With early warmth this year, a friend mentioned that she had already been able to get tomatoes started in Florida! Her concern was that a frost may force her to pick them before they’re ready (typically a problem in fall, but here we are) and she wondered whether the nutrient value would suffer.
On the contrary – green tomatoes are remarkably healthy, and even beat red tomatoes on a few measures! 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
Check out my Summer Recipes list on myList for some ideas on what to do with green tomatoes (there are much better ways than the traditional “fried” version). And for added benefit, pair green tomatoes with iron-rich foods like fish, spinach, or supplements, since the vitamin C helps your body absorb the iron more efficiently.