When you think of the most refreshing, delicious juices you're craving in the morning, orange surely comes to mind first, then maybe even pineapple. But you should consider another fruit for your first-thing-in-the-morning boost: cucumbers. (And yes, to save you a few seconds of googling, cucumbers are a fruit!) Cucumber juice is making a comeback as the "it" juice, dethroning celery juice and other green juices as the best way to get nutrients via sipping.
Since cucumbers are about 95 percent water, it's easy to extract juice form their flesh. The juice will taste like a more concentrated version of the spa water you may have sipped after getting a massage. Unlike fruit juices like orange or grapefruit that are loaded with natural sugars, cucumber juice doesn't have any sugar and tastes more vegetal. However, unlike a green juice made with hardy greens like kale, it isn't bitter and unpleasant to drink. It is clean, crisp, and refreshing—ideal for a hot summer day, a post-workout drink, or any time you need extra hydration.
What are the health benefits of cucumber juice?
Hydration is one of the most difficult things to keep up with when it comes to baseline wellness. You may find it hard to keep drinking water all day long, and a delicious cucumber juice may provide a welcome change to your hydration routine. Plus, cucumbers have diuretic properties that can aid in waste removal and body detox, not to mention weight loss.
They're a good source of potassium, which is a natural electrolyte that will help hydrate you (especially after a workout) and can help lower blood pressure. They also have many antioxidants, which can prevent or delay some types of cell damage and help the body fight against chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Antioxidants in cukes include vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese, which also help with immune support and better vision. Then there's vitamin K, which can help with bone health. And though more research is needed on this, a study in the Journal of Cancer Research found that dietary flavonoid fisetin, a compound in cucumbers, may help slow the progression of prostate cancer.
How do you make cucumber juice?
To make a very basic cucumber juice, you only need to wash, peel, and blend cucumbers with water. A good ratio for an 8-ounce serving of cucumber juice is 1:2—one medium-sized cucumber (approximately 1/2 lb) to 2 cups of water. It is easy to double or triple that for a bigger batch, so use four cucumbers and 8 cups of water for four servings. You can add citrus juice like lemon or lime, ginger, and a little sugar (if you must), but it's best not to ruin a good thing with sugar. Make sure you strain your juice a few times if you don't like the pulpy, smoothie-like texture.
Blogger Homemade Zagat adds ginger, lime juice, and sugar to hers for more of a cucumber limeade vibe, whereas blogger Clean Eating Kitchen adds celery for more green power, apple for natural sweetness, and ginger and lime as well. You can experiment with different types of citrus and sweeteners until it suits your taste buds. And if you want to detox just to retox, you can also spike your cucumber juice with a little gin for a healthy-ish cocktail like Cookie and Kate's cucumber mint gimlet. Hey, it's still hydrating!