10 Impressive Health Benefits of Tangerines
Tangerine (Citrus reticulata) is a small orange-like fruit characterized by flattened tops and bottoms. It is a member of the Rutaceae family in the genus Citrus which also includes orange, lemon, pomelo, and grapefruit.
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.
There are three well-known varieties of tangerines; Honey tangerine (Murcott), Satsuma mandarin, and Clementines. Honey tangerines are among the most popular tangerine varieties because they’re the sweetest. Satsumas, on the other hand, are slightly tart but are great for decorating a cake or pie. Clementines are the smallest of all tangerines and, like satsumas, are great additions to a number of desserts.
Tangerines are usually peeled and eaten raw but can also be used in fruit salads and for making jams or 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 Nutrient Database, one medium tangerine (raw) (88 grams) contains about:
- Calories: 47
- Vitamin C: 23.5 mg (39% Daily Value)
- Vitamin A: 599 IU (12% Daily Value)
- Dietary fiber: 1.6 g (6% Daily Value)
- Folate: 14.1 mcg (4% Daily Value)
- Potassium: 146 mg (4% Daily Value)
- Thiamin: 0.1 mg (3% Daily Value)
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg (3% Daily Value)
- Calcium: 32.6 mg (3% Daily Value)
- Magnesium: 10.6 mg (3% Daily Value)
- Niacin: 0.3 mg (2% Daily Value)
- Phosphorus: 17.6 mg (2% Daily Value)
Like other citrus fruits, tangerines are loaded with a group of compounds called flavonoids, which have 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
Due to the presence of flavonoids and vitamin C in tangerine, it is very helpful to prevent the risk of cancer.
The flavonoid tangeretin and nobiletin, are reportedly helpful for inhibiting the growth of prostate cancer in the lab. Several studies have been proven that consumption of vitamin C rich foods, such as tangerine, can prevent the growth of the cancerous cells in our body.
2. Promote heart health
The flavonoids in tangerines promote better blood flow in the coronary arteries, prevent blot clot and halt the oxidation of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the body. Apart from that, the presence of vitamin B6, fiber and potassium make tangerines enriching for the heart’s health.
3. Improve cognitive function
Several components of tangerines, such as potassium, folate, and various antioxidants, are known to provide neurological benefits. Folate has been known to reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Potassium has been linked to increased blood flow to the brain and enhances cognition, concentration, and neural activity.
4. Helpful for pregnant women
Tangerines are a good source of folic acid which is needed for proper development of the fetus, placenta and forming of bones. A deficiency of folic acid 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.
5. Strengthen immune system
Due to the high levels of vitamin C and flavonoids, tangerines can improve the function of the immune system and help prevent certain diseases and infections.
One review 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.
Additionally, it could also decrease the incidence and improve the outcome for conditions like pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea.
6. Aid digestion
Tangerines contains high amount of dietary fiber, which is very good for our digestive health.
Fiber helps to promote proper bowel movement and provide smooth passage for food through the digestive tract. It adds bulk to our stomach and ensures the proper elimination of stool from our body in time.
7. Prevent diabetes
A recent study published in the journal Diabetes found that tangerines may protect against type 2 diabetes, along with obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Researchers at the University of Western Ontario in Canada have indicated that the tangerine compound, called nobiletin, was shown to have a protective effect against symptoms of metabolic syndrome among mice that were fed high-fat Western diets. The study’s results also showed that nobiletin consumption improved the animals’ insulin sensitivity.
8. Keep your bone healthy
Another benefit of tangerines is that it helps in the maintenance of your bone density.
According to a study conducted by researchers from Tufts University, men who consumed plenty of vitamin C and potassium, both found in tangerines, saw improvements in their bone density and in reduced bone fracture frequencies. So, to keep your bones strong, you should stock up on some tangerines.
In addition to that, tangerine also contains calcium which is required for maintaining and forming healthy teeth and bones.
9. Maintain a healthy hair
Tangerines are packed with vitamin B12, vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin B12 promote hair growth and reduces hair loss, vitamin C helps to build collagen which contributes to healthy hair, while vitamin A keeps the sebum in hair scalp less dry.
10. Maintain good eyesight
Tangerines contain significant amounts of vitamin A, which is essential for keeping your eyes healthy. Additionally, the vitamin C in tangerines can reduce the risk of forming a cataract and vision loss from Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
Selection and Storage
If you are 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 in the crisper section of your fridge. Tangerines will last for up to two weeks when refrigerated.