As the East Coast continues to experience a heat wave, I’ve been determined to stay cool by eating foods that are naturally cooling. Enter the cucumber! Considered a holy fruit in northern India, cucumbers are sattvic, calming and refreshing. Being made of over 90% water, cucumbers are considered to be one of the healthiest foods according to Ayurveda.
Cucumbers assist in cleansing and purifying the blood. They contain erepsin, a digestive enzyme that is useful in breaking down protein and cleaning the intestines. Cucumbers are known to increase kapha and pacify vata and pitta. Cucumbers contain valuable nutrients and minerals, including: vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, ascorbic acid, iron, calcium and phosphorus.
In Ayurveda, cucumbers are known to alleviate restlessness caused by heat, so be sure to add them to your salad, sandwich, dip them in hummus or just enjoy them on their own with a bit of salt and pepper this summer. For those with hyperacidity concerns or gastric ulcers, cucumbers are known to have a soothing effect.*
Growing up, I can remember my mom making raita in the summer months, an indian side dish that contains cucumbers and yogurt.
Cucumber Raita Recipe:
Ingredients: 1 medium cucumber, peeled and grated, 1 cup plain yogurt, a pinch of salt and pepper, a dash of both, roasted cumin seeds and cayenne, along with a few mint leaves for garnish.
Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and start mixing. Once the ingredients are mixed well, cover the mixture and let cool in the fridge. Serve chilled and enjoy!
Tip: When preparing cucumbers, be sure to discard the top 1/2″ and bottom 1/4″ of the cucumber, as the ends are known to contain bitter tasting chemical substances that should be avoided.
- Those with ulcers or stomach and intestinal concerns should enjoy cucumbers as a juice or a soup, not raw.