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6 more uses for Cucumbers

6 more uses for Cucumbers

Claims about cucumber cleaning, healing and hangover fix powers have been rolling around the internet like tumbleweed for years so we tried to verify a few of them

We went to Snopes Fact Checker in the hope of finding a short cut and the cucumber email has been pending since 2009 (!) so we figured that while the cucumber power claims weren't a national security risk, neither were we going to get much help.

If you are either appropriately qualified - scientifically or experientially -and have an opinion on cucumber power, we'd love to hear from you.

Meantime, what we do know is that cucumbers aren't just for salads and eye patches in expensive day spas. They are low in calories, are 95% water and contain many important vitamins and minerals. At the risk of becoming a social pariah, you do need to eat the skin to get the most cucumber nutritional benefit, as one cucumber will give you a reasonable chunk of your recommended intake of Vitamin C (14%), Vitamin K (62%), Magnesium (12%), Potassium (13%), Manganese (12%) as well as Folic Acid, Vitamin A, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus and Zinc.

On the other hand, cucumbers contain cucurbitacin, which can cause indigestion problems for some people and  lead to flatulence or burping. Apparently it occurs mostly in the skin so take the skin off if you are sensitive or alternatively, Asian cucumber varieties are known to have less cucurbitacin. 

Beyond food

There are a zillion uses for cucumbers other than food, so if you have spares don't waste them in the compost, instead add them to your natural war chest. (Whatever you use them for, bear in mind that cucumbers are 95% water so you could reasonably assume that anything you could successfully use water for would work with a cucumber. Kind of like a contained glass of water, like the image above, without the glass bottle.)

Defogging Bathroom Mirror

Rub a cucumber slice along the mirror bathroom mirror, then just wipe it clean to stop it fogging up after a shower. (The cucumber slime creates a film that lasts a few days.) 

Shiny Shoes

Rub sliced cucumber on your work shoes to clean and shine. The same film that cucumbers glide onto your mirror is what gives shoes a protective coating and shine.

Short term cellulite cover

When absorbed by the skin, the phytochemicals in cucumbers cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. (At least long enough to get in the pool!) I suspect that eating more cucumbers and less cake while going to the gym often, might also be useful for cellulite, but welcome feedback on the subject as I have no plans to test it out. 

Preempt a hang over

A lot of people claim that eating a cucumber after a big night, before going to bed will see you wake up refreshed and headache free. Assuming you are organised enough to actually remember to scoff the cucumber, which frankly seems a long shot if you are really in hangover danger, cucumbers are reputed to contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost while you were partying. Even if this isn't true, what is true is that cucumbers are 95% water and failing the truth in all else, you will have upped your water intake. 

In defence of this claim, admittedly weak, the Journal of Young Pharmacists do acknowledge history in saying, "Traditionally, cucumber is used for headaches; the seeds are cooling and diuretic, the fruit juice of this plant is used as a nutritive and as a demulcent in anti-acne lotions." 


Assuming the Young Pharmacists are supporting tradition and cucumbers are useful for cleaning your face, try it as a toner. You can either blend and strain cucumber to collect the juice for a natural toner or simply cut a slice or two and use it like a toner pad and help clean your pores.

Cleaning stainless steel

Rubbing cucumber on stainless steel surfaces helps reduce tarnish and also adds a film to give shine.

Snacks to control eating

Cucumbers make great snacks (as long as they don't make you burp or fart) and supposedly help control weight. Just guessing, but you'd have to think it works because the high water content fills you up.

Other cucumber powers?

Some of the other cucumber power claims include fixing squeaky hinges, eliminating bad breath, and erasing the pen and crayon marks that the kids have used to decorate the walls. Bless!

Whatever you decide to use your cucumber for, the great news is that if it doesn't work, you can at least eat it. Which is way more than you can say for WD40 if it doesn't fix a squeeky hinge.

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