I’ve heard of fried green tomatoes, but to be honest, I always thought that the more ripe a fruit or vegetable is, the more powerful or better it is for you. It wasn’t until I started doing some research, I found that simply isn’t true with green tomatoes.
There are two types of green tomatoes, unripe red tomatoes and those that are green when fully ripe. These are generally heirloom varieties, like Green Zebras and Green Moldavians, which are distinguishable from unripe red tomatoes.
Real green tomatoes often have vertical stripes or other variations in the coloring. They will feel soft when pressed and will taste much like a red tomato, possibly sweet or spicy depending on the variety. Unripe red tomatoes that are green when ripe will be pale green all over, feel nearly solid and will have a more acidic or tart flavor.
You’ll usually find green tomatoes at the market around the fall, when temperatures have dropped and it isn’t warm enough to ripen the tomatoes further. But tomatoes can be picked green off the vine at any time.
One large green tomato (about 1 cup), provides:
– 42 calories
– 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber
– 29 mg of vitamin C, half the daily requirement for men and nearly 60 percent for women (vs. 23 for red tomatoes)
– 16 mg calcium (vs. 6 in red)
– 623 mcg of beta-carotene (helps your body produce vitamin A)
– 58 mcg of vitamin A, giving you close to one-tenth of your recommended daily intake
– 10% of your daily requirement for the B vitamins thiamin, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid, and just under 10% of the riboflavin and niacin you need
– One-fifth of your recommended daily intake for vitamin K
– 5 to 10% of your recommended daily intake for iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese
– An important alkaloid called tomatine, which may fight breast, colon, stomach and liver cancer cells, according to research published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in 2009.
Tomato plants use their tomatine content to combat bacteria, fungi, viruses and insects, but tomatine also appears to offer anticarcinogenic benefits. Upon comparing extracts, the researchers found that extracts from high-tomatine green tomatoes strongly inhibited human cancer cell lines of the breast, colon, stomach and liver.
Green tomatoes also:
Lower Blood Pressure
Green tomatoes support healthy blood pressure — a large tomato contains only 24 milligrams of sodium. A high-sodium diet can cause high blood pressure and increase your risk for stroke, and most fresh vegetables are low in sodium. Potassium counteracts the effects of sodium and helps to lower your blood pressure, and a large green tomato also…