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Promising Health Benefits of Tangerine Fruits: An Overview

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Tangerines or tangerine fruits are low-calorie low-carb low-fat antioxidant-rich fruits that can hold promising health benefits. Read the article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Lakshi Arora

Published At November 28, 2023
Reviewed AtNovember 28, 2023

Are Tangerines Different From Mandarin Fruits?

Tangerines (Citrus reticulata) are a specific variety of mandarin orange fruits. These are considered to be in fact quite varied or diverse amongst the citrus fruits in terms of their flavors. This is because different-sized tangerines would yield different levels of citrusy flavors varying from sweet to tart flavors from egg-sized tangerines to grape-sized ones. Compared to the orange fruits, tangerines are a much smaller version like mandarins, and contain more amounts of water content.

These fruits have very little acidic content or sugar content as well. These fruits usually possess a characteristic red-orange peel. While these fruits are extremely low in carbs compared to most other types of citrus-based fruits, because of their small size it would be indeed easy for anyone to overconsume these tiny treats. It is important that in case one is snacking on tangerines in between meals or on own, one can consume one to two portions at a time and not exceed this quantity, if one is keeping a watch over the overall carb intake.

What Are the Nutrition Content of Tangerines?

A single small-sized tangerine measuring around 2.645 ounces would roughly be yielding you around 40 calories, 0.0212 ounces of protein, 0.353 ounces of carbohydrates, and a negligible 0.00705 ounces of fat. Tangerines are known to be rich sources of vitamin C, thiamin, and folate as well. The given below nutrition information is enlisted for 2.645 ounces of a small-sized tangerine fruit provided by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture):

  • Fiber: 0.0459 ounces.

  • Sugar: 0.282 ounces.

  • Protein: 0.0212 ounces.

  • Vitamin C: 0.000942 ounces.

  • Fat: 0.00705 ounces.

  • Sodium: 0.00005297 ounces.

  • Carbohydrates: 0.3561 ounces.

  • Total Calories: 40 calories

One small tangerine can surprisingly contribute to around 5 percent of daily dietary fiber needs. The fiber in these tangerine fruits, like many other citrus fruits, is not only soluble fiber, but it can also possibly promote a healthy gut microbiome by slowing down the digestion of food and promoting slower absorption. Soluble fiber is known according to current nutrition research primarily stabilize blood glucose levels as well as possibly lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol levels. The fruits belonging to the mandarin orange family usually possess a low glycemic index at an estimated value of 46 to 47. The glycemic load of a single fruit of tangerine is estimated to be around approximately 3.

Tangerines are exceptionally low in fat which means even the 0.2 to 0.3 gram of fats from a single fruit one consume would contain monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fatty acids that are cardioprotective or heart healthy. These fruits are not significant protein sources and contain only smaller amounts of both essential and non-essential amino acids needed for protein metabolism in the body. One small tangerine fruit would also yield around 34 percent of one’s daily intake needed for vitamin C. One can also hope to gain approximately 10 percent of one’s daily intake of vitamin A from a tangerine fruit apart from traces amounts of thiamin, vitamin B6, and folate (all of which are needed for boosting bodily metabolism and play an essential role in DNA synthesis and cell repair). Tangerines also further contain trace amounts of several micronutrients and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and many more. Current research shows that consuming fruits and vegetables rich in potassium or are a part of potassium-rich diets can reduce one’s overall individual risk for developing cardiovascular diseases.

What Are the Promising Health Benefits of Tangerines?

Current nutrition research shows promising potential for systemic health benefits associated with tangerine consumption, though more scientific evidence is needed to understand these positive outcomes :

  • Anti-Cancer Effect: Nutrition research shows that the flavonoids, limonoids, and coumarins that are potent antioxidants present in citrus fruits such as tangerines can be linked to a reduced risk of developing certain cancers such as gastric cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, and blood cancer. Major research studies conducted specifically on tangerine extract that is citrus reticulata demonstrated that these fruits can exert potent anti-tumor effects on body cells.

  • Prevents Cellular Damage and Age-Associated Deterioration: The potent antioxidant compounds present in citrus fruits would fight the harmful free radicals circulating through the body and prevent oxidative stress thereby also fighting age-related changes or age-onset disorders. Because these fruits are rich primarily in both vitamin A as well as vitamin C, age-related macular degeneration or vision defects associated with aging can be possibly prevented as well by regularly consuming citrus fruits according to nutrition research.

  • Boosts Immunity: A diet that is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C is associated with a higher level of individual immunity, and hence, tangerines can make for an easy addition to any antioxidant-rich diet.

Are Allergies Possible Due to Tangerine Fruits?

Though citrus fruit allergies are uncommon, if one or one’s loved ones suspect any possible allergic reaction post consumption of citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, mandarins, or tangerines, contact professional health care immediately for a personalized diagnosis and the alternative fruits or vegetables one can consume that is rich in vitamin C. Contrary to nutrition myths that tangerines comprise compounds called furanocoumarins (contained in citrus fruits like grapefruit) that can interfere possibly with certain systemic medications like statin drugs, no such drug interaction is actually recorded so far in the medical literature.

How to Purchase, Store, and Use Tangerine Fruits?

Always choose bright, firm, plump, and heavy-sized fruits that are fragrant and ripe. The fruits should be uniformly colored indicating they are not spoilt. Tangerines can be easily refrigerated after purchase where they may last up to 2 weeks. Tangerines can be easily added or topped over veggie dishes, sea foods, or poultry for a refreshing citrusy flavor to the meal. One can also eat the fruit as a rejuvenating proteinaceous snack or consume it along with ricotta cheese or low-fat or Greek yogurt. For other mocktails or citrus-based beverages, one can easily substitute tangerines for other citrus fruits.

Conclusion

To conclude, tangerines, which are a specific type of mandarin oranges, are not only rich in immunity-boosting vitamin C, but they can also be an easy addition or part of low-carbohydrate and low-calorie diets. Similarly, this fruit containing calcium which is much needed for healthy bone and teeth functions, magnesium which is needed for regulating blood pressure, and Iron which is an essential component in supplying oxygen to bodily tissues or muscles indicates that this fruit is an overall nutrient-loaded health beneficial food.

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop

Dentistry

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