Although the sweet, juicy clementine is a tiny fruit, it packs a hefty nutritional punch. Similar to other citrus fruits, such as the tangerine or orange, clementine calories won't hinder your weight loss goals. It also provides important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
An average size clementine weighing approximately 74 grams contains only 35 calories, which consists of 91 percent carbs, 6 percent protein and 3 percent fats.
What Are Clementines?
The clementine is a variety of the mandarin orange. This fruit is sometimes called the Christmas orange because of its popularity during the Christmas holiday.
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Clementines are thought to have evolved in Vietnam, southern China and Japan, according to the University of Connecticut. Today, China and Turkey dominate the global market for export of mandarins, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, although citrus fruits are grown extensively in California and Florida for the U.S. market.
This small, seedless red-orange fruit is a favorite with kids because its skin is loose and easy to peel. Inside, the flesh is silky and sweet. Since its growing season doesn't overlap with the traditional orange growing season, the clementine is a perfect way to get the benefits of citrus fruit even after other oranges varieties are no longer being harvested.
Read more: Is It Healthy to Eat Orange Peels?
Due to their naturally sweet taste, clementines are great for making orange marmalade or for use in dessert recipes. You can add a "citrusy" pop to your salads or use the rind for zest in baking.
Clementine Calories and Macronutrients
As with most citrus fruits, the clementine versus orange nutrition is similar, especially when it comes to its low calorie content. For comparison, the calorie content of various citrus (per single fruit) includes:
- Clementine calories: 35
- Tangerine calories: 47
- Valencia orange calories: 59
- Florida orange calories: 65
If you're wondering what's the best fruit to eat on a diet for weight loss, it's easy to see that clementines are your best bet. A clementine even has fewer calories than a medium-sized apple, which contains 95 calories, according to the USDA.
Most of the total calories in one clementine consists of carbohydrates, with 8.9 grams or 3 percent of the daily value (DV), as reported by the USDA. Your body needs carbohydrates for energy to supply fuel for the proper functioning of your muscles, brain, skeletal system and tissues.
As with other citrus fruits, clementines are not a particularly good source of protein, supplying only 1 percent of the daily value or 0.6 grams per fruit. They are high in sugar, delivering 6.8 grams per fruit, but these are naturally occurring sugars and therefore, can be consumed as part of a healthy diet. Clementines also contain an insignificant amount of fat and cholesterol.
Another valuable nutritional payoff of clementines is from the fiber they deliver — one clementine supplies 5 percent of the daily value for this nutrient. Fiber is the part of food that your body can't completely digest. It travels through your stomach and intestines, adding bulk and fluid that help soften your stool and keep you regular.
Furthermore, fiber makes you feel full longer and can help prevent you from overeating, a common cause of weight gain. Note that if you juice the clementine, you won't get the same benefits as eating the whole raw fruit because its fiber content will decrease.
Read more: The Effects of Eating Too Many Oranges
Other Nutrients in Clementines
Clementines are nutrient-dense, especially in their vitamin C content. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 75 milligrams of this nutrient per day for adult women and 90 milligrams for men. Eating two clementines, each containing 36.1 milligrams of vitamin C, will provide almost 100 percent of the recommended daily value for women and 80 percent of the recommended daily value for men.
Vitamin C is important for the production of collagen, which helps with wound healing and keeps your skin healthy. It also improves the absorption of the dietary iron found in clementines, which is needed to maintain hemoglobin. Harvard Health Publishing states that fruits containing high amounts of vitamin C, which contributes to their antioxidant content, may help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and excess weight.
Clementines are also a good source of potassium, with 131 milligrams per serving providing 3 percent of the DV per fruit. This mineral helps maintain normal cell function by regulating the balance of fluids in your body. Insufficient potassium intakes may increase blood pressure and raise your risk of kidney stones and bone loss, according to the National Institutes of Health.
By eating a clementine, you supply your body with important B vitamins — riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, B6, pantothenic acid and folate — which are all necessary for proper cell metabolism and brain function as well as for a strong immune system. Clementines also provide essential minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, which all support overall health and wellbeing.
- University of Connecticut: "Biodiversity Education & Research Greenhouses"
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Comparison of Florida Oranges, California Valencia Oranges, Tangerines, and Clementines"
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Comparison of Apples, Florida Oranges, California Valencia Oranges, Tangerines, and Clementines"
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Facts for Clementines"
- Health.gov: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020: Appendix 7. Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Getting Your Five a Day"
- National Institutes of Health: "Potassium"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Dietary Fiber"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: "Citrus reticulata 'Clementine'"
- USDA Foreign Agricultural Service: "Citrus: World Markets and Trade"