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Is Corn a Vegetable?

Rutuja Jathar Feb 15, 2020
Is corn a vegetable, grain or fruit? Sometimes even the simplest of answers seem to be so complex, and the complex ones so simple. Answering this question is not so easy, because everyone has their point of view.

Is corn a vegetable or a grain?

Botanically speaking, corn is a 'grain'!
Ever got into a debate about corn being a vegetable, grain or fruit? Well, the US State Senators found themselves in the midst of such a debate, when they had to decide on a state vegetable for New York.
Even though the state of New York is the second largest producer of onion in the US, popularity votes went for corn, and corn was titled the state vegetable! But is corn really a vegetable?
Botanically speaking, corn is not a vegetable, but a grain! To solve the debate, we will have to look at the botanical technicalities of corn. Where does corn come from? Does corn come from the vegetative part or the reproductive part of the plant?
As we know, products that we get from the reproductive part of a plant are known as fruits, and the products we get from the vegetative part of the plant, are known as vegetables.
Since corn does not grow from the stem, leaf, or root, it is not a vegetable!
However, this is highly debated and arguments that arise are; because it's a plant that can be eaten, it's a vegetable. It is debated that, since it is harvested and eaten fresh, it falls under the vegetable category. The processed corn, which we get to make popcorn and cornflour is the grain version.
According to some folks, sweet corn is both vegetable and grain. Then again, another school of thought is, it may be harvested as grain, but is consumed as a vegetable.
Corn grows from the reproductive part of the plant, technically it's a fruit. However, we cannot stop here. While it can be eaten as a vegetable, it is still classified very much as a grain variety.

Corn is a grain because...

Corn grows from the reproductive part of the plant, technically it's a fruit. However, we cannot stop here. While it can be eaten as a vegetable, it is still classified very much as a grain variety.

Is Corn Healthy to Consume?

Corn is a healthy grain to consume. It is actually a compound of carbohydrates, that is rich in vitamin C and dietary fibers, called pericarps. The kernel of the corn is a huge storehouse of a large amount of proteins and starch.
One corn kernel can be likened to an embryo, wherein the pericarps can be compared to be the hard eggshell, that protects the inner substance, while the endosperm of the corn which is starchy, can be considered as the egg white or albumen.


Corn is high in starch, which means it is high in carbohydrates and calories, thus, is good energy provider. Since it is free of gluten, it can be safely consumed by those allergic to gluten. However, while corn is a good source of energy, it is not an ideal food for diabetics and those trying to lose weight.


Corn is an excellent source of dietary fiber, with 4.5 grams of fiber in each cup of corn. Fiber is important, because it helps improve bowel movements through the intestines. It also helps reduce the risk of colon cancer.
The fiber also helps lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Corn oil is also known to help reduce cholesterol levels, because it is high in polyunsaturated fats.


Corn is a rich source of the vitamin B complex, especially thiamin and niacin. It also contains a good amount of pantothenic acid, which is essential for fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. Moreover, since it is a good source of folic acid, it's great for pregnant women, who require adequate amounts of folic acid for the growth and development of the fetus. It also contains vitamin A and E.
Corn is ultimately a grain that is enjoyed in a variety of ways. Many delicious dishes can be prepared from it, right from sweet corn soup and sauces, to corn bread and popcorn.
They are also available in frozen and canned form, making it a highly convenient food to get one's hands on. So leave this spicy debate aside, and just enjoy the sweetness of corn.