Fruit or Vegetable - Do You Know The Difference?

According to botanists (those who study plants) a fruit is the part of the plant that develops from a flower. It's also the section of the plant that contains the seeds. The other parts of plants are considered vegetables. These include the stems, leaves and roots - and even the flower bud.

The following are technically fruits: avocado, beans, pea pods, corn kernels, cucumbers, grains, nuts, olives, peppers, pumpkin, squash, sunflower seeds and tomatoes. Vegetables include celery (stem), lettuce (leaves), cauliflower and broccoli (buds), and beets, carrots and potatoes (roots).

From a culinary standpoint, vegetables are less sweet - or more savory - and served as part of the main dish. Fruits are more sweet and tart and are most often served as a dessert or snack. Both fruits and vegetables can be made into juice for a refreshing beverage. Some fruits are "nuts" or "grains" or "seeds" - and are served accordingly.

Nutritionally speaking, fruits and vegetables are similar. Compared with animal products, they're generally lower in calories and fat, but higher in fiber. Fruits and vegetables also contain health-enhancing plant compounds such as antioxidants. And they are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

One serving (half a cup) of most fruits has a bit more calories than one serving of vegetables. Exceptions would be dense, starchy vegetables such as potatoes or beets.

One thing that is simple to understand about fruits and vegetables is that most people don't eat enough of them. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you should aim for 2 or more cups of fruit a day, and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables. The average adult eats 1 cup of fruit and about 1 1/2 cups of vegetables a day.

There has been a decline in consumption of fruits and vegetables. Between 1999 and 2008, the actual number of servings of fruit and vegetables declined by 10%.

We also know that not eating enough fruits and vegetables plays a role in cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure , stroke and diabetes.

fruit or vegetable - the simple fact is we should eat more of both of them. However, doing that doesn't seem so simple. Just a little something to chew on...

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