Can you eat green tomatoes?

In this short article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat green tomatoes?” with an in-depth analysis of green tomatoes, types of green tomatoes, and the health benefits and risks of eating green tomatoes. 

Can you eat green tomatoes? 

Yes, you can eat green tomatoes. Green tomatoes provide many health benefits to people who choose to incorporate them into their diet.

 While most people are familiar with ripe red tomatoes, the unripe, green variety can also be used in a variety of delicious dishes. In addition, green tomatoes aren’t just tasty – they also come with a surprising range of health benefits (1). 

What are green tomatoes?

Tomatoes, scientifically known as Solanum Lycopersicum, belong to the Solanaceae family. There are two kinds of green tomatoes:

Real green tomatoes

Tomatoes that are green when fully ripened, generally heirloom varieties, are real green tomatoes that often have upright stripes or other modifications in the coloring. So the name comes from its pale green color.  Green tomatoes taste tart and are firm to the touch.

Real green tomatoes provide a good amount of vitamins A, vitamin C, and potassium. They also provide magnesium, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber, among other minerals (2). 

Unripened green tomatoes 

The other kind of green tomato is the unripened form of red tomatoes. Red tomatoes that have not fully ripened will be pale green throughout, feel almost hard to touch, and will have a more acidic or sour flavor. 

Unripened, traditionally red tomatoes are not a good source of nutrients since they are not completely ripened. People who are sensitive to acidic foods should avoid eating unripened green tomatoes as they can be more acidic than ripened tomatoes (2). 

Both these forms of tomatoes can be used in a variety of different recipes and both are delicious.

What is the nutritional composition of green tomatoes? 

The following table shows the nutritional composition of 100 g of raw green tomatoes  (3,7): 

Energy (Kcal) 22 
Moisture (g) 93.2
Protein (g) 1.1
Fat (g) 0.3 
Carbohydrate (g) 3.2 
Dietary Fiber (g) 1.6 
Vitamin B1 (mg) 0.08 
Vitamin B2 (mg) 0.05 
Vitamin B3 (mg) 0.46 
Vitamin C (mg) 16.41 
Calcium (mg) 8.49 
Iron (mg) 0.42  
Magnesium (mg) 13.57 
Manganese (mg) 0.12 
Phosphorus (mg) 22.50 
Potassium (mg) 225 
Sodium (mg) 13.11 
Zinc (mg) 0.16 

Green tomatoes have low amounts of carbs. The carbohydrate content consists mostly of simple sugars including glucose and fructose. Tomatoes are also rich in fiber, mainly insoluble fibers such as cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose. 

. Green tomatoes also consist of folate required for healthy tissue growth and cell function, particularly in pregnant women.

Green tomatoes also have beneficial plant compounds including:

  • chlorogenic acid
  • Naringenin
  • beta carotene

What are the health benefits of green tomatoes?

The health benefits of adding green tomatoes to your diet are given below (1,4,5):

  • High in Nutrients: Green tomatoes are rich in vitamin A and flavonoids, which work in combination to overcome the damage caused by free radicals.. In addition, potassium regulates blood pressure and maintains heart health 
  • High in antioxidants: Green tomatoes contain antioxidants that help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease by protecting your body from oxidative stress
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Green tomatoes contain bioflavonoids, which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that promote the healing process
  • Boost Immunity: Vitamin A, B6, and vitamin C in green tomatoes help to promote immunity and strengthen the antibodies that fight against harmful substances in the body
  • Low in calories: Green tomatoes are low in calories, so they can be a good choice if you want to lose weight. They contain just 22 calories per 100 grams, making them an ideal snack for weight loss
  • Heart health: The presence of dietary fiber in green tomatoes aids in lowering the risk of heart problems. Some of the fiber in tomatoes is soluble, which reduces cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease
  • Improves digestion: The presence of dietary fiber promotes digestion 

What are the risks of eating green tomatoes?

The risk of eating green tomatoes is related to the amount of consumption. In plants, there are thousands of active substances that serve as defense mechanisms. 

Tomatoes, which also consist of a significant amount of solanine and some atropine, contain the richest amount of less toxic alkaloids known as tomatine. However, the concentration of toxic alkaloids is considerably low in mature tomatoes. 

In order to cause serious poisoning from the highest concentration of alkaloid, you would need to consume 22.05 ounces of unripe tomatoes raw. The bitter taste of solanine makes it highly unlikely that you could accidentally ingest such a large amount (6).

The toxicity of many fruits in the Solanaceae family that includes tomatoes falls to almost zero as they mature. And that is why most people can eat fully ripened tomatoes with an exception.


In this short article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat green tomatoes?” with an in-depth analysis of green tomatoes, types of green tomatoes, and the health benefits and risks of eating green tomatoes


  1. Jaiswal AK. Nutritional composition and antioxidant properties of fruits and vegetables. Nutritional Composition and Antioxidant Properties of Fruits and Vegetables. 2020. 
  1. Mencarelli F, Saltveit ME. Ripening of Mature-green Tomato Fruit Slices. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 2022;113(6).  
  2. Guerrero-Romero F, Simental-Mendía LE, Guerra Rosas MI, Sayago-Monreal VI, Morales Castro J, Gamboa-Gómez CI. Hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects of green tomato (Physalis ixocarpa Brot.) calyxes’ extracts. J Food Biochem. 2021;45(4). 
  3. Tanambell H, Quek SY, Bishop KS. Screening of in vitro health benefits of tangerine tomatoes. Antioxidants. 2019;8(7). 
  4.  Nirmala FS, Lee H, Kim JS, Ha T, Jung CH, Ahn J. Green tomato extract prevents bone loss in ovariectomized rats, a model of osteoporosis. Nutrients. 2020;12(10).
  6. Longvah T, Ananthan R, Bhaskarachary K, Venkaiah K. Indian Food Composition Tables. 2017.