August 21, 2014

Stay cool as a cucumber

Cucumbers are a great food for the hot days of summer.

Cucumbers are a great food for the hot days of summer.Cucumbers are a great food for the hot days of summer.When 90-degree temperatures and drenching humidity threaten to overheat you by causing an extreme state of dripping steaminess, it’s time to cool the body and mind with refreshing, rehydrating foods.

What could be more invigorating than fresh, crisp cucumbers? With a 95% water content, cucumbers will hydrate the system and supply rejuvenating benefits to the body, inside and out.

A natural beauty aid, cucumbers can bring welcome relief to tired, swollen eyes. Place a slice of cucumber over each eye and lie down for 5-10 minutes. Breathe deeply and relax, letting the cooling sensation restore your overworked and irritated eyes. Your eyes will feel super soothed and any puffiness will be greatly diminished.

The naturally high water content and silica in cucumbers provide  immensely effective ingredients to improve your complexion and give you glowing, luminous skin. The ascorbic acid and caffeic acid found in cucumbers are useful in easing the searing discomfort of sunburns, as well as the itchy burn of dermatitis and also work wonders eliminating water retention.

Cucumber juice may help prevent gum disease, splitting fingernails and toenails and may even be helpful with hair growth, particularly when combined with carrot and spinach juice. Cucumbers are a good source of potassium, which promotes muscle flexibility, as well as magnesium, which relaxes nerves and muscles and keeps blood circulating smoothly.

Organic, unwaxed, fresh-from-the-farmstand cucumbers, can be washed and eaten unpeeled, providing a fiber-rich food that will help regulate blood pressure and bowel regularity. Choose cucumbers that are bright green, smooth-skinned and quite firm to the touch.

Enjoy the wonderful flavor of cucumbers in many delightful dishes, from Vietnamese summer rolls, to gazpacho to delicate tea sandwiches to an array of salads, and keep cool while preparing a delicious life.

Cool As A Cucumber Salad

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 minced, seeded jalapeno (optional)

2 minced garlic cloves

5 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

4-5 tablespoons roughly chopped roasted peanuts

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Mix together first 6 ingredients to make a dressing.

Put cucumbers, onions and herbs in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing until well coated. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP  is a passionate food  professional  who specializes in teaching healthy cooking to adults and children. For more information go to www.theconsciouscook.net .