In everyday usage, a vegetable is any part of a plant that is consumed by humans as food as part of a savory meal. The term “vegetable” is somewhat arbitrary, and largely defined through culinary and cultural tradition. It normally excludes other food derived from plants such as fruits, nuts and cereal grains, but includes seeds such as pulses. The original meaning of the word vegetable, still used in biology, was to describe all types of plant, as in the terms “vegetable kingdom” and “vegetable matter”.
Vegetables can be eaten either raw or cooked and play an important role in human nutrition, being mostly low in fat and carbohydrates, but high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Many governments encourage their citizens to consume plenty of fruit and vegetables, five or more portions a day often being recommended.