Healthy Fruits: Tangerines
Image by Swamibu via Flickr
Though they are often dismissed as just another variety of orange, tangerines provide a number of unique health benefits. Not only do they contain more Vitamin C and fiber than the average orange, but they also offer a number of healthy compounds. In this article we are going to take a look at what sets this loose-skinned fruit apart.
History tells us that the tangerine is a simple hybrid between the famous mandarin and the bitter orange. Though no one knows for sure, it is believed that the fruit was first cultivated in China more than three-thousand years ago.
One of the most interesting facts about tangerines is just how long it took them to leave their native lands. As incredible as it sounds, tangerines didn't make their way to Europe until the 19th century. And their name is actually an eponymous one, since they were named after the port in Tangier, Morocco that first sent them to Europe.
Of course, it would be centuries before experts discovered the many health benefits of tangerines. Just like the standard orange, tangerines have high amounts of Vitamin C. In fact, the average tangerine has only about half of the calories and more usable Vitamin C than an orange.
Citrus fruit in general is highly beneficial to the immune system, the reproductive organs, the adrenal glands, and even to the eyes. The Vitamin C they contain is also an excellent source of antioxidants, which are molecules that fight off inimical free radicals. Free radicals are known to damage healthy cells, which may lead to premature aging and cancer.
Are tangerines a cure for cancer? No, of course not. But numerous studies have shown that high levels of antioxidants in your diet can reduce your risk of certain kinds of cancer. These helpful little molecules may also slow the aging process a bit, since they promote healthy cell repair.
Tangerines also contain a rather large dose of a flavonoid called hesperidin. Now, a flavonoid is really nothing more than an extremely healthy antioxidant that is found in certain parts of the fruit, mostly in the pulp and the rind. That may be why many tangerine lovers actually consume the peels. Yes, they eat the peels.
What would it take for you to scarf down a waxy tangerine rind? Well, how about if we told you flavonoids like hesperidin can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure simultaneously? Not to mention that fact that they contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which can help relieve the symptoms of chronic conditions like arthritis.