The Truth About Beans: Are They Really Fruits or Vegetables?

You’ve probably heard that a tomato is not a vegetable. In actuality, it is a fruit. Many different fruit varieties are mistaken for vegetables, and vice versa. What about beans, then? Are beans a fruit or a vegetable?

are beans a fruit or a vegetable

Because beans are seeds within the plant’s fruit pods, they are considered fruits in botany. Beans, however, are often categorized as a vegetable in culinary literature. Remember that though not all legumes are considered to be beans, all beans may be regarded as a kind of legume.

Remember that a plant’s taste or sweetness does not define whether it is a fruit or a vegetable. This may be due to the fact that many chefs employ these fruits in their recipes in place of vegetables. As a result, it is often thought of as a vegetable rather than a fruit.

Keep reading this article to find out the true category of where your beans rightfully belong.

Are Beans Vegetables or Fruits?

Are Beans Vegetables or Fruits?

The botanical and culinary definitions are the two categories used to categorize edible plants. With respect to the edible plant in question, the green bean falls within the vegetable and fruit categories

Shortly speaking, the green bean is categorized as a fruit according to botanical definitions. While the green bean is classified as a vegetable under the culinary terminology.

Continue reading to know why.

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How Come Green Beans Are a Fruit?

Based on how science defines a fruit, green beans belong in this group, and are technically fruits. The green bean is a structure that looks like a pod and has seeds found inside its dry “flesh”.

Essentially, fruits generally also have seeds inside of them. When a green bean becomes fully grown, the pod dries out and breaks apart. It opens to show a bean seed that is ready to grow.

If nature has its way, the seed of the green bean will fall out of the pod as soon as it opens. After it sprouts, it will start to grow into a new plant. The dried bean pods carry the seeds. Because of how the seeds spread on their own, it is sometimes called a “dry” fruit.

When beans, like your string bean or green bean, are young and still have their pods with seeds attached, they are picked. If beans were allowed to dry out, they would be sold in bulk like other kinds of beans. But string beans are often picked and canned fresh so they can be eaten later.

Interestingly, beans are also called the musical fruit.

Why Are Green Beans Considered Vegetables?

Most of the time, the word “vegetable” refers to any part of a plant that can be eaten. Plants have parts like roots, leaves, stems, fruits, and tubers.

In this light, the green bean is essentially also a vegetable. To be more exact, the green bean is a starchy vegetable. Even though botanists don’t use the word “vegetable,” the common people do. Simply because a “vegetable” is a part of a plant that can be eaten and is used in cooking.

Parts of the plants that are utilized in savory food and recipes are called vegetables. When green beans are also served as a side dish with a pork chop or salmon, they are also considered a vegetable.

Do Beans Count as Legumes?

Yes, it is considered a legume due to the fact that it is a type of “dry fruit.” This even adds to the discussion about whether or not classifying green beans as a vegetable merits, because technically speaking, they are fruits and not vegetables.

Even though legumes are plants that yield pod-shaped fruits, they are also used in savory dishes.

You can easily buy dried legumes that have been packaged as snacks at grocery stores. There are other vegetables that are also legumes such as dried peas, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and also chickpeas.

Also, technically speaking, green beans are not beans. This is an interesting fact. Beans are the seeds of some types of plants, and green beans pertain to the whole fruit and not just the seeds.

This adds more to the confusion, hence some refer to beans as neither a fruit or a vegetable, but legumes. Which is still half true!

Remember that even though not all beans are truly legumes, all legumes are still thought of as beans.

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Bean vs. Legume: Key Difference

Beans and legumes are often used interchangeably. All beans are legumes, as was previously stated, however, not all legumes are beans. Thus, the crucial question is: What exactly distinguishes a bean from a legume?

Beans, peas, and lentils are included in the group of plants known as legumes. A member of the Fabaceae family is a legume. As the fruit or seeds of such a plant, legumes also grow in pods that break in two to expose the seed or fruit. Because they contain their seeds within a pod, legumes are regarded as fruits.

Conversely, beans are made from the seeds of several plants. Beans and legumes are both regarded as seeds that come from the leguminous genus.

Around the globe, there are over 16 000 different varieties of legumes. Legumes may produce one to twelve seeds or fruits. However, there are over 400 distinct varieties of beans farmed globally.

Additionally, beans are part of the phaseolus subfamily of the Fabaceae family. Beans and legumes are regarded as superior providers of plant-based protein.

Nutritional Benefits of Beans

Nutritional Benefits

Eating green beans are good for you and taste great as a side dish or in a green bean casserole. They have a lot of vitamins and minerals.

A cup of green beans that haven’t been cooked has 12.2 milligrams of vitamin C. That’s about 25% of the daily value of vitamin C, which is a good antioxidant.

Your immune system gets stronger, and collagen production is helped so that your skin stays healthy.

But it goes even further. Same cup of raw green beans consists of 690 IU of vitamin A, which is about 15% of the recommended daily value. Vitamin A’s retinoids are important for good eyesight, getting pregnant, and having a strong and reliable immune system. 

Green beans have the vitamins E, K, and B6, as well as thiamin and niacin. Green beans are also a good source of iron, calcium, manganese, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. All of these are minerals that our bodies need and can’t live without.

Health Benefits of Green Beans

Green beans are full of nutrients and provide a variety of important health advantages.

1. Green Beans are Healthy for the Heart

There is no cholesterol in green beans. This implies that they won’t help your arteries accumulate fat. Green beans, in their uncooked state, provide around 2.7 grams of fiber per cup. On the other hand, 4g of fiber are included in one cup of cooked green beans.

Soluble fiber, which decreases LDL, the bad cholesterol, will make up a portion of this fiber level. Additionally, green beans have a very low salt level, decrease blood pressure, as well as, reduce inflammation.

2. Green Beans Promote Healthy Bones

Bone fractures have been linked to low vitamin K intake. Through the absorption of calcium, vitamin K supports the maintenance of strong bones. The amount of vitamin K in a cup of beans is around 14.4 mg, or about 20% of the RDV.

3. Green Beans Are Easy on the Stomach

Green beans might provide comfort if you suffer from a persistent digestive condition like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or the common acid reflux. Consuming them may also assist with other gastrointestinal issues, including constipation, gas, diarrhea, and discomfort.

4. Green Beans Help Prevent Cancer

High levels of chlorophyll found in green beans aid in blocking carcinogen absorption, such as the hydrocarbons in cigarette smoke and heterocyclic amines.

With heterocyclic amines and the hydrocarbons in cigarette smoke, they interact on a molecular level. Meat grilled over a fire produces heterocyclic amines. These two have the potential to be cancer-causing carcinogens.

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Final Thoughts

To answer the question, green beans are both a fruit and a vegetable. Because they have seeds, green beans are considered a fruit. But since they are used in cooking as vegetables, they are also considered vegetables.

Whether you consider it a fruit or a vegetable, it has a lot of nutrients and health advantages, whether eaten cooked or raw, that will surely make you glow.

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