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What is A Cucumber?
Cucumber, Cucumis sativus, is from the family Cucurbitaceae that originated from India. Like melons, gourds, squashes and zucchini, cucumber is a creeper (vine). The best cucumbers are those that are harvested young because they taste sweet and have a crunchy texture. The color of the peel varies from green to white. Inside, you will find pale green flesh that is thick, yet crispy sometimes, with edible fleshy seeds.
Let us start with some facts many people do not know:
- More than 90% of cucumber is water.
- Although cucumbers are popular as vegetables, cucumbers are classified as Accessory fruits, because they are developing from flowers and have enclosed seed.
- In the legend of Gilgamesh, people are eating cucumbers.
- Emperor Tiberius was very fond of cucumbers, and according to Pliny the Elder, every day, in summer or winter, he had a cucumber on the table.
- Charlemagne grew cucumbers in his garden in the 8th century.
- In ancient Rome, women who wanted children wore cucumbers around their waists.
- Romans used cucumbers to treat scorpion bites.
- Cucumbers were interesting weapons to scare away mice.
- Cucumbers are the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world.
- Above all, cucumbers have been cultivated for at least 3000 years.
There are three different types of cucumber: slicing, pickling and burpless.
People grow “slicers” to eat them fresh. Yellow cucumbers are usually sour and bitter, so these slicers are green and longer.
“Pickles” are bred in a specific way: they are shorter, thicker, with bumpy skin, and usually grown from 7 to 10 centimeters long and 2.2 centimeters wide. They are soaked in brine or vinegar and brine.
Burpless have a sweet and pleasant taste, thinner skin and grow as long as 2 feet. Mostly grown in greenhouses, these seedless cucumbers are very popular in grocery markets.
Health Benefits from Cucumber
The most valuable mineral in cucumber is mineral silica because it is essential for healthy connective tissue (bone, skin, cartilage, ligaments and muscles). Cucumber is a powerful plant that enhances your immune system due to the presence of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. This vegetable is of immense importance for your skin because it contains fluids responsible for skin and tissue hydration.
Because of the electrolytes, fluids and alkalizing elements, cucumbers are the best for boosting the energy.
Cucumbers are great for detoxification and stabilization of blood pressure. Vitamins A, B, C, D and E are all present in cucumbers. Peel of the cucumber is a good source of dietary fiber.
Cucumbers can help treat:
▪ Blood pressure
▪ Several cancer types (breasts, uterine and prostate)
▪ Cucumber also stimulates hair growth, acts as a diuretic, protects nails and reduces cellulite.
Cucumbers for Skin Care
Cucumbers have always been famous due to the leading role in skin treatments. The most responsible for this popular usage is certainly mineral silica, because silica reduces wrinkles, and improves complexion.
On the other hand, high content of water is crucial for the hydration of the skin, while ascorbic acid and caffeic acid are vital for preventing water loss from the body.
Although they are beneficial for all skin types, cucumbers are especially useful for the oily skin, because they are acting as a mild astringent.
Treatment for Skin Care
Cucumber Facial Cleanser
For a facial cleanser, you will need half a cucumber and one-half cup of milk. Put a cucumber in a blender and blend it until you make a juice of it, then you add milk and blend it. Once you have a gentle froth, your cleanser is ready. Clean your skin with this juice and rinse it with warm water. You can always store this juice in a glass jar in the refrigerator and use it for three or four more days.
Another fast cucumber cleanser you will make mixing fresh mint, cucumber, and egg white. First, blend 4 to 5 fresh mint and peel and deseed the cucumber. Mix these ingredients until you get a puree. Beat egg white and then add it to the cucumber and mint mixture. Apply this on your face, keep it for 20 minutes, and then rinse it with water.
Cucumber for Eyes
Applying a fresh cucumber on your eyes is the best treatment for puffiness and dark circles under your eyes. Some say that when you rub fresh cucumbers on your skin, it helps you with freckles and marks. Moreover, cucumbers help to relieve redness on your skin and heal sunburns, inflammation and eczema. Cucumbers act as a natural skin refresher and they are the most natural eye pads you can find.
This treatment is more than simple: slice cucumbers thinly enough to be more flexible than rigid, put them on your eyes and rest for ten to twenty minutes. You can repeat this treatment three or four times a week.
Greeks and Romans did an excellent job spreading the word about this marvelous plant, and literally, they introduced the cucumber to other countries.
Today, cucumbers, although in different shapes and sizes, are seen all around the world. After all, they are delicious as well.
Image credit: DepositPhotos.com
Last article update: 01/22/2019