We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But what about coffee? Is coffee a meal? Which food group does coffee belong to? The answer, my friends, is both yes and no. Let’s explore.
First of all, let’s dispel the myth that coffee isn’t food. Coffee beans are seeds from a fruit, which means that coffee is technically a fruit. And we all know that fruits are healthy for us, right? Just think about all the antioxidants and vitamins found in fruits. Coffee has those same benefits! Coffee is one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the world.
Which Food Group Does Coffee Belong To?
Coffee does not belong to any specific food group as it is not considered a food in the traditional sense. Coffee is a beverage that is brewed from roasted coffee beans, which are derived from the Coffea plant. It does not provide significant nutritional value in terms of essential macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) or micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
However, coffee does contain bioactive compounds, most notably caffeine, which can have stimulant effects on the central nervous system. Coffee is often consumed for its taste, aroma, and the stimulating effects of caffeine. It can be a part of one’s overall dietary pattern, but it is not classified as belonging to a specific food group within traditional nutrition guidelines.
It’s important to note that while coffee itself may not be a significant source of nutrients, it is often consumed with other foods and can be a part of a balanced diet. It’s advisable to be mindful of any added sweeteners, creamers, or flavorings that may accompany coffee, as these additions can contribute to the overall nutrient composition and calorie content of the beverage.
Is Coffee A Vegetable? – Not Quite…
Yes, it is!!! Because it’s made from a bean and a bean is a vegetable!
So…that’s it then, right? Well, not so fast! Despite this brief and very specific answer, there is one flaw in this statement. Beans are not legumes, not vegetables.
Furthermore, coffee beans aren’t even technically beans, they are actually seeds. Coffee grows on shrubs and those shrubs produce small coffee cherries (red or yellow fruits). The coffee beans are on the inside of these cherries.
So, coffee is not a vegetable, that much is clear. That must make it a fruit, right? Well, let’s find out!
Fun Note: Like most other vegetables, brewed coffee is also a source of fiber!
What Food Group Is Coffee Then? – A Fruit?
The coffee’s cherry is a fruit. But the coffee beans are just a part of that fruit.
The coffee cherry has hard and bitter skin on the outside. But juicy and sweet fleshy on the inside. Underneath the fruits’ flesh, is an undesirable slimy layer that protects the precious coffee bean inside. The coffee cherry (fruit) doesn’t taste like actual coffee at all. Some people have described it to have a taste of a mango or a watermelon. Others have described it as a fragrant like rosewater or hibiscus type.
The answer to the question is coffee a vegetable is no. Coffee beans are seeds, and the coffee cherries they produce are fruits.
So if coffee is a fruit, does that mean it counts as part of your daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables? Maybe.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) doesn’t currently list coffee as a member of the fruit or vegetable food groups. Still, they do acknowledge that coffee “can be relabeled as a ‘fruit'” for nutritional purposes.
So there you have it! Coffee can be both a food and not a food, depending on how you look. But one thing is for sure: coffee is delicious and nutritious, so drink up!
Whether you consider it a meal or not, there’s no denying that coffee is packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can have myriad health benefits. So next time someone tries to tell you that coffee isn’t real food, you can set them straight! Drink up, friends.