Imagine cooling off on a hot day with an ice-cold glass of cucumber-infused water. Sounds refreshing, right?
Cucumber water is a simple beverage made by soaking cucumber slices in water for a few hours or overnight. Drinking cucumber water not only tastes delicious, but it comes with numerous health benefits, such as improving water intake, skin health, and blood pressure.
Learn more about the benefits of cucumber water, possible risks, and how to make it yourself.
Top Health Benefits of Cucumber Water
The health benefits of cucumbers have been documented since ancient times (1). Rich in potassium, B vitamins, manganese, and antioxidants, cucumbers are commonly touted to help with concerns ranging from weight to skin health (2).
When infused with water, it’s thought that the vitamins and antioxidants from the cucumbers are absorbed into the water, leaving you with a nutrient-dense drink.
The primary health benefit of cucumber water is hydration. Adding cucumber can make water more palatable and exciting for people struggling to meet their hydration needs.
Drinking at least 6 cups of water per day is recommended, though your hydration needs vary greatly depending on weather, activity level, and body weight. Drinking enough water daily can help digestion, joint health, and blood pressure (3).
If the flavor of cucumber is too strong for your preference, other ingredients, like fresh mint leaves, basil, ginger, lime, or raspberries, can also be included in your cucumber-infused water recipe for additional flavor and health benefits.
2. Weight Loss
Cucumber water can be beneficial toward weight loss efforts in a few ways. First, it is a calorie-free beverage that you can use to replace high-calorie drinks like sugary sodas.
Research shows that beverages with added sugar are associated with weight gain and increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease (4).
In addition, staying well-hydrated helps you accurately assess your hunger cues, which can reduce mindless snacking. Cucumber water is appropriate for any weight loss diet since it contains negligible calories and carbs.
3. Healthy Skin
Cucumber is commonly used on the skin to reduce inflammation– think cucumber slices over your eyes at the spa. But cucumbers can also help with skin health when consumed.
Cucumbers are a good source of pantothenic acid, a vitamin that has been shown to reduce acne breakouts and inflammation in the skin (2, 5). This water-soluble vitamin seeps into the cucumber water when infused.
Improving your hydration status by drinking cucumber water is also useful for skin health. Studies show that drinking enough water every day can help hydrate your skin (6).
Cucumbers are a rich source of antioxidants, which help fight against harmful free radicals in the body. A diet rich in antioxidants is associated with a reduced risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer (7).
Specifically, cucumbers contain vitamin C, beta-carotene, and flavonoids (2, 8).
Be sure to use whole cucumber slices in your cucumber water, including the peel and seeds, as all parts of the cucumber are rich in nutrients and antioxidants (1).
5. Potassium Source
Cucumbers contain potassium, a mineral that has many essential functions in the body (2). Perhaps most significant is its impact on blood pressure.
Increasing potassium intake through your diet can help improve high blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (9). A low-sodium diet also benefits blood pressure, and cucumbers are extremely low in sodium (2).
Potassium is also important for electrolyte balance and may help reduce muscle cramping (10).
6. Cancer Prevention
Numerous anti-cancer benefits have been studied in cucumbers. The cancer-fighting properties are thought to be due to a group of compounds called C-type cucurbitacins, which are only found in cucumbers (7, 11, 12).
More research is needed to understand the role of cucumbers in cancer prevention and treatment.
Benefits of Cucumber Water Versus Lemon Water
You may wonder, which is better– cucumber water or lemon water?
Lemon water is known for having similar benefits to cucumber water, such as weight loss, cancer prevention, and improving skin health and blood pressure. Lemons also contain many antioxidants, like cucumbers (13).
One unique benefit of lemon water is that the citric acid can help prevent kidney stones in people with a history (14). In addition, lemons have gastrointestinal benefits and can help ease nausea and improve digestion (13).
To maximize the health benefits, consider mixing the two to make cucumber lemon water!
Cucumber Water Side Effects
There are very few side effects to drinking cucumber water. The most important risk to be aware of is the possibility of foodborne illness. Before preparing the cucumber water, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands, the cucumbers, and your pitcher or water bottle.
Cucumber water (with cucumbers still inside) should not be kept at room temperature for more than two hours, as leaving it out longer can lead to bacteria growth (14).
Store cucumber water in the fridge in an airtight container. The best practice is to infuse the cucumber water overnight in the refrigerator in an airtight container, then remove the cucumber slices and enjoy your water.
If cucumber is left soaking in the water for too long, it may impart a bitter flavor into the water, and eventually, it will go bad.
Immunocompromised people should take extra caution when preparing and drinking cucumber water due to the risk of food poisoning.
Lastly, while cucumbers are known for their health benefits, there is limited research on cucumber water itself.
It’s unknown how much of the nutrients actually transfer into the water during the infusion process, so be sure to eat your cucumbers too! Specifically, it’s unlikely that any fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin K, make their way into the water in significant amounts.
Crushing or mashing up the cucumbers may help to release more flavor and nutrients into the water, but more studies are needed to understand this.
How to Make Cucumber Water
- 1 glass pitcher
- 1/2 cucumber
- 8 cups cold water
- lime slices optional
- fresh mint optional
- Thoroughly wash the cucumber and cut into thin slices.
- Place the cucumber slices into the bottom of a glass pitcher and press down gently. You're trying to release the juices and flavor, not completely mash them! Add cold water and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
- Garnish with sliced lime and fresh mint, if desired. Serve as soon as it's thoroughly chilled for best flavor, or store for up to 3 days.