Health Benefits of Mandarin Oranges

Mandarin oranges, also known as mandarins or mandarines, are citrus fruits in the same family as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. Compared to the common orange, mandarin oranges are smaller, sweeter, and easier to peel. 

Tangerines are a type of mandarin with a deep reddish-orange color and pebbly skin. Clementines are a small, seedless type of mandarin orange that are popular because they peel so easily and are extra sweet.

Mandarin oranges have their history grounded in ancient China. Their name — mandarin — is evidence of that as well. However, since their beginnings, they have been a popular, well-liked fruit. Today they remain common additions to many households. They also provide different health benefits.

Health Benefits

Not only are mandarins delightfully sweet and easy to prepare, but they are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Your body needs these elements to stay healthy. Here are few of the benefits you’ll get from eating this small, delicious fruit.

Disease Resistance

Beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin are compounds that give citrus fruits like tangerines and mandarins their deep orange color. They are antioxidants that may also help reduce your risk of developing some cancers.

Mandarin oranges have even more beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin than common oranges, making them excellent additions to your diet.

The body turns beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin into vitamin A, which is essential for a healthy immune system, good vision, and normal growth and development. 

Mandarin oranges are also an excellent source of vitamin C, another key nutrient for immune system function, as well as maintaining healthy skin and healing wounds. Vitamin C in food is better absorbed by the body than the mega-dose of vitamin C you would get from a supplement.

Improved Cholesterol Levels  

Mandarins are a cholesterol-free treat that can help you stick to your diet and stay healthy. They are a good source of soluble fiber, which can help you feel full longer after you eat.

Soluble fiber has been shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol, often called “bad cholesterol” because it can collect in your blood vessels and cause heart problems. Lowering your LDL cholesterol level may decrease your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

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Lower Blood Pressure

The fiber in mandarins can also help manage high blood pressure. This condition can be caused by eating fatty foods, drinking too much alcohol, or smoking. If it’s not regulated, it could put you in danger of developing heart disease. Eating fruits rich in fiber help lower your blood pressure levels and live a healthier life.

Mandarin oranges contain potassium as well. Potassium lowers blood pressure by helping the body get rid of excess sodium (salt) and by easing tension in the walls of blood vessels.

Stronger Bones

Along with potassium, mandarin oranges contain calcium and magnesium. People who get more of these three minerals in their diets tend to have higher bone mineral density. That means their bones are stronger and less likely to break.

Nutrition

Naturally sweet, mandarin oranges need no added sugars to taste great and can help satisfy your sweet tooth. They are fat-free and low-sodium, making them a healthy snack choice.

Nutrients per Serving

One mandarin orange, about 2 ½ inches in diameter, contains:

Things to Watch Out For
At the grocery store, sometimes labels for canned mandarin oranges can be confusing. It’s important to read the labels carefully before selecting your canned treat.

Canned mandarin oranges labeled “in light syrup” have added sugar. Packages labeled “no sugar added” and “packed in water” may contain artificial sweeteners. To make sure you’re getting the best dosage of vitamin C and the fewest calories, look for the words “in juice” on the label.

How to Eat Mandarin Oranges

A mandarin orange is a quick and easy snack naturally wrapped in a single-serving portion. To open it, hold the fruit in both hands with one of the flat sides facing up. Pop your thumb through the skin near the center. The skin should peel away easily. After peeling the fruit, pull it gently in half and eat the bite-sized segments. 

Mandarin orange segments liven up:

● fruit or vegetable salads

● fruit kebabs

● smoothies

● oatmeal

● yogurt parfaits

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 17, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Bone Health: “Minerals for Bone Health.”

American Heart Association: “How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure.”

American Institute for Cancer Research: “Health Benefits of Mandarin Oranges.”

Comprehensive Reviews in Food and Food Safety: “History, Global Distribution, and Nutritional Importance of Citrus Fruits.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Mandarin Oranges.”

Harvard Health: “Eat more fiber-rich foods to foster heart health.”

Mayo Clinic: “Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet.”

Oregon State University: “Carotenoids.”

PIH Health: “Citrus: Health-Boosting Super Fruits.”

University of Arizona: “MANDARINS.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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