In the world of “detox drinks,” some of the most loved ingredients include apple cider vinegar, ginger, lemon, turmeric, celery and cucumber. Each of these has its unique health perks. For example, turmeric help support a healthy response to inflammation, while cucumber is useful for managing swelling and bloating.
What’s a super simple, healthy beverage you can sip on throughout the day to enhance digestion? Cucumber water makes a great choice.
Thanks to cucumber nutrition, cucumber water provides small amounts of polyphenol antioxidants and vitamin K. In addition to satisfying thirst, other cucumber water benefits include assisting in detoxification and cutting your intake of added sugar.
Cucumber Water Benefits
Cucumbers are technically fruits that belong to the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) plant family. While they’re mostly made of water, they also provide anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidants (such as cucurbitacins, tannins, glucosides, lignans and flavonols) and certain vitamins.
What does cucumber in water do?
First and foremost, it helps you meet your daily need for water/fluids and prevents dehydration.
Cucumbers have a very high water content. They are made up of about 95%, with the remainder being a small amount of carbs and fiber. They’re naturally low in sugar and basically free of fat and protein.
Most of cucumber’s nutrients are found inside the peel and seeds. This is why it’s a good idea not to peel cucumbers before eating them, unless they’re not organic and contain a waxy coating.
Is it better to eat cucumbers or drink cucumber water?
Because cucumbers are already so rich in water and low in calories, it doesn’t make much of a difference how you consume them.
Eating them does have the advantage of filling you up a bit more, since it takes up more volume in your stomach, but cucumbers alone are not likely to be very satiating, so drinking cucumber water is a good option if you enjoy it more.
Here’s more about potential cucumber water benefits:
1. Hydrating Alternative to Sugar-Sweetened Drinks
Does cucumber water burn belly fat? Not exactly, but it might help you lose weight if it replaces other high-calorie, sugary drinks.
One cup of cucumber water made with about 1/2 cup of cucumber slices barely has any calories (about eight) — plus it’s almost free of sugar.
Compare this to one can of soda, which has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar!
Cucumber water is especially tasty if you add other flavors, such as lemon, lime, mint, orange, strawberry or a bit of raw honey. By making it taste great, you’ll be me more likely to drink up throughout the day and stay hydrated.
What are the benefits of consuming more water and fluids? These include:
- healthier-looking skin
- more energy
- better managed appetite
- assistance with exercise recovery
- and more
2. Supports Digestion and Detoxification
Within veggies that belong to the Cucurbitaceae plant family, you’ll find compounds called cucurbitacins, which are known to support digestive function. These compounds can help keep the liver healthy, assist in elimination, help protect the gastrointestinal tract and also potentially reduce fluid retention.
Cucumbers are considered a natural diuretic food, meaning they can help the body produce more urine to carry out toxins and waste.
If you suffer from a bloated stomach, indigestion, constipation or water retention, sipping on cucumber water may help. It’s particularly useful to drink after you’ve been consuming alcohol, your’e dehydrated or you’ve consumed lots of high-sodium foods, since it can help manage an electrolyte imbalance.
Cucumbers also have alkalizing effects, helping keep the body’s pH in balance, and can support kidney function.
While it only contains small amounts of electrolytes, such as magnesium and potassium, cucumber water is thought to help normalize blood pressure levels, in part because it balances sodium levels in the body.
3. Provides Some Antioxidants and Vitamins
Studies show that nutrients within cucumbers have potential antidiabetic, lipid-lowering and antioxidant effects.
Cucumbers contain a decent amount of bone-building vitamin K, plus small amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, manganese and B vitamins.
They’re also a good source of bioflavonoids and tannins, which help fight free radicals that contribute to signs of aging. Some of these protective compounds will be released into cucumber water if you steep the slices for long enough.
How to Make Cucumber Water
Cucumber water is super simple to make and technically only requires two ingredients: a whole cucumber and plain water.
- Wash one medium cucumber well, then slice it into thin slices. It’s recommended that you leave the peel on, since this is where many nutrients are found (especially antioxidants).
- Fill a large pitcher of water up, then add as many ice cubes as you’d like.
- Mix the cucumber into the water. Add any additional ingredients you might like to improve the taste, such as fresh lemon or lime juice, chopped mint or basil, crushed or whole berries, ginger or honey.
- Stirring in about 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt is also beneficial if you’ve been sweating, working out or have lost electrolytes.
To experience the most cucumber water benefits, purchase organic cucumbers, and use good-quality water, such as filtered water or alkaline water.
How long can you keep cucumber slices in water? After a few hours the cucumber will start to release its water and shrivel up. This won’t affect the taste right away, but it might not look at appetizing.
For the best taste, drink the water within about six to 12 hours of making it.
Other healthy cucumber recipes to try:
In addition to using it in water, cucumber is a great vegetable for juicing or making smoothies. It pairs well with other hydrating foods, like melon, lime, avocado, celery, berries, herbs and fennel.
If you prefer warm soups over cold beverages, try this Cucumber Detox Soup recipe.
Other healthy ways to use cucumber at home include making:
For more skin-loving benefits, use cucumber slices applied directly to the face (such as around the eyes) to provide soothing and cooling effects. Cucumber can help protect against skin irritations and reduce swelling, puffiness, redness and even damage from free radicals.
Risks and Side Effects
Cucumber water is generally very well-tolerated and unlikely to cause side effects or allergies. However, if you have a known allergy to cucumber, then definitely avoid any drinks containing even trace amounts of this veggie.
Because cucumbers can have mild diuretic effects, it’s a good idea not to drink too much of this beverage close to bedtime in order to avoid frequent urination.
If you take diuretic medications, stick to about one to two cups per day of cucumber water to avoid any potential interactions.
- Because cucumbers are very high in water and also contain other antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, benefits of cucumber water include staying hydrated and boosting your nutrient intake.
- One cup of cucumber water has only about eight calories.
- Try this refreshing beverage in place of sugary drinks to slash calories from your diet, support digestion and detoxification, and to keep your skin looking healthy.