Super foods

Cucumber Water – 23 health benefits & 10 recipes

The cheap and awesome superfood

Story Highlights

  • Cucumber water is an inexpensive healthy drink that is easy to make.
  • From hydrating and detoxification to reducing inflammation and fighting cancer, this fortified vegetable can really pack a punch.
  • With its unique combination of vitamins and minerals, it offers a wealth of nutritional benefits.
  • Cucumber water is best prepared in an infuser pitcher.
Cucumber water is a refreshing drink that can offer you extensive health benefits. For decades, it has been served at spas and health clubs around the world due to its purifying properties and natural ability to relax. Considered an effective cleanse for flushing out toxins in your body, cucumber water is essentially any type of water infused with slices of fresh Cucumber (Cucumis sativus).
As one of the most common vegetables grown in backyard gardens, as well as one of the more affordable types of produce offered at your local market, the health value of a cucumber is often underestimated. Cucumber water is ideal for quenching your thirst and keeping you hydrated. It is a powerful concoction that serves as a healthy alternative to drinking sodas and other beverages loaded with calories that offer little, if any, health benefits.

To gain optimal benefits from this healthy drink, you’ll want to slice your cucumbers thin to infuse peak flavor as they work their ‘magic’ – releasing the maximum potency of the vitamins and minerals. To maintain your over-all health, keep your body properly hydrated and attain the many benefits cucumber water offers, you should incorporate this healthy drink as a part of your daily diet.

“It’s funny how cucumber water can taste so much better than pickle juice, even though they come from the same source.” ― Ellen DeGeneres

Cucumbers are loaded with vitamins and minerals

Fresh (Raw) Cucumber (with peel) Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz.)

Vitamins
Thiamine (B1) (2%) 0.027 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (3%) 0.033 mg
Niacin (B3) (1%) 0.098 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) (5%) 0.259 mg
Vitamin B6 (3%) 0.04 mg
Folate (B9) (2%) 7 μg
Vitamin C (3%) 2.8 mg
Vitamin K (16%) 16.4 μg

Trace metals
Calcium (2%) 16 mg
Iron (2%) 0.28 mg
Magnesium (4%) 13 mg
Manganese (4%) 0.079 mg
Phosphorus (3%) 24 mg
Potassium (3%) 147 mg
Sodium (<1%) 2 mg
Zinc (2%) 0.2 mg

Benefits of cucumber

Keeps your breath fresh: Cucumber water is a natural treatment that can keep your breath fresh and reduce halitosis. Bad breath is a result of bacteria on your tongue breaking down the proteins in the food we eat- especially foods loaded with sugar. This process results in the bacteria releasing sulfur compounds into our mouths; which in turn causes an odor. The oxygen found in salvia is a known deterrent of bacteria; so the more saliva we produce, the easier it is to neutralize bad breath. Drinking plenty of cucumber water can increase saliva production and it washes away the bacteria- leaving you with a cleaner, fresher breath and a healthier mouth free of harmful bacteria.

baking-soda-bath-weight-lossHelps maintain healthy weight: Consuming cucumber water as a regular part of your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight. Unlike sodas and other sugary drinks that are loaded with calories, cucumbers have a very high water content and low calorie count (1 cup = about 16 calories). Made up of 95% water content, cucumbers added to water can do an excellent job of taking up room in your stomach – thus making you feel full. Cucumber water is highly effective for quenching your thirst and works as a great preventive when you have the urge to snack.

Helps detox your body: Cucumber water is considered a natural diuretic because consuming it will help your body generate more urine; which in turn, expels the toxins and waste. Drinking cucumber water on a regular basis supports the digestive tract as it rids the body of accumulated toxins and waste while simultaneously cleansing the liver (which is the primary detoxifying organ). Cucumber water can also reduce bloating and water retention – especially if your diet regularly consists of salty foods.

