in the United States include slicing and pickling. Slicing cucumbers are usually large with a thick skin, while pickling cucumbers are smaller with a thin skin. A half-cup of sliced cucumbers has 8 calories and more than 10% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K.
Cucumbers are so versatile that you can eat them just as they are or you can include them in salads, sandwiches, smoothies and drinks. Peel or leave the peels on and cut up a cucumber after you wash it. Sprinkle salt, pepper and pour a little vinegar over them. If the vinegar is too strong for you, add a little water to dilute it. You may even add a little sugar or sugar substitute for an even better taste. Keep the cucumber slices in a container in your refrigerator for a quick pick-me-up throughout the day.
Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day. Just one cucumber contains vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Because of these ingredients, cucumbers are excellent for hangovers and headaches.
Cucumbers provide the energy that can curb your appetite for hours. Instead of a bag of chips and a soda when you feel hungry in the afternoon, eat cucumber slices. While you are busy trying to lose weight, you will be happy to know that cucumbers are also a natural diuretic. A cucumber is more than 95% water.
Cucumbers are not just for eating. They can be used for many other things as well. Have you ever wondered why women’s bath products sometimes contain cucumbers? The cucumber is known to be a wrinkle and cellulite remover. We often see people at the spa with cucumbers on their eyes. Cucumber slices over the eyes help reduce puffiness and help to remove the swelling because of the water content and caffeic acid. They work the same way with other parts of your body, as well. If you want to look good going out to the pool, rub some cucumber slices over your problem cellulite areas and it will tighten up your skin.
If you are feeling down or stressed out, simply cut up an entire cucumber and put the slices in boiling water. Put a towel over your head and breathe in the cucumber and water mixture. You will be relaxed after just a few minutes. Have you ever wondered why people say you look as cool as a cucumber? That's because cucumbers have anti-inflammatory ingredients to help your skin cool down.
Try rubbing a cucumber slice over a fogged up mirror. Cucumbers also get rid of soap scum and tarnish from your tub and stainless steel sinks without leaving streaks. Fix a squeaky hinge with a cucumber. If you run out of shoe polish, run to the kitchen and rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe. The chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
Here’s a quick cure for those annoying pests in your garden. Fill an aluminum foil pie pan with water and put a few slices of cucumber in the water. Then, set the pie pan in your garden. Depending on the size of your growing needs, you may need more than one. It turns out that the chemical composition of aluminum, mixed with cucumber slices, drives these pests crazy and makes them run away. 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.