Are Grains Vegetables? (Is This True)

Are grains vegetables? This question has been under debate for years, with no clear answer.

Some people believe that grains are not vegetables because we can’t classify them as such in the botanical world. However, others argue that grains are, in fact, vegetables because they are used in place of vegetables in many recipes.

Here, we will see how you can say grains are similar or different from vegetables.

Let’s solve the mystery!


Are Grains the Same As Vegetables?

In the botanical world, a vegetable is an edible plant used in cooking. This would exclude grains from being classified as vegetables.

Yet, in the culinary world, a vegetable is defined as any ingredient you can use in cooking. This would include grains, as we can use them in place of vegetables in recipes.

So, technically speaking, grains are not vegetables. Yet, from a culinary perspective, they can be considered as such. It depends on how you define a vegetable.


How Can We Differ Grain and Vegetable?

Grains and vegetables are both healthy foods that offer a variety of nutrients. Yet, they differ in some important ways.

First, we need to look at grains and vegetables individually to understand the dissimilarities better.


What are Grains?

Grains are the seeds of plants in the grass family (1). Wheat, oats, barley, and rice are all grains.

The grain kernel comprises three parts: the bran (outer layer), the germ (innermost layer), and the endosperm (middle layer) (2).

Miller removes the bran and germ during grain milling leaving only the endosperm (3). This process increases the shelf life of the grain but also removes some of the nutrients.

To get the most nutrition from grains, look for products made with whole grains. Whole grains still have the bran and germ, while refined grains have been milled and had the bran and germ removed.

Some refined grains are enriched, meaning that nutrients lost during processing, such as vitamins B and iron, are added back in (4).

However, enriched grains are not the same as whole grains.


What are Vegetables?

The best definition is that vegetables are edible plants (or their parts) (5).

Vegetables can contain phytochemicals, which are compounds that may protect against some chronic diseases (6). Experts recommend eating around 2–3 cups of vegetables daily (7).

Some examples of healthy vegetables include:

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Squash


The Difference Between Grains and Vegetables

The major difference is that grains are a source of complex carbohydrates, while vegetables are a source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber (8,9).

Both, grains and vegetables should be a part of a healthy diet. Including them in your diet will help you meet your nutrient needs and may reduce your risk of some chronic diseases.

Grains are rich in carbohydrates, which offer energy for the body but they also contain fiber, which helps with digestion, and some vitamins and minerals.

But it is important to know, grains are not a good source of vitamin C, which you can find in many vegetables (10).

Also, a lot of vegetables have many vitamins, minerals and fiber. Yet, vegetables are not a good source of carbohydrates.

Both grains and vegetables are important for a healthy diet. Be sure to include both in your daily meal plan.


Some Healthy Whole Gains

There are so many benefits to incorporating whole grains into your diet! They can help with everything from weight loss to reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Whole grains are a perfect source of fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full and aids digestion. Fiber is important for overall health and helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer.

Also, they are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and can help to boost your immunity and keep your energy levels up. Whole grains also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia (11).

So, what are the best whole grains to incorporate into your diet?

Here are a few of our favorites:


Whole Wheat Bread

You can use this classic choice for everything from sandwiches to toast. Look for bread that has at least 3 grams of fiber per slice. Plus, whole wheat bread provides an ample amount of protein and iron.


Brown Rice

This is a versatile grain you can use in various dishes. It’s an ideal source of fiber, magnesium, and phosphorus. Additionally, using brown rice limits the risk of diabetes and heart disease (12).



This grain has a nutty flavor and you can add it to soups, stews, or salads. It’s a very good source of fiber, manganese, and selenium. You should consider adding barley to your diet plan, as according to research, barley helps lower cholesterol levels (13).



This grain is becoming increasingly popular due to its high protein content. It’s also rich in fiber, magnesium, and iron. You can use quinoa in various dishes or add it to your salad to boost protein and nutrition.



This grain is often used in pancakes or as a replacement for rice. Buckwheat also has fiber, manganese, and magnesium. Additionally, it also minimizes the chances of heart disease.

So, there you have it – some of the best whole grains to add to your diet! Incorporating these grains into your meals will help you reach your daily recommended fiber intake and other important nutrients.

They can also help improve your overall health and reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Before start incorporating some whole grains into your diet you should talk to your doctor.


Potential Side Effects of Grains

Grains are a nutritious and delicious part of a healthy diet. However, they can cause some side effects in some people.

Let’s discuss a few!



Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It can cause digestive problems for some people, including bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation (14).

It can also cause fatigue and headaches (15). If you have celiac disease or are gluten-sensitive, you should avoid grains that contain gluten.


Phytic Acid

Phytic acid is found in all grains but mainly in whole grains. It can bind to minerals like iron and zinc, making them less available for absorption by the body (16).

This can lead to deficiencies in these essential nutrients.



Oxalates are compounds found in grains that can bind to calcium and other minerals, making them unavailable for absorption (17). This results in a lack of required nutrients.

Oxalates can also cause kidney stones in some people (18).



FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that are present in grains (19). They can cause digestive problems for some people, including bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

If you have irritable bowel syndrome or are sensitive to FODMAPs, you should avoid grains that contain them.



Some people are allergic to grains, particularly wheat.

A grain allergy can include hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis (20). If you have a grain allergy, you must avoid all grains.



Some people are intolerant to grains. Symptoms of grain intolerance can include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. If you are intolerant to grains, you should avoid them.

Remember that these are just a few potential side effects of grains we mentioned here. If you have any questions about the potential side effects, you should speak with your doctor.


In Conclusion

So what’s the verdict? Are grains vegetables?

Technically, no, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to offer. Grains contain a good amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which can be a healthy part of your diet when eaten in moderation.

Make sure you choose whole grains and watch your portion sizes. We hope that now you are able to understand everything you need to know about grains.

Read more:



Are peanuts a vegetable?

This question often comes up since you can use peanuts in recipes for vegetables. Peanuts are a legume, a plant that produces its seeds in pods.

Legumes are part of the Fabaceae family, including beans and lentils. Peanuts are not a vegetable but healthy food that can be a part of a nutritious diet.


What’s the healthiest grain?

It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re trying to lose weight, then quinoa would be a great choice.


It is high in protein and fiber and has a low glycemic index. It won’t spike your blood sugar levels. If you’re looking for something to help lower cholesterol, oats are a good choice – they contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber to reduce cholesterol levels.

Finally, if you’re looking for a nutrient-packed grain, amaranth is a good bet – it’s high in vitamins and minerals. It has a complete amino acid profile, making it a great option for vegetarians and vegans.