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M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: Cool as a Cucumber

Keep cool as a cucumber this summer!

Keep cool as a cucumber this summer!

Last weekend, for Memorial Day, I did what every person should do during a summery long weekend: chill by the lake and enjoy the sun.  Unfortunately, allergies, sunscreen, and all-day sunshine don’t quite make a mix that’s good for my eyes, so I took a much needed relaxation break on a hammock.  Even though my eyes were closed, the burning sensation just made my eyes water even more.  Luckily, I had some sliced up cucumbers ready in the cooler.  Ahhhhhh….I cannot explain how good that made me feel.

My niece then approached me and asked if she can have some cucumbers too.  Thinking she was going to copy me and put them on her eyes, I gave her two slices.  Once I took the cucumbers off of my eyes, hers were already gone!  Turns out she ate them…and I don’t blame her.  How amazing is it that a cucumber doubles as tasty fruit and an eye refresher?!

I’ve experienced the same dilemma as my niece.  Do I eat the cucumber slices, or put them on my eyes?  Once, during a spa-day at Burke Williams, I couldn’t get over the plush robes, fresh lemonade, juicy apples, and cucumber slices next to the chilled towels.  I understood that the apples and lemonade were for consumption, but what about the cucumbers?  I immediately wanted to munch on a few slices, throw some in my water, and use a few slices on my eyes while I relaxed in the jacuzzi…so I did all of it.  Cucumbers are cool like that.

As you can see, cucumbers are versatile.  They can give any lunch a healthy crunch, as well as help to keep you cool, whether you eat it or not.  Cucumbers are packed with water, making it just as refreshing as a slice of watermelon.  Plus, cucumbers are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps the immune system and helps keep skin looking good.  Silica is also found in cucumbers, giving it another reason why it’s good for your skin.  This is the best time of year to enjoy cucumbers, not only because the weather is hot, but because it’s the now the peak of the season.

Try these tips to keep cool with cucumbers this summer:

  • Keep them handy.  Use a mandolin to precut a cucumber in nice thin layers and store it in the fridge for up to two days.  You’ll have cucumbers ready at any time for you, whether you want a quick and crunchy snack or some skin relief.
  • Take the prep steps.  Some cucumbers are coated with a wax to help preserve it during shipment.  You can take a vegetable peeler and peel it, or instead, search for local and organic cucumbers that have no wax coating.
  • Try different recipes.  Cucumber go great in so many recipes.  Try adding a few slices to a garden salad or pickle some for a sweet and tangy Thai salad.  Roll up a few simple cucumber sushi rolls, or even make some tea sandwiches with cucumber and cream cheese.  All so easy yet so tasty!
  • Cheers!  Cucumbers make water taste even better.  Soak some slices in ice cold water for a light infused taste, or go for full flavor with aguas frescas.  To make any summer drink even cooler, add cucumbers to an ice tray and freeze.

I encourage you to take a break from reality and relax with some fresh cucumbers on your eyes and a glass of cucumber water in your hand.  That’s the coolest you can get, no matter what you’re wearing.

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