Helps lower your risk of cancer: Cucumbers are considered as a great anti-cancer food because they contain powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants. Quite a few bio-active compounds have been isolated from this dark green skinned vegetable. These compounds include: cucurbitacins (A, B, C, D, & E), glucosides, lignans, apigenin and flavanols, all of which have powerful cancer fighting abilities to help protect DNA and cells from damage caused by oxidative stress. A research study conducted at the University of Valencia (in Spain) indicates cucurbitacins can induce cancerous cell death (apoptosis) because of their ability to modify activities in genes while activating anti-tumor proteins. 1

Maintaining a healthy brain: Cucumbers contain fisetin – an anti-inflammatory flavonal that can help maintain a healthy brain. Studies of plant polyphenol from the flavonoid group and its effect on the brain have shown it can not only improve memory but protect nerve cells that decline with age. Fisetin works by ‘switching on’ cellular pathways connected to the retrieval of memories and can assist in protecting the neurons in the brain as they age. More significantly, using Fisetin as an approach to treating Alzheimer’s symptoms and the associated effects it has on the brain. 2

An effective antioxidant: Cucumbers are an excellent source of antioxidant nutrients because they contain vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. Additionally, this dark skinned vegetable also hosts numerous flavonoid antioxidants, including quercetin (prevents histamine release), apigenin (helps fight the effects of carcinogens), lutein (protects against cataracts, macular degeneration, clogging of the carotid arteries), and kaempferol (helps fight cancer and lowers your risk of chronic diseases). In research studies, the fresh extract from a cucumber has shown to provide specific antioxidant benefits- which include heightened scavenging of free radicals and increased overall antioxidant capacity.

Drink-more-water-infographicHelps hydrate: Drinking water is essential for life; without it, we could never survive. To be fully hydrated, it is recommended you drink half your body weight in ounces each day. Hydrating your body is critical for maintaining your health because it aids the cellular homeostasis (a balance in your body for maintaining healthy cells).3 With a 95% water content and loaded with essential nutrients, cucumber water has a greater nutritional value than drinking plain water from the tap or bottle. Keeping hydrated is essential for our body because it keeps bones and blood healthy, regulates body temperature, helps fight free radicals and can aid in keeping your digestive system functioning properly.

Supports digestion: Cucumbers contain two of the most important agents needed to maintain healthy digestion – water and fiber. A single unpeeled cucumber contains 1.5 grams of dietary fiber which equals to about 5% of what your body needs daily. The dark skin of the cucumber is rich with insoluble fiber; and, when consumed, it facilitates healthy bowel movements so food (waste) can move through your digestive system more quickly. Cucumber water also helps maintain pH levels in the liver which regulates the secretion of digestive juice needed for better digestion.

Helps reduce inflammation: The release of cucumber extract which occurs during infusion with water possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Studies indicate that the substances found in fresh cucumber can inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes like cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2 enzymes that produce prostaglandins which promote inflammation). Furthermore, these agents can help prevent overproduction of nitric oxide in instances where it could increase the likelihood of excessive inflammation.4

Keeps your heart healthy: Because cucumbers contain potassium (152mg per cup), drinking cucumber water can help lower blood pressure and maintain a healthy heart. According to the American Heart Association, higher intakes of potassium is directly associated with lower rates of stroke; and, might also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. A study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, showed out of 12,000 adults, those who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium each day lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease by 37 percent and 49 percent, respectively, compared to those who took 1,793 mg per day.

baking-soda-bath-beauty-benefitsGood for your skin: For centuries, cucumber ‘juice’ has been used to nourish skin naturally. Cucumbers contain silica, a trace mineral that has a tremendous impact on skin regeneration because it contributes considerably to strengthening connective tissues. The consumption of this mineral is critical for repair and cell renewal. Silica also has the ability to create bonds between protein molecules, which aids in the skin’s natural ability to retain water. By applying slices of cucumber directly to skin, or using cucumber water as a facial toner, it can also produce a cooling effect that can soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling.

