Mandarins are a type of mandarin that is the second largest citrus fruit grown after oranges (1).
Like oranges, mandarins are orange in color – although some varieties can be greens or reds. However, they are a bit smaller and less round and are easier to peel by hand. They also have a sweeter taste.
Both the pulp and the skin are very nutritious. You can enjoy mandarins as a snack on the go, mix them into a refreshing juice or smoothie, or use them to make sweet jam or a salad dressing.
Here are 9 surprising health benefits of mandarins.
Despite their small size compared to other citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, mandarins are rich in nutrients and water – in fact, they are made up of around 85% water (2).
Here is the nutritional profile of 1 medium (88 grams) mandarin orange (2):
- Calories: 47
- Carbohydrates: 12 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 0.7 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Vitamin C: 26% of the daily value (DV)
- Vitamin A: 3% of the DV
- Potassium: 3% of the DV
As you can see, tangerines are a great source of vitamin C – the nutrient that is arguably behind most of the health benefits of tangerines.
Mandarins are also one of the most concentrated sources of beta-cryptoxanthin, an antioxidant that is converted into vitamin A in the body and is behind the orange color of mandarins and other fruits (3).
Mandarins also provide potassium and vitamins of the B complex, namely B1, B6 and B9, or thiamine, pyridoxine and folic acid (2, 3).
Mandarins are water-rich fruits full of vitamin C and antioxidants. They are also good sources of other vitamins and minerals such as potassium and B-complex vitamins.
Antioxidants protect your body by neutralizing the harmful effects of oxidative stress caused by free radical buildup. These harmful molecules are involved in the development of chronic conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and cancer (4, 5).
Mandarins – including their peels – are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and beta-cryptoxanthin, and flavonoids like naringin, hesperidin, tangeretin, and nobiletin (3, 5, 6, 7).
Vitamin C’s antioxidant capacity is known for its beneficial effects on skin and heart health, as well as its cancer-fighting properties (8, 9).
Research has linked flavonoids to numerous health benefits, including brain protective effects and a reduced risk of chronic disease (10).
Mandarins and their peels are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and flavonoids, which protect against numerous diseases.
Vitamin C in mandarins can help protect your immune system from viruses and bacteria by acting on T cells, a type of white blood cell that protects your body (9).
Research shows that the vitamin affects the development and function of T cells, blocking pathways that lead to their death. Hence, it helps you maintain healthy levels of these cells to fight off infection (9, 11, 12).
In addition, vitamin C improves phagocytes – immune cells that take up bacteria and other harmful compounds – and microbial kill, which also boosts your immune response (12).
For example, studies have linked a daily intake of 1–2 grams of vitamin C to reduced severity and duration of the common cold (9, 13).
It can also help reduce the severity of allergic reactions – a property also attributed to hesperidin and naringenin, two of the antioxidants found in tangerine peel (5, 9).
Eating tangerines can benefit your immune system because they are high in vitamin C. This vitamin strengthens your body’s ability to defend itself against viruses and bacteria.
Antioxidants in mandarins, like vitamin C and nobiletin, can protect against chronic brain diseases like schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease (5, 9, 14, 15).
For example, research has linked increased free radicals to the development of schizophrenia. Vitamin C’s antioxidant capacity can protect against free radical damage in the brain (9).
In addition, animal studies suggest that mandarin peel nobiletin may help reduce negative effects on the brain in Alzheimer’s disease, such as: B. memory loss, to reduce (14).
Nobiletin can protect brain cells from beta-amyloid accumulation and toxicity, which has been linked to disease onset (5, 14).
As for the effects of mandarins on Parkinson’s disease, their nobiletin content appears to improve motor impairment in mice by protecting dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Damage to these cells leads to disease progression (14).
However, while the research looks promising, human studies are lacking.
Antioxidants in mandarins, such as vitamin C and nobiletin, can protect brain cells from damage associated with schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. However, there is still a need for further research in humans.
Adding tangerines to your diet can promote healthy skin due to vitamin C’s effect on collagen production.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It gives structure, strength, and stability to connective tissue, including your skin (16).
As you age, the amount of collagen in your body decreases. However, vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis, which improves wound healing and reduces signs of aging such as wrinkling (9, 16).
Additionally, vitamin C’s antioxidant properties can reduce the signs of aging by slowing down damage to the skin caused by free radicals (17).
The vitamin C content of the tangerine can promote collagen synthesis, which improves wound healing and reduces the signs of aging.
Mandarins can aid weight loss by increasing your daily fiber intake.
Citrus fruits, including mandarins, provide insoluble fiber – the kind that doesn’t ferment in the gut – like cellulose and lignin (3).
This type of fiber improves satiety by slowing the movement of food through the digestive tract. This, in turn, helps regulate your appetite, which can promote weight loss (3, 18).
In addition, research shows that people with higher fiber intakes are better able to maintain their body weight or prevent weight gain compared to those who eat less fiber (18).
In addition, a test-tube study found that nobiletin prevents fat accumulation in fat cells and significantly increases the activity of activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK is a protein that regulates the cellular energy balance and can counteract the formation of new fat cells (19).
Consuming tangerines can help you increase your fiber intake, which can promote weight loss and prevent weight gain.
Antioxidants in mandarins like vitamin C, tangeretin, and nobiletin can promote heart health.
Studies in humans and animals show that vitamin C can reduce risk factors for heart disease by lowering blood pressure and platelet aggregation, improving blood vessel function, and lowering blood triglyceride and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (9, 12, 20).
Similarly, test-tube studies suggest that tangeretin and nobiletin may help lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis – a narrowing of the arteries caused by the buildup of plaque.
Atherosclerosis is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke (5, 21).
Mandarins provide antioxidants that can help reduce risk factors for heart disease.
The antioxidants in mandarins can impart cancer-fighting properties.
Vitamin C can prevent tumor growth and spread, promote wound healing after surgery, and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy while reducing its toxicity (9).
Studies have shown that people with cancer are prone to vitamin C deficiency and that vitamin C supplementation can improve outcomes for people with end-stage cancer. However, research on humans is not yet clear (9, 22).
Flavonoids in citrus fruits have been linked to a reduced risk of some cancers, including stomach, breast, colon, and lung cancers (5).
However, keep in mind that most of the studies have used high doses of the vitamins or compounds found in tangerines, which is not the same as adding tangerines to your diet. Therefore, there is still a need for further research.
Antioxidants in mandarins can have anti-cancer properties. However, more research is needed to examine the effects of mandarins on their own.
Although tangerines are less popular than other citrus fruits, they are very versatile.
Here are some ideas that can help you include tangerines in your diet:
- Peel and cut their segments in half and add them to your salads.
- Rub the bowls and add them to dressings, drinks or cocktails.
- Squeeze them for an antioxidant-rich mandarin juice.
- Prepare a fresh mandarin salsa to enjoy with fish or chicken.
- Add them to yogurt or chia pudding for a nutritious breakfast or snack.
Whole, raw mandarins do not need to be refrigerated. However, if you want to peel them beforehand, keep the peeled mandarins in a container in your refrigerator.
Mandarins are versatile and can be added to a wide variety of dishes, from breakfast to desserts to cocktails.
Mandarins are a nutritious citrus fruit that can offer numerous health benefits.
They’re packed with antioxidants that can support immunity, provide cancer-fighting properties, and improve brain, skin, and heart health.
Mandarins are also sweet and refreshing and can be enjoyed in numerous dishes.
Just one thing
Try it today: follow this simple jam recipe to avoid wasting overripe mandarins!