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Cool cucumbers just right for hot summer days

A juicy cucumber adds a wonderful freshness and crunch to our summer salads. Top of Form Bottom of Form Cucumbers are very cooling and full of health benefits.
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A juicy cucumber adds a wonderful freshness and crunch to our summer salads. Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Cucumbers are very cooling and full of health benefits.

6 Health Benefits of Cucumbers:

Good for lowering high blood pressure: DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) studies have shown that eating cucumbers lowered blood pressure by 5.5 points when eaten with a diet of lean proteins and low starch.

Helps reduce cholesterol levels: Cucumbers contain sterols. According to Mayo Clinic research, sterols reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by about 10 percent.

Reduce risk of heart disease: They contain three lignans that research has shown to boost to increase heart health.

Hydrating for the body: Cucumbers are 95 percent water.

Assist in flushing toxins from the body. A cucumber with its high water content gets your urinary system moving. This is why they are in many detox recipes.

Great weight loss food: A half cup of sliced cucumbers has only 8 calories so fill up on them!

Also, cucumbers have a cooling and soothing effect. Place cucumber slices on the eyes to decrease puffiness and on the skin to take the heat out of the sunburn.

How to Choose and Store Cucumbers:

Firm dark green cucumbers with no soft spots are best. A cucumber bulging in the middle means it's filled with large watery seeds and tasteless flesh.

Keep cucumbers in the refrigerator crisper. They do not last long and will not usually last for more than a week. If you get unwaxed cucumbers like I do, they do lose moisture easily so keep them wrapped tightly in plastic.

The USDA Pesticide Data Program found 35 pesticide residues, so do try to find organic cucumbers.

There are 3 main types of cucumbers:

Slicing -- these have a thicker skin so you may need to peel.

English -- which are the longest cucumbers.

Pickling -- are the smallest and not just for pickling, they are great in salads.

How to Make Cucumbers Part of Your Daily Diet + 2 Recipes

Add cucumbers to salads. Cucumbers are a great garnish to your main dishes.

Use cucumbers to dip instead of chips or other junk food at your next party.

Sparkling Cucumber Lemon Water

This is a wonderful, refreshing summer drink for hot days.

Ingredients: Half an English cucumber, thinly sliced 1/2 lemon or lime, thinly sliced 2 – 3 cups water 1 liter sparkling water, chilled

Directions:

1. Place cucumber and lemon or lime slices in a pitcher, and add just enough water to cover them. 2. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. 3. Add sparkling water to taste, and serve.

Quick Healthy Pickles

Quick pickles are done for immediate use rather than preserving. They also have a more simple flavour than the preserved kind. The reward of making quick pickles is – with very little effort – you could be enjoying pickles today.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup cider vinegar 1/3 cup water 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/2 cups sliced Slicing cucumber or English cucumber 3 drops light Stevia or 2 tsp honey 1 small onion, sliced 1/3 cup fresh red pepper, chopped 1/2 tsp dill seed black pepper

Directions:

1. Combine cider vinegar with 1/2-cup of water, salt, sweetener, and dill seed in a small glass container with lid. 2. Place vegetables in with the liquid mixture. 3. Make sure they are submerged, add cold water to cover. 4. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Salt draws moisture out of the vegetables, and encourages the growth of useful bacteria so do not skimp on it.

These Quick Pickles will keep for about 10 - 20 days. I have had them for as long as a month.