Clementines are much more than tiny oranges. They are actually a cross between a navel orange and a mandarin orange, and they have a sweet flavor that complements many different recipes. They're nutritious, too; eating just one clementine supplies you with an impressive amount of vitamin C, as well as other vitamins and minerals that keep you healthy.
The 36.1 milligrams of vitamin C that just one clementine contains is about 40 percent of what men need each day and about 50 percent of what women need. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, destroying free radicals, which are chemicals that form in your body when you come into contact with contaminants like pollution and cigarette smoke and also result from the metabolism of food. Free radicals contribute to certain diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Clementines are a good source of fiber and potassium. Fiber creates bulk in your intestines so you digest your food properly and get rid of waste regularly. Because fiber slows digestion, your body has more time to absorb the vitamins and minerals from food. One clementine has 1.3 grams of fiber.
Potassium is a mineral that keeps your digestive system working the way it's supposed to. The mineral makes it easier for your intestines to contract and relax so food and waste can move through them normally. A clementine contains 131 milligrams of potassium.
Citrus fruits, including clementines, contain compounds called flavonoids that reduce your chances of developing certain health problems. A 2012 article published in "Stroke," a journal from the American Heart Association, reports that the flavonoids in citrus fruits might reduce the risk of stroke. The same flavonoids can reduce your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer as well. A 2009 article published in "Pancreas" notes that eating citrus fruits can lower your chance of developing pancreatic cancer. The compounds in citrus fruits can block cancerous tumors from growing as well, according to a 2000 article published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."
Enjoy a clementine plain or peel one and add it to a fresh fruit salad. Chop fresh clementines into bite-sized pieces and stir them into a bowl of oatmeal or a carton of low-fat plain yogurt. Combine chopped clementines with diced mangoes, minced red onion and lime juice for a tasty fruit salsa that pairs well with grilled chicken or pork chops. Drizzle fresh clementines with honey and sprinkle them with cinnamon, or dip clementine segments into melted dark chocolate to make a nutritious dessert.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Clementines, Raw
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Esssential for a Healthy Diet
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium
- Stroke: Dietary Flavonoids and Risk of Stroke in Women
- Pancreas: Citrus Fruit Intake and Pancreatic Cancer Risk
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.