Fried green tomatoes is a traditional Southern dish that uses not-quite-ripe tomatoes to create a flavorful side dish. While not as nutritious as vine-ripened red tomatoes, green tomatoes do have many nutritional benefits.
Adding sauteed green tomatoes to a green salad or as a side to grilled meat may help you consume more essential vitamins and minerals. Never eat raw green tomatoes, though, because they have a toxin that can be poisonous, Dianne Onstad cautions in her book Whole Foods Companion.
Ripe, red tomatoes pack a vitamin C punch, and green tomatoes have similar amounts of vitamin C even though they have not fully ripened yet. One cup of green tomatoes supplies as much as 42 milligrams of this important vitamin.
Consuming plenty of vitamin C may help you strengthen your immune system so your body is able to fight off colds, flu and other illnesses more easily. Vitamin C is also crucial for the health of your teeth, gums, bones and skin. Adding cooked green tomatoes to your diet is one way to increase your intake vitamin C.
Green tomatoes are a healthy source of fiber, which your intestinal and digestive systems rely on for good health. One cup of green tomatoes supplies about 2 grams of dietary fiber.
Fiber is present in most fruits, vegetables and whole grains, so increasing your intake of these foods, including cooked green tomatoes, can help you get enough in your diet.
A diet that includes plenty of fiber may help you reduce your risk of several life-threatening conditions, including heart disease, colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes, according to a December 2017 review in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. Fiber also keeps your digestive system working well so you're less likely to experience constipation.
The concentration of beta-carotene in green tomatoes is similar to that of red tomatoes. Beta-carotene is present in many fruits and vegetables and helps your body produce vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential because it helps protect the health of your eyes.
Vitamin A also helps you produce healthy white blood cells and encourages proper cell division. A 1-cup serving of green tomatoes provides you with 623 micrograms of beta-carotene.
A one-cup serving of green tomatoes provides you with several additional nutrients as well, including 23 milligrams of calcium and 367 milligrams of potassium. Green tomatoes also contain protein, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K.