When it comes to fruits that everyone enjoys, it makes sense why mandarin oranges often reign supreme: They’re easy to peel, fun to pull apart, and yummy to eat. But on top of all of that deliciousness, these oranges are also full of health benefits, including being a huge help to your immune and cardiovascular systems.
What are mandarin oranges?
Mandarin oranges can be a bit confusing since they seem so similar to other citrus fruits, including normal oranges, tangerines, and clementines. You may even be saying to yourself, “Wait…there are differences?” To make matters more perplexing, both tangerines and clementines fall under a larger, more general “mandarine orange” umbrella.
Here’s how to tell them apart: Tangerines are typically larger and more uneven, with a pebbled texture compared to a mandarin’s small, smooth shape. Clementines are typically much smaller in size and sweeter in taste.
The good news is that any of these fruits in the citrus family have similar health benefits, so you really can’t go wrong picking any of them up.
Like other citrus fruits, mandarin oranges are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, and anti-inflammatory compounds that can reduce swelling, fight cell-damaging free radicals, and prevent signs of aging. In fact, their ability to protect your cells from invaders may also help them kill off cancerous cells.
And here’s a fun fact: A single medium mandarin orange has a whopping 31 percent of your total daily vitamin C requirement. Talk about a fruit that’s working overtime!
Because these oranges are also high in fiber, they contribute to lowering your cholesterol. To do this, they form a gel-like paste in the gut and make sure that food is making its way through your digestive system in a timely manner; it’s crucial that the body is absorbing forms of “good” cholesterol that go down this tract. This process also ensures that “bad” cholesterol” gets expelled from the body and doesn’t sit in your gut, which can cause larger health problems.
Blood Pressure Benefits
Numerous studies have linked citrus fruits like these oranges to lower blood pressure. Scientists believe part of this has to do with the effect that they can have on maintaining proper cholesterol levels, but it’s also because of compounds called flavonoids, especially one called naringin, which regulates nitric oxide levels in the blood and keep hypertension at bay.
The next time you find yourself at the grocery store looking for delicious snack options, it may be worth giving those mandarin oranges in the produce section another look!
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.