Antiaging effects: With a winning combination of vitamins and minerals, cucumbers are considered as a super food. With all the many benefits cucumber water offers – hydrating the skin, cleansing the body, maintaining a healthy brain, improving bone and muscle health and reducing stress, it’s no wonder this powerful water has anti-aging effects. In addition to the many ways cucumber water can benefit your appearance and overall health, it provides an infusion of alkalizing elements, electrolytes, and fluids that makes it ideal for enhancing energy levels, which translates into you not only looking great – but feeling great too!

Helps Acne: Cucumbers are packed with flavonoid antioxidants. Quercetin, kaempferol, luteolin and apigen that all work together to tighten pores; aiding in the prevention of bacterial infections that result in acne breakouts. However, one of the most promising agents in cucumbers is Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), which has been effective in reducing facial acne lesions. Most of these vitamins and minerals are found in the dark skin of a cucumber – so you’ll want to keep the skin on when infusing slices in your water. Peeling this powerful produce will diminish the potency. However, be sure to wash cucumbers well before use as they are usually covered in wax.5

Eliminate bags and dark circles: For decades, slices of cucumbers have been known to reduce bags, puffiness and dark circles around the eye area. Soaking a cotton ball with cucumber water will have the same effect. Rich with Vitamin C, cucumbers work to produce collagen; a protein that can leave the skin firm and supple as it restores the skin’s elasticity around the eye. The manganese and beta carotene in cucumbers also helps to reduce swelling and inflammation which can eliminate puffy eyes. Being a natural astringent, cucumbers also have the ability to lighten dark circles while tightening pores for a smoother looking skin.

Hydrates skin: Drinking cucumber water helps keep your skin hydrated. Ingesting cucumber water can also provide you with the two nutrients essential for healthy skin – silica and vitamin B5. Temperature and climate conditions, along with elements in the environmental (sun exposure, cold or hot weather, air pollution, extreme wind) can dramatically affect your skin, leaving it dry, red and itchy. Drinking cucumber water can help hydrate your skin from within.

reduce-stressReduces stress: Cucumbers can help improve a body’s response to stress because they contain multiple B vitamins- B1, B5, B7. Any type of stress a person experiences can create hormonal changes that affect the body in numerous ways. During the onset of feeling stressed, the body responds by releasing cortisol- an ‘acidic’ hormone that causes inflammation. The B vitamins found in cucumber can help balance hormones, regulate functions of adrenal glands (producers of hormones), counter harmful effects of stress and help manage stress levels. Additionally, drinking cucumber water loaded with B Vitamins can significantly reduce PMS symptoms, depression and anxiety.

Lower blood pressure: High levels of potassium in cucumber (152mg per cup) can aid in regulating blood pressure by boosting electrolyte levels and mitigating the damaging effects of excessive sodium consumption. Adding potassium rich cucumber water to your diet can not only help control and lower your blood pressure- higher intakes could prevent strokes, heart attacks and deaths from heart disease.6

Heal diseased gums: Along with being a great source of vitamins and minerals, cucumbers can also alkalize and heal diseased gums. Cucumber has the ability to correct acid imbalance in your mouth which can develop into painful and bleeding gums. Drinking cucumber water on a daily basis will help to absorb the acid in your mouth, helping unhealthy gums to heal.

Good for muscle health: Although not a good substitute for exercise, drinking cucumber water is an effective supplement in preventing muscles from becoming weak. Cucumbers provide an important nutrient called silica. This combination of oxygen and silica is critical for maintaining the integrity of connective tissues in our body. Cucumber water can enhance the strengthening and support of joints, ligaments and muscles in our body.

baking-soda-bath-pain-reliefHelps relieve pain: Cucumbers contain both flavonoids and tannins (commonly referred to as tannic acid). Drinking cucumber water with the powerful combination of anti-inflammatory properties and water soluble polyphenols has been shown to release of free radicals in the body and to reduce pain.7 As an effective remedy for alleviating headaches, swelling and minor pains, cucumber water can also be highly beneficial for relieving the pain associated with arthritis.

