We generally label foods as fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts by their taste, appearance, and use. Not all vegetables are vegetables, and not all fruits are fruits. And strangely, not all nuts are nuts; some are seeds, and some are actually fruits. Botanists have very specific criteria to categorize fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts that often do not line up with our common definitions.
A fruit is the ovary of a plant that develops from the flower. Fruits contain seeds. So root vegetables like potatoes, beets, onions, garlic, radishes, turnips, etc. are all vegetables. All your greens – spinach, chard, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, etc. – are vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus – are definitely vegetables.
“Veggies” That Are Actually Fruits
- Snow peas
- String beans
- Sugar snap peas
- All squashes (including zucchini, yellow, spaghetti, acorn and more)
- Peppers (including bell peppers and hot peppers)
- Corn (the kernels are technically the fruit of the plant, though corn is usually classified as a grain.)
The botanical definition of a true nut is a hard-shelled pod that contains both the fruit and the seed. Examples of true nuts include chestnuts, hazelnuts, and acorns.
“Nuts” That Are Botanically Fruits
- Peanuts and other groundnuts
- Macadamia nuts
“Nuts” That Are Actually Seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
- Cashew nuts
When it comes to how we eat and what we choose to eat, the botanical categories don’t matter. To eat a truly healthy diet, 80% of our diet should consist of fresh, raw, whole, organic produce – more vegetables than fruits. And when we say more vegetables, we are not specifying the botanical definitions, just the common ones.
We generally think of fruits as being sweet. It is the natural sugar content we should watch as we decide our ration of vegetables to fruits. Three to five servings of fruit a day with one large salad consisting of 10-15 vegetables will give you the nutrition you need to thrive. Check out the 80% Raw Food Diet.
- Surprising Truths About Fruits and Vegetables – Live Science
- Nuts – The Fruit Pages
- QI: Quite interesting facts about nuts – The Telegraph