Tangerines are typically smaller and less rounded than oranges, and they have a loose, reddish-orange skin that is easy to peel and the segments can be easily separated.
Native to the Southeastern Asia, including Southern China and the Japan, tangerines are now widely cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropical regions of the world. The name “tangerine” comes from Tangier, Morocco, which was the port from which the first tangerines were shipped to Europe.
Tangerines are usually peeled and eaten raw but they can also be used for making jams, jellies and marmalades. In China, tangerines are a symbol of prosperity and happiness. They are passed out freely during Chinese New Year as a symbol of sharing abundance and good fortune.
Tangerine Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA FoodData Central, one medium raw tangerine (88 grams) contains about:
- 47 calories
- 0.7 g of protein
- 0.3 g of fat
- 11.7 g of carbohydrate
- 1.6 g of fiber
- 599 IU of vitamin A
- 0.1 mg of vitamin B6
- 23.5 mg of vitamin C
- 32.6 mg of calcium
- 14.1 mcg of folate
- 146 mg of potassium
- 10.6 mg of magnesium
Like other citrus fruits, tangerines are loaded with a group of compounds called flavonoids, which have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anticancer properties. The flavonoids have been shown to prevent the growth of cancerous cells and stop the proliferation of tumors. They also have the potential to protect against the development of heart disease.
Health Benefits of Tangerines
1. Prevent cancer
Some studies have showed that tangerine can lower the risk of developing cancer.
For example, a study in Japan found that the citrus flavonoid, nobiletin, inhibited the growth of human prostate cancer cells .
Moreover, tangeretin, a polymethoxyflavone present in tangerine peel, has also been found to inhibit human lung cancer cells .
2. Improve heart health
Tangerine is good for your heart too. The flavonoids in tangerines may promote better blood flow in the coronary arteries, prevent blot clot and halt the oxidation of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the body. Tangerines also contain fiber, vitamin B6, and potassium, which are known to improve heart health.
3. Reduce diabetes risk
A study published in the journal Diabetes found that a compound in tangerines may help protect against type 2 diabetes.
According to researchers at The University of Western Ontario, the secret ingredient is the flavonoid called nobiletin. It was shown to have a protective effect against symptoms of metabolic syndrome among mice that were fed a high-fat “western” diet. The study’s results also showed that nobiletin consumption improved the animals’ insulin sensitivity .
4. Strengthen your immune system
Tangerines are an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient that strengthens the immune system and helps prevent certain diseases and infections.
One study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism showed that getting enough vitamin C could help reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections like the common cold .
5. Good for pregnant women
Tangerines are a good source of folate, which is needed for proper development of the fetus, placenta and forming of bones.
A deficiency of folate in pregnant women can lead to the birth of underweight infants and may also result in neural tube defects in newborns. Therefore, adequate consumption of tangerine during pregnancy is very beneficial to your health and the health of your baby.
6. Improve digestion
The high amount of dietary fiber in tangerine is very beneficial for your digestive system. It helps in promoting proper bowel movements and aids in preventing constipation.
7. Maintain brain health
Tangerines are rich in potassium and folate, which are necessary to maintain cognitive health.
Potassium can improve cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain and enhancing neural activity. Folate is known to reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and prevent cognitive decline.
8. Keep your bone healthy
Another benefit of tangerines is that it helps in the maintenance of your bone density.
A Tufts University study showed that a group of elderly men who consumed more vitamin C and potassium — both found in tangerines — had increased bone density and reduced bone fractures.
In addition to that, tangerine contains calcium, which is necessary for the healthy development of strong bones and teeth.
9. Maintain a healthy hair
Tangerines are packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, which are important nutrients for hair health. Vitamin A keeps your scalp and hair moisturized, and vitamin C helps to support the production of collagen which contributes to healthy hair.
10. Support eye health
Tangerines contain significant amounts of vitamin A, which is essential for keeping your eyes healthy. Additionally, the vitamin C in tangerines can lower the risk of developing cataracts and slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Selection and Storage
When buying tangerines, look for ones that are firm to the touch, feel heavy for their size and are deep orange in color. Avoid those with soft spots or other visible damage to the skin.
Store tangerines at room temperature and stay away from direct sunshine. They will last up to a week when stored this way. To extend their storage life, place them in the crisper section of your fridge. Tangerines will last for up to two weeks when refrigerated.