Many of us don’t think about it but vegetables and fruits are very different. From their taste and texture to the structure and nutritional value. The distinction between them is based not only on scientific or botanical classification but also from a culinary standpoint. You may have heard about tomato is a fruit but is that all? What qualifies as a fruit or a vegetable? Which fruit gets mistaken for vegetables? What is their nutritional comparison?
Scientific Definition Of Fruit, Let’s start by talking about the exact definition of a fruit. Scientifically speaking, a fruit is the ripened ovary of any seed plant. It is the edible part of a plant that is developed from a new flower and often is the sweet and fleshy part that surrounds the seeds. There can be fruit whose seeds are on the skin or the exterior part, like in the case of berries, or there can be one large seed or several small seeds. Eventually, the main purpose of fruit is to spread its seeds or attract creatures to help disperse them. In short, a fruit is a fully developed, edible ovary of a flowering plant.
Scientific Definition Of Vegetables Unlike fruits, vegetables are the edible part of a plant. They fall under the category of herbaceous plants and are only cultivated for their edible parts. For example, the leaf of spinach or the root of beet and so on. You will be surprised to know that there are numerous fruits which we eat daily that are masquerading as vegetables, tomato is one of the most obvious ones. Since a vegetable is defined as any edible part of a plant, technically speaking, even fruit is a vegetable. Classification Of Fruits And Vegetables We tend to classify fruits and vegetables from a culinary point of view through taste. Fruits are sweet or sour whereas vegetables are mild and savory. Fruits are typically used for dessert or as a garnish while veggies are either the core of any main dish or a side dish option.
Although edible plants are used in a specific manner in the kitchen, the biological makeup of the two classifies them differently. They are also classified depending on the part of plants they come from. While the fruit develops from a plant, other parts of the same plant are classified as vegetables. Fruits have seeds in them while veggies include the stem, leaves, and roots. Nutritional Comparison Of Fruits And Vegetables When it comes to nutritional value, both fruits and vegetables are extremely important in everyday diet. This is no surprise. Adults should eat at least 2 cups of fruits and a maximum of 3 cups of vegetables every day. In terms of nutrition, both are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds. They are also naturally low in calories, sodium, and fat making them an ideal choice for literally everyone.
Given the sweet taste of fruit, it is understandable that they are high in sugar and calories when compared to vegetables. For example, one cup of diced apples contains over 60 calories and around 15 grams of sugar while the same amount of broccoli has less than half the calories and just a mere 2 grams of sugar. When it comes to fiber, the fruit has more of it than vegetables. The water content is highly variable in both categories. Leafy greens contain over 90% water and fruit contain around 60 to 80% So, the next time you’re looking for a healthy meal or ways to shed those extra pounds, go for a wholesome meal that has a combination of fruit and vegetables rather than a quick sub.
Similarities Between Fruits And Vegetables Fruits and vegetables are almost always paired together which has led us to believe that they are the same food! Here are the similarities between them:
Starting with characteristics, both of them are whole foods that grow out from the ground and usually contain seeds. They need sunlight, water, and the right soil to grow before being eaten by either humans, animals, and insects. Speaking about preparation, fruits and vegetables are cooked similarly. Unlike meats, they can be eaten raw. One of the most popular ways of eating both is by blending them up into a smoothie. In the current modern age of cooking, just like vegetables, fruit can also be grilled, poached, or baked. Before humans included meat and grains in their diet, they relied solely on vegetables and fruits for sustenance. This shows that they have enough nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals to sustain life.
This is one of the reasons why people are turning more towards a plant-based diet. Before we move forward, are you spoiled for choice at the grocery store? Here are 8 vegetables that you should be eating and 8 that you shouldn’t. Now back to learning about the difference between fruits and vegetables. Health Benefits Of Fruits And Vegetables This one is a no brainer.
Fruits and vegetables are good for your health. But if you are still curious about their health benefits? Here is why you should amp up their amount in your daily diet: Enough to keep your heart healthy. You may want to bump it up from 5 to 10 servings a day if possible. This will definitely lower the risk of developing heart conditions by over 30%. Fruits like apples, oranges, pears and vegetables like broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower along with an assortment of colored veggies are great for heart health. Fiber is the most important compound found in them that lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure.
This enables the proper functioning of the heart blood vessels. Weight management Even a highly motivated person may feel like giving up at times on their weight loss journey. While managing weight may seem like a very stressful job, it is not! The key is to eat anything you like, just cut down on the calories. Swap regular meals of comfort food or high sugar and carbs, for healthy portions of low calorie and no fat fruits and vegetables. This will help in reducing the overall caloric content of the body. They are also packed with fiber that leaves you feeling full for longer. This also means saying goodbye to unhealthy snacking.
Lowers The Risk Of Developing Cancer Plant-based foods are rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, and nutrients that help in protecting the body against cancer cells and boost the immune system. While eating fruits regularly lowers the risk of developing stomach and lung cancer, eating vegetables like carrots, squash and other carotenoid containing veggies also reduces the risk of mouth, pharynx, and larynx cancer. The chances of developing esophageal cancer are also lowered since these fruits and vegetables are nonstarchy.
Adding more portions of fruits and vegetables is not a difficult thing to do and is a great way to stay in shape. Helps In Lowering Blood Sugar Managing blood sugar is all about striking a balance between eating the right foods and getting ample exercise. It is very important to regulate it to stay away from the risk of developing diabetes. Although fruits are sweet and do contain sugar, they are loaded with naturally produced sugar known as fructose.
These do not harm blood sugar levels in any way. Fiber plays a major role in controlling these random blood sugar spikes which are mainly found in the skin of fruits and vegetables. Anytime you’re feeling hungry, remember to choose any whole fruit or maybe a vegetable salad. Maintains Digestive Health We have already established the fact that fruits and vegetables are loaded with tons of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. This also includes folate, vitamin C, antioxidants, and of course, the superstar, dietary fiber.
All these are the key players in keeping your gut healthy and digestion well regulated. If you have been suffering from constipation then it may be an indication that you need to amp up the number of fruits and vegetables you have. Another bit of great news is that they even lower the risk of bowel cancer. Fruits That Are Often Mistaken As Vegetables We all have a pretty good concept of which foods are vegetables and which ones are fruits.
However, there are several plants that are technically fruits but are often put under the category of vegetables due to their taste and texture. One of the most controversial examples is a tomato. Technically a fruit they are normally classified as a vegetable due to their flavor profile. Some other commonly mistaken fruits for vegetables include cucumber, avocado, eggplant, pepper, pea pods, and pumpkin. The bottom line is that both fruits and vegetables, no matter how different are great for maintaining overall health.
Eating the right amount of these assorted and colored fruits and vegetables also lowers the chances of developing chronic diseases or age-related issues. Including fruits and veggies in your diet will be one decision you will not regret.