Tangerine (Mandarin Oranges) Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits
The tangerine is a citrus fruit and is smaller than the orange. Tangerines are native to China, but today they are grown all over the world. They have a high sugar content and a rich taste. The most popular variety of tangerine in the United States is the Dancy, a very sweet fruit with a red-orange color and a mellow flavor.
Tangerines are considered a group of mandarin varieties. Citrus tangerina is also treated as a synonym of Citrus deliciosa. It is a group of orange-colored citrus fruits consisting of hybrids of mandarin orange varieties with some pomelo contribution. Tangerines are also known as mandarin oranges; clementines are small Algerian tangerines. The taste is considered less sour, as well as sweeter and stronger, than that of an orange. A ripe tangerine is firm to slightly soft, pebbly-skinned with no deep grooves, and orange in color. The peel is thin, with a little bitter white mesocarp. All of these traits are shared by mandarins generally.
Nutritional Value of Tangerines
Tangerines are high in sugar with moderate amounts of dietary fiber, soluble pectins, and good sources of vitamin C. Tangerines also contain more vitamin A (carotenes). Tangerines contain 85% water, 13% carbohydrates, and negligible amounts of fat and protein.
One medium raw tangerine provides 37 calories, 9.4 g carbohydrate, 0.5 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.9 g dietary fiber, 773 IU of vitamin A, 26 mg of vitamin C, 17 mcg of folic acid, 132 mg of potassium, 1 mg of sodium, 8 mg of phosphorus, 12 mg of calcium, and 10 mg of magnesium.
Raw Tangerine Nutrition Facts Label
Health Benefits of Tangerine
Citrus fruits have long been valued as important sources of vitamin C. Besides being deficient in cholesterol, tangerines also contain an impressive list of health-benefiting nutrients, including essential minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber. Tangerines are principal sources of many bioactive phytochemicals with disease-preventive properties, including flavonoids and limonoids.
Due to the various types of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients present in the tangerine, it has lots of health benefits. Some of the health benefits of tangerines include improving skin health, improving digestive health, boosting the immune system, preventing various skin infections, preventing different types of cancer, reducing cholesterol levels, improving cardiovascular health, preventing macular degeneration, improving bone health, detoxifying the body, improving circulation, and improving brain function. They also contain lutein, which may help prevent macular degeneration, and hesperidin, which helps keep blood vessels healthy and has shown potential for fighting osteoporosis. Aside from this, tangerine is very beneficial for weight loss.
Tangerines have the highest concentration of pectin, a soluble fiber helpful in reducing cholesterol, among the commonly eaten citrus fruits. Pectin is the predominant soluble dietary fiber component of citrus fruits, constituting about 65–70% of the total fiber content. Pectin occurs both in the edible portions of fruit and in the inedible residues such as the peel, rag, and core. Consumption of fresh citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, or tangerines can contribute significant quantities of pectin to the human diet. Insoluble fiber in tangerines is composed of polysaccharides, and they play an important role in the human diet in preventing digestive disorders because of their water-holding capacity.
Antiscorbutics. Like other citrus fruits that contain a high amount of vitamin C, tangerines, tangelos, and clementines are useful in preventing or curing the vitamin C deficiency disease scurvy. Consumption of citrus fruits in moderate amounts may be the best way to meet 100% of the RDA for vitamin C. Studies showed that intake of orange juice for two weeks (250 mg ascorbic acid per day) resulted in increased plasma vitamin C concentrations by 40–64% and reduced oxidative markers in adults.
Tangerines are good sources of dietary potassium and are relatively low in sodium. The ratio of sodium to potassium plays a role in the maintenance of electrolyte balance. Citric acid in tangerines can help in the absorption of calcium and other minerals by acting as a chelator.
The only fat-soluble vitamin occurring in citrus fruits in substantial quantity is vitamin A in the form of provitamin A carotenoids. Carotenes and β-cryptoxanthin form the major vitamin A precursors in citrus fruits. β-Cryptoxanthin is the major vitamin A precursor in tangerines, mandarins, and oranges. Among various foods, citrus fruits, including oranges and tangerines, are the most concentrated dietary sources of β-cryptoxanthin. They are very good for our eye health. It helps to prevent retinal damage, and their antioxidant properties help prevent the free radicals from doing any oxidative damage to our eye cells, which is the main cause of age-related eye problems and macular degeneration.
Citrus fruits and their juices are good sources of natural folates, and according to a study in Europe, folate is 100% bioavailable from orange juice and is highly stable. There is strong scientific evidence supporting a positive relationship between dietary folate consumption and the prevention of neural tube defects in infants. Tangerines (100 g) can provide up to 10–20% of the RDA for adults and children less than 9 years of age, complementing the dietary folate requirement.
Limonoids are one of the most health-benefiting bioactive components of tangerines, owing to their versatile health-promoting and disease-preventing properties. More than 50 limonoid aglycones and glucosides have been identified from various Citrus species. Some studies suggest that limonoids have anticancer properties and show potent cytotoxic activities. In studies conducted using animal models and cell lines, limonoids have been shown to inhibit the proliferation of the cancers of the stomach, colon, breast, skin, and pancreas. Limonoids, including limonin and nomilin, were also found to have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Studies also indicated that the anticancer properties of limonoids can be correlated to the induction of glutathione S-transferase, a major detoxifying enzyme system.
Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs: ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.). Taking aspirin or NSAIDs with acidic foods such as grapefruit intensifies the drugs’ ability to irritate your stomach and cause gastric bleeding.
Aphthous ulcers. Eating citrus fruit, including tangerines, tangelos, and clementines, may trigger an attack of apthous ulcers (canker sores) in sensitive people, but eliminating these foods from your diet will neither cure nor prevent an attack.
Contact dermatitis. The oils in the peel of the tangerine, tangelo, or clementine may be irritating to sensitive individuals.