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Vegetables are parts of plants that are eaten by humans as food as part of a meal. This meaning is often used: it is applied to plants collectively to mean all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. The alternative definition of the term 'vegetable' may exclude foods derived from some plants that are fruits, nuts, and cereal grains, but include fruits from others such as tomatoes and courgettes and seeds such as pulses.[1][2][3]

Carrots and potatoes are parts of the root systems of the plants, but since they are eaten by humans, they are vegetables. They are not in the same category as a fruit, nut, herb, spice, or grain. Though tomatoes are often thought of as vegetables, but because they have seeds, they are, botanically, fruits. Vegetables are an important part of people's daily diet. Vegetables and fruits are sometimes called produce. Vegetables have vitamins A, B, C, D, minerals and carbohydrates.

Other meanings

The word "vegetable" can also be used to mean plants in general, such as when people say "Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral."

However, in an Asian context, 'vegetable' may mean any plant produce, apart from grain and nuts, that is consumed cooked, while only the fruits consumed raw are considered as 'fruits'. For example, an artichoke is therefore considered a vegetable, while a melon qualifies as a fruit.

Common vegetables

Types of vegetables

There are many different types of vegetables, including:

Leafy vegetables

Leafy vegetables are vegetables whose leaves are eaten. Examples include spinach, lettuce, kale, and collard greens.

Stem vegetables

Stem vegetables are vegetables whose stems are eaten. Examples include asparagus, celery, and rhubarb.

Root vegetables

Root vegetables are vegetables whose roots are eaten. Examples include carrots, beets, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Bulb vegetables

Bulb vegetables are vegetables whose bulbs are eaten. Examples include onions, garlic, and shallots.

Fruit vegetables

Fruit vegetables are vegetables whose fruits are eaten. Examples include tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.

Nutritional value

Vegetables are an important source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are low in calories and fat, making them an ideal food for those looking to maintain a healthy weight. Eating a variety of vegetables can also help to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer.


Vegetables can be grown in gardens or on farms, and are often sold at markets and grocery stores. Many people also grow vegetables in containers on balconies or in small spaces.


Vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked, and can be prepared in many different ways. They can be boiled, steamed, roasted, grilled, or sautéed. Many vegetables are also used as ingredients in soups, stews, and casseroles.

Cultural significance

Vegetables have been a part of human diets for thousands of years, and have played an important role in many cultures. In some societies, vegetables are considered a staple food, while in others they are used primarily as a garnish or side dish. Vegetables are also important in many religious and cultural celebrations around the world.

See also

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  1. Harper, Douglas. Vegetable. Online Etymology Dictionary. [1]
  2. Vegetable.[2]
  3. Ayto, John 1993. Dictionary of Word Origins. New York: Arcade Publishing. ISBN 1-55970-214-1 []

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