Is Corn a Vegetable, Fruit, or Grain?

A common question is often heard around the dinner table – is corn a vegetable? The answer is a bit more complicated than you might expect.

Is Corn a Vegetable?

When debating whether corn is technically a vegetable, or whether it belongs to the cereal family, there are a few important things to consider. A vegetable is any edible part of a plant, so when you eat corn on the cob, you are eating a vegetable. However, each of those individual kernels of corn is considered whole grains, so using a strict definition of this as a vegetable isn’t totally true. When you cook with cornstarch, you are using corn as a grain, because it is the seed of a grass plant.

That being said, since the corn kernels contain seeds, when they are popped into popcorn, the definition changes again, technically making popcorn a fruit. Generally speaking, since all grains and cereals could technically be classified as vegetables, most experts further separate grains and cereals, like corn. Similar to many other fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocados, the classification of corn can change depending on how they are served.

So it may be simply said that corn can be either of the three, among a fruit, vegetable, or grain. This may be decided on the basis of how it is used, whether on the cob, or as popcorn, or cornstarch.

Health Benefits of Eating Corn

There are a number of impressive health benefits of eating corn, such as improved digestive function, boosted immune health, and a lower risk of chronic disease, among others. The dietary fiber found in corn will stimulate digestion and prevent constipation, while the vitamin C content can boost the immune system. Certain antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, will also help to eliminate free radicals in the body and prevent chronic diseases. This vegetable (or grain) can also help boost bone mineral density and protect heart health by lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.

What do you think? |