Tangerines, also known as mandarin oranges, are a tasty and refreshing citrus fruit packed with many nutritious compounds, including flavonoids, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and potassium. These healthful components contribute to the health of all parts of the body, from cell DNA to the bones and heart. Tangerines are comparable to oranges, but pack even more vitamin A and iron, and slightly less vitamin C.
Tangerines are loaded with compounds called flavonoids, which boasts certain anti-cancer properties. The flavonoids in tangerines have been shown to prevent the growth of cancerous cells and stop the proliferation of tumors. Flavonoids are antioxidants that neutralize free radicals — unstable, disease-causing molecules — and have the potential to also protect against the development of heart disease.
Flavonoids may also promote better blood flow in the coronary arteries, prevent arteries from forming blood clots and stop the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol in the body, a risk factor for many dangerous heart conditions.
Vitamin C and Vitamin A
One medium-size tangerine contains 23.5 milligrams of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that also fights free radical damage. Vitamin C is crucial to the synthesis of collagen in the body, which helps heal wounds and hold together tendons, ligaments, bones, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also aids the absorption of the iron in foods, helping the body retain more of this essential mineral. One tangerine also contains 599 International Units of vitamin A, a group of retinoids linked to immune function, vision, reproductive health, and communication between cells.
A medium-size tangerine packs 14 micrograms of folate, a B vitamin with many important functions in the body. Folate helps form and maintain the health of new cells in the body by building DNA and RNA, making folate an especially crucial vitamin during periods of rapid growth, such as pregnancy and infancy. Adequate folate consumption also helps prevent DNA changes that could lead to cancer. Folate is essential in the production of red blood cells in the body.
Potassium, a mineral found in quantities of about 146 milligrams in a medium-size tangerine, impacts all organs, cells, and tissues of the body. This mineral is necessary for the proper functioning of the kidneys, muscles, nerves, heart, and digestive system. Potassium is also essential for bone health, even helping fight osteoporosis later in life. Adequate potassium intake may prevent high blood pressure and lower the risk of stroke.
Important Notice: This article was originally published at www.healthyeating.sfgate.com by Alissa Fleck where all credits are due.