Ask someone to pick an ingredient that reminds them of summer and chances are cucumbers would be near the top of many people’s list. A freshly cut slice of a green cuke
is a refreshing way to wake up your taste-buds, hydrate and naturally cool your body from the inside out.

Nutritionally, there are plenty of reasons to increase your intake of cucumis sativus, to use its botanical name. Belonging to the same family as melons and winter squashes, the plant’s seeds contain 73 different phytonutrients including carotenoids and flavonoids – these offer us antioxidant protection and can help to reduce cholesterol, so don’t be tempted to cut them out.

Cucumbers also contain vitamins A, B, C, D and E, all of which have the potential to lower oxidative stress and chronic inflammation in the body, and reduce our risk of many diseases.

Cucumber’s antioxidant benefits can also help to regulate blood sugar and the damage which high levels can cause to our bodies. Several studies have described cucumbers
as an ‘anti-diabetic’ food, improving metabolic problems for people with type 2. Although small-scale, initial research is encouraging and certainly a reason to include more cucumber in our diet.

Easy to grow in a warm, sunny spot, why not pot up a plant or two? Gardeners and farmers will have a bountiful supply over the next few months so keep an eye out for
neighbourhood stands. There are plenty of cucumber-based recipes at juicemaster.com, so be sure to add them to your summer juice or blend.