Essential for bone health: Cucumbers have a high vitamin K content which is essential to maintain healthy bones. Adding 1 cup of sliced cucumbers to your water will provide you over 17 micrograms of vitamin K. Studies indicate that vitamin K has the ability to reduce bone fractures as it works with vitamin D to increase bone density and regulate calcium balance. Drinking cucumber water also aids in the prevention of Osteoporosis (a condition that affects menopausal women- putting them at higher risk for weak and broken bones). Being rich in vitamin K, cucumbers work to keep bones dense and strong, while improving the flexibility of healthy bones.

Improves hair health: Cucumbers are rich in silica, sulfur, phosphorus and calcium, all of which are essential for healthy hair growth. Incorporating cucumber water into your diet can improve growth and texture by strengthening hair follicles. Compounds found in cucumber can also improve the shine of your hair, making it look and feel healthier. Massaged into the scalp, it is effective treatment for dandruff. Rinsing your hair with cucumber water can soften and repair hair that is dry or damaged.

constipationPrevents constipation: The water and fiber found in cucumbers (seeds, skin & pulp) is a powerful combination known for being effective in preventing (or relieving) constipation. When fiber moves through your body it absorbs water, making your stool softer and easier to pass; ensuring a smooth movement of the stool along the intestinal tract.8 Drinking cucumber water daily [to make use of the fiber, blend the cucumber and add it to the water] can help you meet your dietary fiber needs and keep your digestive system functioning optimally.

Cucumber water is cheap and easy to prepare

With only two simple ingredients (water & cucumber) this powerful drink is both inexpensive and easy to prepare. Although organic cucumbers are ideal to infuse in your water, they are typically more expensive than ones found in a supermarket or at your local farmers market. If you enjoy cucumber water and want to reap the benefits on a daily basis, you can cut down the cost by growing your own. Purchasing one plant or a package of seeds can yield a good crop of cucumbers. They can be grown in a pot on a balcony or deck or in a designated garden area in your backyard. Cucumbers love to climb so you’ll want to have stakes or a trellis as their vines begin to grow.

Cucumber water recipes

You can make a vast amount of cucumber water variations depending on your taste and preference. Spring, distilled, tap or even sparkling water can be used. A large pitcher or carafe (capacity 3-4 quarts) works well during the infusion process and for serving; but fruit infused water pitchers designed with a specific chamber to hold the cucumber slices (and other fruits) are ideal.

Recipe 1: Cucumber water – The basic recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized cucumber thinly sliced
  • 2 quarts of water

Directions

Place thinly sliced cucumber slices in 2 quarts water. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours while cucumbers infuse. Stir well and remove cucumber slices. Serve with or without ice with a few slices of fresh cucumber as a garnish.

Recipe 2: Mexican cucumber water

Ingredients

  • 3 cucumbers- peeled and sliced
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup of lime juice (approx. 7 limes)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Large gallon pitcher

Directions

Pour ½ cup water and 1 cup sliced cucumber in blender. Blend well. Gradually add the remaining cucumbers a small amount at a time until all are blended. Strain the cucumber juice so there are no seeds. Pour strained juice into a large pitcher and add the remaining water, lime juice and sugar. Mix well. Chill before serving.

Recipe 3: Cucumber lemon water

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 2 quarts of water

Directions

Place thinly sliced cucumber and lemon (save a few slices of each for a garnish) slices in 2 quarts water. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours while cucumbers infuse. Stir well and remove cucumber and lemon slices. Serve chilled fresh cucumber and lemon slices as a garnish.

