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What Are Clementines? Top 6 Reasons to Eat This Citrus Fruit

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Clementines - Dr. Axe

Clementines are one of the most popular citrus fruits on the market. Not only are they small, easy to peel and delicious, but they’re also jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well.

Plus, they’ve been linked to a long list of health benefits. In fact, studies show that these powerful citrus fruits could help prevent kidney stones, combat cancer cells, and protect against illness and infection.

Here’s what you need to know about clementines, including the benefits and drawbacks — along with some simple ways to incorporate them into your diet.

What Are Clementines?

Clementines are a type of citrus fruit favored for their thin, peelable skin and segments that can be easily separated. They tend to have a glossy exterior with a deep orange hue and may or may not contain seeds, depending on the variety.

Some of the most common types of clementines include:

  • Clemenules
  • Fina
  • Algerian
  • Clementine Caffin
  • Clementine di Calabria

Are Halos clementines? And what’s the difference between the tangerine vs. clementine, the clementine vs. mandarin and popular clementines brands like Halo oranges or Cuties oranges?

Like tangerines, clementines are considered a type of mandarin orange. Both are sweet, juicy and easy to peel, making them popular choices for portable snacks.

Cuties and Halos are two common brands of mandarins that can be clementines or variations like clemenules or murcotts, depending on what time of the year it is.

The clementine season runs through the winter, with the clementine tree typically producing fruit between October through January. The fruit can be found in the produce aisle of most grocery stores alongside other citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits.

Nutrition Facts

Clementine nutrition is low in calories but loaded with important nutrients like fiber and vitamin C. Clementines also contain micronutrients such as potassium, folate and thiamine in each serving as well.

One clementine fruit (about 74 grams) contains the following nutrients:

  • 35 calories
  • 9 grams carbohydrates
  • 0.6 grams protein
  • 0.1 grams fat
  • 1.3 grams dietary fiber
  • 36.1 milligrams vitamin C (60 percent DV)
  • 131 milligrams potassium (4 percent DV)
  • 17.8 micrograms folate (4 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams thiamine (4 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams vitamin B6 (3 percent DV)

In addition to the nutrients listed above, each serving also provides a small amount of magnesium, phosphorus, copper and calcium.

Health Benefits

There are many reasons you may want to consider adding this sweet citrus fruit to your next shopping list. Here are a few of the top clementine benefits.

1. Supports Weight Loss

With just 35 calories in a clementine, this tasty fruit can be an awesome addition to your diet if you’re looking to shed a few extra pounds. In addition to being low in calories, it’s also brimming with dietary fiber, which moves through the body slowly to stabilize blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness and satiety.

What’s more, a 2015 study in PLoS One tracked the diets of over 133,000 adults over a period of up to 24 years and found that regular consumption of fruit — and citrus fruit, in particular — was linked to increased weight loss.

2. Boosts Immune Function

Clementine oranges are an awesome source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that plays a key role in immune health. In fact, studies show that getting enough of this water-soluble vitamin in your daily diet could improve symptoms and reduce the incidence of respiratory conditions like the common cold.

Not only that, but vitamin C levels in the body rapidly decline during illness and infection, making it even more important to get your fix by eating plenty of nutrient-dense foods, such as clementines.

3. High in Antioxidants

Like other citrus fruits, clementines are an excellent source of antioxidants, which are compounds that help fight free radical damage to prevent oxidative stress and inflammation. In vitro studies suggest that clementines are especially rich in powerful antioxidants like hesperidin, narirutin, didymin and diosmin.

Antioxidants are believed to have a major impact on health and disease, with some research noting that they could potentially aid in the prevention of autoimmune disorders and chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

4. Combats Cancer Cell Growth

Thanks to their high content of antioxidants, promising research indicates that clementines could possibly help block the growth and spread of cancer cells. In fact, studies show that a higher intake of citrus fruits could be associated with a lower risk of stomach, breast, esophageal and pancreatic cancer.

However, more research is needed on the effects of clementines specifically to determine how they could impact cancer growth.

5. Prevents Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are a painful condition caused by the buildup of hard mineral deposits within the kidneys or urinary tract. There are several different types and causes of kidney stones, but some may be caused by low levels of citrate in the urine.

Adding more citrus fruits to your diet can help increase levels of citrate in the urine, which could aid in the prevention of kidney stones. Interestingly enough, a 2014 study published in Urology even showed that regular consumption of citrus fruits was tied to a lower risk of developing kidney stones over time.

6. Promotes Regularity

A single clementine contains a whopping 1.5 grams of fiber, knocking out up to 6 percent of your daily fiber requirements with just one serving. In addition to supporting weight loss, reducing blood pressure and keeping blood sugar levels steady, fiber is also closely involved in maintaining digestive health.

According to one meta-analysis out of China, upping your intake of fiber could effectively increase stool frequency in those with constipation. Plus, fiber has also been shown to benefit other digestive issues ranging from hemorrhoids to diverticulitis, acid reflux and stomach ulcers.

Related: Mandarin Essential Oil Improves Skin + Even Helps Combat Cancer

Recipes

Although a clementine makes a delicious healthy snack as is, there are plenty of other ways to add this juicy citrus fruit to your diet. Clementines make a great addition to salads and smoothies and can even be used to add a punch of flavor to main courses and desserts alike.

Here are a few recipe ideas to help get you started:

Risks and Side Effects

Despite the many benefits associated with mandarins like clementines, there are a few risks to consider as well.

First of all, keep in mind that it’s always best to opt for whole clementines whenever possible, as fruit juice may not offer the same benefits as whole fruit. In addition to being lower in fiber, fruit juice contains a much more concentrated amount of sugar as well.

Some people may also be allergic to citrus fruits and can experience symptoms like redness, swelling and tingling of the lips, throat and tongue. If you notice any side effects after eating clementines, discontinue use immediately and talk to your doctor.

The citric acid found in clementines can also erode the enamel of the teeth over time, potentially increasing the risk of cavities. Keeping your intake in moderation and pairing with a variety of other fruits and vegetables can minimize these effects and help optimize your oral health.

Some people also wonder: Can dogs eat clementines? Although clementines are not considered toxic for dogs, they are high in sugar and citric acid, which can cause irritation and digestive distress when consumed in high amounts.

Therefore, it’s best to limit consumption and consult with your veterinarian to address any concerns before making changes to your dog’s diet.

Conclusion

  • What are clementines? Also sometimes known as Halo or Cutie oranges, clementines are a type of mandarin known for their thin, easily peelable skin and the flavorful segments of fruit inside.
  • Clementines are a great source of several nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants.
  • They may also help prevent kidney stones, combat cancer cell growth, boost immune function, increase weight loss and promote regularity.
  • However, it’s important to keep your intake in moderation and opt for whole fruit instead of fruit juice whenever possible to maximize the potential health benefits.
  • Try adding clementines to salads, snacks, baked goods and beverages to take advantage of the many benefits that this citrus fruit has to offer.
Josh Axe

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