The tangerine is a variety of mandarin orange, named for its place of origin in Tangier, Morocco. While there are many varieties of tangerines on the market today, they are all considered hybrids of the mandarin orange.
Tangerines are a popular citrus fruit due in part to their strong, sweet flavor. They have a reputation for generally being sweeter than oranges. This makes them a delicious, healthy dessert option.
Like all citrus fruits, tangerines have an abundance of vitamin C. They also have a moderate amount of vitamin A, with 100 grams of tangerine providing you with approximately 14% of your daily recommended vitamin A intake.
There are also reported health benefits to eating tangerine peels. The peel contains a super-flavonoid, or antioxidant, called tangeretin. Super-flavonoids have shown promise in studies as an effective way to lower cholesterol.
Some other tangerine health benefits include:
Having healthy levels of vitamin C in your body has been tied to having healthy skin. Vitamin C has been shown to play a vital role in how your body makes collagen. Collagen is what makes our skin appear youthful. Vitamin C has also been shown to possibly prevent and treat skin damage caused by sun exposure.
Another benefit of the high vitamin C content in tangerines is its support of eye health by delaying the onset of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. There’s evidence that vitamin C and other nutritional antioxidants can help keep your eyes healthy longer.
A five-year study of more than 500,000 adults showed that eating at least a half cup of fresh fruit once a day may significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Participants who ate fruit daily were roughly 33% less likely to die from heart attack or stroke. Tangerines are a great option for your daily fruit consumption.
In addition to being packed with vitamin C, tangerines are a good source of dietary fiber. Adding fiber to your diet is a great way to lose weight. Women under 50 should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should try for about 38 grams.
Tangerines are also a minor source of:
Nutrients per Serving
A medium-sized tangerine (approximately 2 ½ inches in diameter) weighs approximately 88 grams, and contains:
- Calories: 47
- Protein: 0.7 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 12 grams
- Fiber: 1.6 grams
- Sugar: 9.3 grams
For healthy adults, there’s virtually no limit on the safe amount of fruit you can consume. The biggest concern for most fruits, including tangerines, is their high amount of naturally occurring sugar. However, tangerines are also a good source of fiber. Fiber limits the overall absorption of sugar from fruit.
Experts recommend eating five servings of fruit per day. Tangerines are a great way to reach this goal. One tangerine is roughly equal to one serving of fruit.
How to Use Tangerines
Tangerines make a great healthy dessert option thanks to their natural sweetness. They pair well with other fruits like peaches and apples, or as a standalone fruit topped with lightly sweetened yogurt.
As for tangerine peels, they’re easy to prepare as long as you have a little time. In China, it’s traditional to dry tangerine peels in the sun to create “chen pi”. You first need to scrape away the majority of the pith, or the soft white material inside the peel. Then simply set in the sun to dry, turning the peels once a day for about a week. If you need to speed things up, you can put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about a half hour at 200 degrees F, taking care not to burn them.
Tangerine peel is a key ingredient of many Chinese dishes, such as tangerine beef. It can also make a great addition to mulled wine or hot apple cider.