Natural Health Benefits of Tangerines
The history of the tangerine can be traced back three thousand years to ancient China. This sweet and tangy fruit is a cross between the famous mandarin and the bitter orange. Though exact dates are difficult to nail down, we do know that they were named after Tangier, Morocco, which was home to the port that sent the first tangerines to Europe. That was in the eighteen century. It would be another hundred years before the fruit made its way to North America.
The Americans must have taken quite a liking to them because nowadays tangerines are grown primarily in southeastern United States. They are durable fruit whose peak season is between November and April. Tangerines are also famous for their loose skins, which make them easy to peel, far easier than a regular orange. But aside from the loose rind and the sweet and tangy taste, tangerines also offer a bevy of health benefits. In this article we are going to take a quick look at what this undersized orange hybrid can do for you.
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are famous for their Vitamin C and tangerines are no exception. In fact, by comparison, a small tangerine has more Vitamin C than the average orange and only about half the calories. The tangerine is also an antioxidant rich food. Antioxidants help fight off free radicals and may prevent or reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer. Many people also believe that they actually slow the aging process because they promote healthy cell repair.
Few people know that tangerines are also an excellent source of fiber and are far easier to digest than oranges. The benefits of fiber are numerous. For starters, it helps to maintain and regulate the bowels. High fiber diets also lower cholesterol levels, balance blood sugar and promote healthy weight loss. Perhaps that is why people with hypertension are often put on diets that are high in fiber.
The tangerine also contains flavonoids, which are especially salubrious antioxidants. The most common flavonoid is called hesperidin and it is found mostly in the pulp of the tangerine and in its peel. This particular antioxidant has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Many medical professionals believe that it can ward off sickness and even reduce the symptoms of allergies.
Lastly, tangerines are prized for their high levels of beta-cryptoxanthin, a carotenoid. When digested, it is almost instantly converted into retinol, a kind of Vitamin A. In separate studies, diets with high amounts of beta-crytoxanthin reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer, particularly lung cancer. The carotenoid may also relieve some of the more serious symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.