Recipe 4: Lemon ginger cucumber water

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger muddled
  • 2 quarts of water

Directions

Place thinly sliced cucumber and lemon slices (save a few slices of each for a garnish) along with muddled ginger in 2 quarts water. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours while cucumbers, lemon and ginger infuse. Stir well. Remove cucumber and lemon slices; then strain water to remove muddled ginger. Serve chilled (with or without ice) with fresh cucumber and lemon slices as a garnish.

Recipe 5: Lemon cucumber mint water

Ingredients

  • 1 medium- sized cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 3-5 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 quarts of water

Directions

Place thinly sliced cucumber and lemon slices (save a few slices of each for a garnish) along with whole mint leaves in 2 quarts water. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours while cucumbers, lemon and mint infuse. Stir well. Remove cucumber and lemon slices; leave mint leaves in water, or remove and replace with fresh mint leaves for a garnish. Serve chilled.

Recipe 6: Cucumber basil water

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized cucumber thinly sliced
  • 3-5 small fresh basil leaves
  • 2 quarts of water

Place thinly sliced cucumber and ripped basil leaves in 2 quarts water (save a few slices of each for a garnish). Refrigerate for 2-4 hours while cucumbers and basil infuse. Stir well and remove cucumber; strain basil from water. Serve chilled (with or without ice).

Recipe 7: Strawberry cucumber water

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cucumber thinly sliced
  • 5-7 large strawberries sliced
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 2 quarts of water

Directions

Place thinly sliced cucumber, strawberries and lemon slices in 2 quarts water (save a few slices of each for a garnish). Refrigerate for 2-4 hours while cucumbers, lemon and strawberries infuse. Stir well and remove cucumber, strawberry and lemon slices from water. Add slices of reserve for garnish. Serve chilled.

Recipe 8: Cucumber mint water

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 quarts of water

Directions

Place mint leaves in the pitcher. Take a wood spoon and gently mash the mint leaves. Add thinly sliced cucumber and 2 quarts water to the pitcher (save a few slices cucumber and a mint leave or two for a garnish). Mix well and refrigerate for 2-4 hours while cucumbers and mint infuse. Remove cucumber slices; strain mint leaves from water. Serve chilled with garnish.

Recipe 9: Cucumber orange and lemon water

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1 orange thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 2 quarts of water

Directions

Place thinly sliced cucumber, orange and lemon slices in 2 quarts water (save a slice of each for a garnish). Refrigerate for 2-4 hours while cucumbers, lemon and orange infuse. Stir well and remove cucumber, orange and lemon slices from water. Add slices of reserve garnish to pitcher. Serve chilled.

Recipe 10: Pineapple cucumber water

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pineapple chunks or One 20 oz can of pineapple chunks (fresh is best, but canned can be substituted)
  • ½ cucumber thinly sliced
  •  2 quarts of water

Directions

Place pineapple chunks and cucumber slices in 2 quarts water (save a few slices/chunks of each for a garnish). Refrigerate for 2-4 hours while cucumbers and pineapples infuse. Stir well; remove and discard cucumber and pineapple from water. Add slices and chunks of reserve garnish to pitcher. Serve chilled (with or without ice).

How long is cucumber water good to consume once prepared?

As a general rule of thumb, any water infused with fruit or vegetables should be consumed the same day you prepare it or the day after for maximum potency. However, if refrigerated, your cucumber water will retain its flavor and be safe to consume for up to three days. As with any healthy beverage you concoct, you will want to drink it fresh because it contains no preservatives to prolong its longevity. Removing the cucumber after 2 -4 hours of infusing will be essential to avoid the vegetable from decomposing; which can create a potentially undesirable flavor; rendering it undrinkable.

How much cucumber water should you drink daily?

Health experts recommend that we drink 8-10 8 oz. glasses of water a day. This ensures we will receive the maximum benefits of drinking water. Plain water can be boring, but cucumber infused water can offer a tasty alternative that provides a number of essential vitamins and minerals that are good for us. Making 3-4 quarts of cucumber water should supply you with the recommended daily intake of at least 8-10 glasses. However, too much of a good thing does have its drawbacks. Excessive consumption of cucumber infused water can trigger harmful effects such as electrolyte imbalances and the increased risk of toxicity. Optimal quantity of cucumber water intake will depend on the individual, but should never exceed the recommended amount.

