Cucumbers are up there with apple cider vinegar and celery juice as yet another supposed panacea. From placing slices of cucumbers over your eyes as a way to reduce inflammation to inserting a cucumber into the vagina to "cleanse" it (it does not), there seems to be no shortage of wacky cucumber recommendations.
That said, anyone who's ever sipped on a glass of cucumber-infused water at a spa or at a summer BBQ can attest that the drink is delicious, refreshing, and crisp. Given the veggie's texture and water content, it makes sense why you'd want to put it in a drink. But is simply adding cucumbers in H2O really going to clear your skin and fix your whole life? Sadly, probably not.
For starters, cucumbers are made up of 95% water. While that makes them an extra-hydrating vegetable, it doesn't leave a ton of room for nutrients. Cukes do happen to have a good amount of important nutrients such as vitamin K (which helps with important bodily processes like blood clotting) and potassium (an electrolyte that helps keep fluid inside of your cells). But cucumber-infused water only contains trace amounts of these nutrients and vitamins, says Malina Malkani, MS, RDN, CDN, media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and creator of the Wholitarian Lifestyle.
When you drink cucumber water, rather than eat the actual vegetable, you're missing out on more important components of the veggie, such as soluble and insoluble fiber, Malkani says. This is true about any sort of pressed fruit juice, too. When it comes to fruits and veggies, "I'm a fan of eating, rather than juicing or drinking an essence of it," she says.
As for the stuff about cucumber water "detoxifying" your body? " That's a gigantic stretch. "The notion that we need any kind of detox product is false," Malkani says. "Our bodies are very well equipped to rid the body of toxins through all our own functions." As we've said before, any food or diet, juice, or water that claims to act as a "detox" does literally nothing or does more harm than good.
The only benefit of cucumber water that Malkani can see would be that the flavour is so good that it encourages you to hydrate. "Whatever inspires people to drink more water, and replace sugar-sweetened beverages like sports drinks with water, is good," she says. So, if you have the time and energy to chop up a cucumber to throw in your water, go for it. But if you don't have time for that, plain water is fine, too.