Tangerines -- a type of mandarin orange with reddish orange skin -- make regular appearances in several Asian cuisines, but are also widely available throughout the United States. They're relatively low in calories -- an entire cup provides just 103 calories -- so they fit into a calorie-controlled diet. They also offer considerable amounts of a few essential nutrients, including fiber and vitamins, which benefit your health.
Tangerines contain a generous amount of fiber, a specialized type of carbohydrate. Each cup of tangerine sections -- approximately 2 medium tangerines -- provides 3.5 grams of dietary fiber. Your body doesn't break fiber down into energy like it does with other carbohydrates; fiber passes through your digestive tract, loosening your stool to help keep you regular. Fiber fights obesity, and it also can help lower blood cholesterol levels, which in turn can help reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. Each 1-cup serving of tangerines provides 14 and 9 percent of the recommended daily fiber intakes for women and men, respectively, as set by the Institute of Medicine.
Tangerines serve as an excellent source of vitamin C. Each 1-cup serving of sections provides 52 milligrams, which is 58 percent of the daily intake for men, and 69 percent of the intake for women, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Vitamin C helps synthesize collagen, a protein your body needs to maintain strong skin and bones. It also contributes to healthy teeth, promotes efficient wound healing and acts as an antioxidant to prevent genetic mutations.
A tangerine's orange hue comes from its carotenoids -- a family of pigments that also serve as sources of vitamin A. You need vitamin A for good vision, especially at night, and for healthy cell development. Getting enough vitamin A in your diet also nourishes your immune system and promotes healthy wound healing. A 1-cup serving of tangerines boosts your vitamin A intake by 1,328 international units, or 44 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 60 percent for women, as set by the Institute of Medicine.
Consuming More Tangerines
The sweet flavor of tangerines makes them tasty served on their own, but they also work well in recipes. Add chopped tangerine sections and toasted coconut to your morning oatmeal, or add tangerine slices to your favorite cold cereal. Combine coconut water, frozen tangerine sections, spinach and cacao in a blender for a nutrient-packed smoothie, or mix thin tangerine slices and fennel for a quick and easy salad, which you can dress with a vinaigrette made from tangerine juice, olive oil and mint for extra flavor.