Is it worth buying organic cucumbers to prepare cucumber water?

Yes! It is worth buying organic. The Environmental Working Group produces a list each year of fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue, known as the ‘Dirty Dozen’- and cucumbers nearly missed it at position 13.9This slender dark skinned vegetable almost made the list because their exposure to pesticide residue is high. It is important to note that both organic and conventionally grown cucumbers are usually waxed, but organic ones can only use non-synthetic waxes with chemicals approved under organic regulations. Therefore, the likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods. However, If you can’t find organic cucumbers, you shouldn’t avoid them altogether because the health benefits of eating non-organic cukes certainly outweighs the risk of not eating them at all. Although a cucumbers’ skin is nutrient rich, you can always peel it to be on the safe side- but you will diminish the nutritional value by doing so.

Tips for buying cucumbers

The best cucumbers to purchase from the grocery store or local farmer’s market should be firm and have a dark green colored skin. Cucumbers with lighter shades of green, wrinkled at the tips, appear spongy or puffy in texture, indicate they are older- meaning they were picked some time ago and have been sitting around longer than they should be. When shopping for cucumbers you’ll want to ‘test the firmness’ as many older cucumbers have a tendency to bend. One that is firm to the touch right to the end of both tips will be fresh and crunchy. Cucumbers can vary in size: smaller ones can be crisper and have very fine seeds; larger ones will be a bit more ‘fleshy’ and have larger seeds- finding one that is a happy medium between these two is ideal.

Final take on Cucumber water

Overall cucumber water is an inexpensive healthy drink that is easy to make. By simply infusing sliced cucumbers in a pitcher of water, you can create a refreshing, super healthy concoction that not only tastes great, it’s good for you too! Cucumbers are an important vegetable to incorporate into your diet because they offer so many health benefits- from hydrating and detoxification to reducing inflammation and fighting cancer, this fortified vegetable can really pack a punch! With its unique combination of vitamins and minerals, it offers a wealth of nutritional benefits that can help improve and maintain your health, as well as enhance your overall well-being.

References


  1. Ríos JL. Cucurbitacins as inducers of cell death and a rich source of potential anticancer compounds.PubMed – NCBI. 2017. Accessed November 15, 2017.

  2. Currais A, Prior M, Dargusch R et al. Modulation of p25 and inflammatory pathways by fisetin maintains cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice. Aging Cell. 2013;13(2):379-390. doi:10.1111/acel.12185.

  3. Romero, Michael F. In the Beginning, There Was the Cell: Cellular Homeostasis. Physiology.org, Adv Physiol Educ, 2004.

  4. Janakiram, Naveena B, et al. Sea Cucumbers Metabolites as Potent Anti-Cancer Agents. PMC, Orazio Taglialatela-Scafati, Academic Editor, 2015.

  5. Yang, Michael, et al. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of a Novel Pantothenic Acid-Based Dietary Supplement in Subjects with Mild to Moderate Facial Acne. PMC, Dermatol Ther (Heidelb), 2014.

  6. Potassium Lowers Blood Pressure.Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publishing, 2017.

  7. Kumar, D, et al. Free Radical Scavenging and Analgesic Activities of Cucumis Sativus L. Fruit Extract. PMC, J Young Pharm, 2010.

  8. Yang, Jing, et al. Effect of Dietary Fiber on Constipation: A Meta Analysis. PMC, World J Gastroenterol, 2012.

  9. EWG’s 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™. Environmental Working Group, 2017.

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Hello! This amazing article was posted by one of the wonderful writers at Naturazi! They strive exceptionally hard to provide you with the relevant knowledge, tips and resources to live healthy and heal naturally.

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