Let’s Cook: Hydrated, Healthy and Happy
Spring and summer are about anticipation. With a delayed spring, we have been waiting for lilacs to bloom showing forth their color palette of lavender, deep purple and white. Summer has many of us anticipating fresh garden cucumbers. There is nothing like peeling a vine ripened cucumber and drinking in the fresh aroma as the dark green skin is removed and exposing the light flesh.
For many of us, fresh cucumbers mixed with onion, salt, pepper and real cream sends us just about to heaven, especially if the sugar to vinegar ratio is harmonizing.
Today we going to discuss a recipe that is so easy and so healthy that it could become a staple in your healthy food routine. Working in health care has given me several wonderful opportunities. Several years ago, I attended a seminar on healthy hydration. It is not only important for seniors but everyone. Our guest speaker presented several flavored waters with the motto “Stay Hydrated, Healthy and Happy.” She went on to explain that the fruits and vegetables she had used to the flavor water were examples of happy food items. Her selection included cucumbers, oranges, green apples and pineapple. She put all of us in the room to come up with one bad comment about any of the above and no one did. She then asked for positive comments about the same four, and the room exploded with positive comments such as salads, fresh squeezed orange juice and sweet dripping pineapple. One person expressed that green apples had her thinking about Kate Smith and went on to explain Kate’s hit song entitled “Little Green Apples.”
At one point our speaker placed cucumbers on her eyes and informed us that cucumbers could offer more benefits when used with water than placing on one’s eyelids during a spa treatment. This is when she kicked it into high and showed us that drinking healthy cucumber infused water is also delicious. Here are some of the benefits from drinking cucumber water.
–Plain water can get boring — by adding cucumber or other fruits encourages us to drink more.
–If you are trying to lose weight, replace sugary sodas, sport drinks and juices with cucumber water
–Serious calories can be cut from your diet and also save you some cash.
–Staying hydrated also helps you feel full. Sometimes our bodies confuse thirst with hunger.
–You may feel hungry when you’re actually thirty. An easy way to know the difference is by this: If your hunger goes away after a tall glass of cucumber water, you were thirsty. If you’re still hungry, then you know it’s time for something more.
–Cucumber water delivers antioxidants. We know that antioxidants are substances that help prevent and delay cell damage for oxidative stress caused by free radicals. We learned that oxidative stress can lead to chronic conditions like: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and eye degeneration.
–Cucumber water can help soothe your skin from the inside out. Staying well hydrated helps your body to flush out toxins and maintain a healthy complexion.
–We learned that cucumbers are high in pantothenic acid or vitamin B-5, which has been used to treat acne. One cup of sliced cucumbers has about 5 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin B-5.
–We were informed that one contributing factor to high blood pressure is having too much salt (sodium) and too little potassium in our diets. The excess salt causes your body to hold fluids, which can raise blood pressure. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps regulate the amount of sodium retained by kidneys
–Before our session ended we learned that cucumbers are high in vitamin K. In fact, one cup of sliced cucumbers has about 19 percent of the recommended daily value. Our bodies need vitamin K for help form protein that are needed to make healthy bones and tissues as well as to help our blood clot properly.
When you see me working with seniors, you will notice that cucumber water along with other flavor waters are close by. The benefits from cucumber water will work to keep you hydrated and healthy not only this summer but all year long.
Another joy for drinking flavored water is selecting the vessel in which to blend your combination. It is the perfect time to use that vintage pitcher of grandmas with the green vine pattern. Perhaps you have a lovely crystal pitcher and just pouring from this classic gem is a treat. We are fans of using colorful stemware and how can one resist cucumber water from a deep violet stemware?
1 large cucumber peeled and sliced thin. Add this to 1 to 2 quarts of cold water. This combination will keep for a day and should be discarded after this time period.
1 green apple
Rinse fruit well and do not remove out skin. Slice thin and add to 1 to 2 quarts of water. For added refreshment, add a few slices for fresh pineapple. This combination will keep for a day and should be discarded after this time period.