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Cucumber – A healthy and delicious cool summer treat

Cucumber makes a great base for a summer salad, raita, smoothie or juice, a bit creativity can turn this simple fruit in a delicious treat!

Deepa Gupta | New Delhi |

Now that summer is finally here, we are really in the mood for fresh cucumbers. Chopping them up, adding a dash of lemon juice or citrus-y dressing makes it a yummy treat. You can also add few sunflower seeds for a little nuttiness and some fresh basil for a mouth refreshing punch. Sometimes that is best kind of dinner on a hot summer day.

It only takes a few ingredients and a bit of creativity to turn this simple veggie into a delicious meal. Chop the cucumber into bite-sized chunks in a large bowl. Combine olive oil, salt and lemon juice in a small bowl. Pour this citrus-y dressing over the chopped cucumber and toss. Spoon this cucumber salad onto iceberg lettuce for a fresh, pretty presentation. So simple to make a tempting, delicious and healthy summer delight! This cucumber salad is packed with both flavour and nutrition. And as long as you do not go overboard with unhealthy dips and dressings, you will keep the calories low. You can also grate some cucumber and add it to a bowl of yogurt with some salt and pepper. Add some chopped tomatoes and onions to boost its taste. This raita will reduce your calorie intake and it will promote weight loss too. You can have it before or with meals.

Cucumber is linked to an array of summer health doles:

Hydrates the body: Cucumber is 95 percent water and it is a great addition to any summer salad, yogurt, dip, juice or smoothie preparation. It prevents dehydration and helps to keep you hydrated during hot weather.

A great detoxifier: Cucumber is loaded with water. This high water content flushes the toxins out of the body and keeps the body detoxified throughout summer.

Nutrient-rich: Cucumbers are rich in copper, potassium, manganese, vitamin B, C, K and E, fiber and antioxidants. They contain polyphenols that are unique to this fruit. Regular consumption of cucumbers helps to prevent and cure nutrient deficiency which generally occurs in summer season.

Bad breath cure: This fruit helps in releasing heat in the stomach that helps in preventing and curing bad breath. Also, when you chew cucumber slices, a chemical is released from it that kills the odour-causing bacteria.

Regulates blood pressure: Being a rich source of potassium, magnesium and fiber, cucumber combats high blood pressure. In addition, it also contains diuretic properties which help regulate blood pressure.

Aids summer weight loss programme: Cucumber is a fat-free and low-calorie fruit that promotes quick and healthy weight loss. It allows your body to burn some extra calories. You can fill upon them as much as you want making them a part of your summer diet without the fear of putting on weight.

Good for skin, nails and hair: Scorching heat of summer is harmful for your skin and hair. Cucumber is a rich source of silica. Eating it regularly is great for hair and nail care. Drinking water infused with cucumber slices detoxifies the body which helps in providing radiant skin. Being loaded with potassium and vitamin E, cucumbers help in reducing wrinkles, blemishes and signs of aging.

You do not need only leafy greens to make a healthy and delightful summer salad. Instead reach for one of the most nutrient-dense foods – cucumber. The super food has lots of fiber to make it a filling dinner or snack in between meals.

Cucumber makes a great base for a refreshing and yummy salad, and for sceptical eaters it will go down easier with diced apples, plum, raisins and shredded carrots.