Refreshing cucumbers

indexCucumbers are often an item inside our CSA box. But did you know they also have lots of health benefits?

Cucumbers belong to the same plant family as squash, pumpkin, and watermelon. Like watermelon, cucumbers are made up of mostly (95 percent) water, which means eating them in a hot climate can help you stay hydrated.
Cucumbers are packed with vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C and manganese,

Health benefits:
– Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin that appears to play an important role in brain health.
– Cucumbers may help to “cool” the inflammatory response in your body.
– Cucumbers contain numerous antioxidants, including the well-known vitamin C and beta-carotene.
– Cucumbers contain multiple B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and vitamin B7 (biotin). B vitamins are known to help ease feelings of anxiety and buffer some of the damaging effects of stress.
– Cucumbers are rich in two of the most basic elements needed for healthy digestion: water and fiber. Adding cucumbers to your juice or salad can help you meet the ideal of amount of fiber your body needs. Cucumber skins contain insoluble fiber, which helps add bulk to your stool. This helps food to move through your digestive tract more quickly for healthy elimination.
– Cucumbers are very low in calories, yet they make a filling snack (one cup of sliced cucumber contains just 16 calories). The soluble fiber in cucumbers dissolves into a gel-like texture in your gut, helping to slow down your digestion. This helps you to feel full longer.
– Cucumbers contain potassium which is associated with lower blood pressure levels. A proper balance of potassium both inside and outside your cells is crucial for your body to function properly.
– Placing a cucumber slice on the roof of your mouth may help to rid your mouth of odor-causing bacteria. According to the principles of Ayurveda, eating cucumbers may also help to release excess heat in your stomach, which is said to be a primary cause of bad breath.

What can you do with cucumbers
There are many ways to enjoy cucumbers such as:
– raw in vinegar-based salads or as fingerfood
– fermented and pickled
– blended in a Gazpacho soup
– use it in your pasta salads
– make a nice dip like tzaziki (see recipe)

Cucumbers make a great base for Vegetable Juice due to their mild flavor and high water content. In fact, a simple juice of cucumber and celery is ideal for those new to juicing.
From there you can work your way up to red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, spinach along with parsley and cilantro. Juicing is actually an ideal way to consume cucumbers.
When you drink fresh-made green juice, it is almost like receiving an intravenous infusion of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes because they go straight into your system without having to be broken down. When your body has an abundance of the nutrients it needs, and your pH is optimally balanced, you will feel energized and your immune system will get a boost.

Enjoy the recipes!!

Vegan-tzatziki-6Vegan Tzatziki

This is a vegan version of the traditional tzatziki recipe and it’s made with soy yogurt. You can use normal yoghurt if you don’t want it to be vegan.

Ingredients (serves: 6):
– 4 cucumbers (700 grams or 25 ounces)
– 1 teaspoon sea salt
– 2 cups soy yoghurt
– 4 cloves of garlic
– the juice of half a lemon
– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 1 teaspoon mint
– 1 teaspoon dill
– Black pepper to taste

Instructions:
– Grate the cucumbers with the skin.
– Add a teaspoon of salt and let stand for about 10 or 15 minutes.
– Put the grated cucumbers in a napkin, towel or cheesecloth and drain them to squeeze as much liquid as you can.
– Place the soy yogurt in a bowl, add the cucumbers, the garlic cloves (finely chopped), lemon juice, oil, black pepper to taste, mint and dill. You can add more salt if you want.
– Stir and let stand for at least three or four hours in the fridge.
– Serve cold with crudités or fallafel.

cucumber-celery-juice2Cucumber morning glory juice

Ingredients (serves 2):
– 1 cucumber
– 1 apple
– 2 stalks celery
– 1 Inch ginger
– 1/2 lemon

Directions:
– Wash all veggies and fruit. leave skin on if organic.
– Juice the cucumber first, followed by the apple, ginger, lemon and celery.
– Drink plain or pour over icecubes and enjoy your cool refreshing cucumber juice !

 

 

 

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