#8. Cucumbers and gherkins

- Amount produced globally: 87.8 million tons

Most people think of gherkins as small pickled cucumbers or baby cucumbers, but “gherkin” is simply the German word for cucumber. Cucumbers are low in calories, high in nutrients, and include vitamin A, several B vitamins, vitamin K, folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. A cucumber, which is a fruit (at least botanically) native to India, is primarily made up of water, which represents over 95% of its mass. They also help prevent dehydration and aid digestive health.

The many health benefits of the fruit that comes not only in green but white, orange, and yellow, include the ability to stabilize metabolism, promote bone health—and as a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, cucumber contains cucurbitacins, which may prevent cancer and atherosclerosis. When it comes to getting the most health benefits from cucumbers, leaving the skin on is best. This versatile fruit also has numerous skin benefits in that it can be used to both soothe and reduce swelling and in face masks.

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