I love cucumbers! Technically, a cucumber is a fruit – a relative of the squash and melon family, but we tend to think of it as a vegetable, serving it raw with some sort of dip, or adding it into salads with other vegetables.
The health benefits from cucumbers don’t attract the attention that other fruits and vegetables do but the amount of phytonutrients found in cucumbers provides valuable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits all the same. These health benefits are promoted in beauty products too. Research done in the cosmetic industry suggests that constituents in cucumber extract (primarily ascorbic acid (vitamin C), caffeic acid (an antioxidant), the mineral silica, plus other trace minerals) have a beneficial effect on our skin.
A few of the better-known health benefits from eating cucumbers include:
- Hydration. Cucumbers have a high-water content, which keeps the body hydrated and eliminates toxin at the same time.
- Energy Boost. Cucumbers are far more nutritious than a cup of coffee, soft drinks or energy drinks when a quick pick-me-up is needed and they do the job just as well. They contain most of the vitamins the body needs on a daily basis and there are just enough carbohydrates and B vitamins to help boost energy.
- Relieves bad breath. Phytochemicals in cucumbers kill the bacteria responsible for causing bad breath. (Press a slice of cucumber to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds).
- Weight control. Because of its high water, high fiber and low-calorie content, cucumber is a wonderful food for people trying to lose weight.
- Controls blood pressure. Cucumbers contain a lot of potassium, magnesium and fiber, all of which help in regulating both high and low blood pressure.
This cucumber salad delivers a perfect balance between sensory textures and flavours that are so delighful in Thai dishes. Crisp cucumber and roasted nuts provide the crunch, cilantro provides the aromatics and a bit of fresh chilli adds a kick! Top it off with the sweet and sour dressing with a pinch of salt and you have a refreshing aromatic salad. The flavour is really quite addictive!
- ½ large English cucumber (or 3-4 baby cucumbers)
- ¼ cup cashews, peanuts or almonds, toasted
- 1/3 cup dried large-flake unsweetened coconut
- 1 red or green Serrano or Thai chilli
- ½ teaspoon black sesame seeds
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Handful fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. organic maple syrup
- Pinch of Pink Himalayan salt or Celtic Sea salt
Toast the cashews, peanuts or almonds in a 350°F oven until lightly and even/y browned. Set aside to cool.
Toast the coconut flakes and cumin and sesame seeds in a 350°F oven until lightly and even/y browned. (Watch closely because the coconut browns fairly quickly). Set aside to cool.
Halve the cucumber lengthwise and slice thinly or chop cucumber into pieces roughly the size of pencil erasers.
Remove stem and seeds from chilli and finely chop I find the little Thai chilies quite spicy so I usually only add 1/2 a minced chilli into the salad and taste it before adding any more. You can also leave seeds in if you like a spicier kick.
When ready to serve, place cucumbers in a mixing bowl and toss gently with chillies, nuts, black sesame and cumin seeds, toasted coconut, cilantro and dressing.
Yield: 3-4 generous servings.