Cool as a cucumber....maybe, or maybe you're hot and struggling with this summer heat! Even though the heat seems as though it will never end, there's still plenty of hot summer days ahead. While we might be racing to crank the air conditioning, from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, I also love turning to food - Here's how you can use cucumber to help you stay cool and hydrated.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, cucumbers ("huang gua") are considered "cool natured yin tonics". They are alkaline and moistening, while also having a mild diuretic effect. This means that they promote urination without being too dying.
Cucumbers are considered cool natured yin tonics.
Cucumbers are a source of Vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and fiber. In terms of action, they help to reduce redness and puffiness in the eyes and face, promote systemic cool down, are anti-inflammatory and can be used topically to soothe bug bites and sunburn.
5 Ways to Use Cucumbers to Keep Cool
While the Traditional Chinese Medicine applications for cucumbers are many, here are some great ways to use cucumbers (which you may have in abundance in your garden anyway!)
- Hydration: Add cucumbers to a pitcher of water with lemon, and keep handy in the fridge
- Bug Bits: Slice a cucumber into ribbons and place on top of sunburns or slice into rounds for on top of bug bites
- A Summer Salad: Make a cucumber salad, a recipe for which you'll find below.
- Indulge: Make a homemade cucumber face mask and give yourself a much needed (and refreshing) mini-spa.
- Kick Back: Enjoy a refreshing cucumber margarita
Here is a recipe for my favorite cucumber salad. It has a variety of "Chinese dietary therapy" ingredients, plus hits the palette appropriate for a refreshing summer side dish.
Balanced Stone Acupuncture Chinese Cucumber Salad
- 1 Cucumber (washed with tough skins peeled)
- 2 cloves minced garlic (or 3, because garlic)
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp tamari
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 pinch brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp chili oil or paste (to taste, I add more, I like them spicy!)
Roll the cucumber to loosen the liquid and seeds, then slice into rounds. Combine all remaining ingredients and whisk together, pour over cucumbers. You can serve them immediately or let them marinate to soak up the flavor.
**All information and resources found on balancedstonewellness.com are based on the opinions, experience and research of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider...even if that provider may be the author ;)