Are Clementines Healthy for You?

Whether you're looking for a sweet yet healthy snack option or you need to add a boost of vitamin C to your diet, clementines do the job. For just 35 fat-free calories, one clementine delivers more than half of your daily value for vitamin C. Clementines contain magnesium, potassium and B vitamins, but not enough to qualify as a good source, primarily because they're such small fruit.

Basket of clementines (Image: Nolonely/iStock/Getty Images)

Size Versus Nutrients

The Center for New Crops and Plant Products at Purdue University describes clementines as medium-sized members of the mandarin orange family, but since mandarins are small, clementines end up being half the size of a regular orange. The size is important for comparing the nutrients in clementines to other citrus fruits. While one clementine contains a small amount of most nutrients, two clementines have about the same nutritional value as one navel orange, providing 4 to 8 percent of the daily value for nine vitamins and minerals.

Excellent Source of Vitamin C

Clementines pack a punch when it comes to vitamin C. Just one clementine contains 36 milligrams, which is 60 percent of your daily value for vitamin C. Whether working as an antioxidant or synthesizing essential substances, such as collagen and neurotransmitters, vitamin C has quite an impact on your health. As an antioxidant, it protects cells, proteins, fats, carbs and DNA from damage caused by free radicals. Your skin depends on vitamin C to protect its cells from free radicals formed in response to sunlight. It's essential for the synthesis of the connective tissue collagen, which supports tendons, your skin, blood vessels, bones and tissues throughout your body.

Essential Dietary Fiber

The recommended daily intake for fiber is based on the amount you need to protect against cardiovascular disease, according to the Institute of Medicine. Of the two types of fiber -- soluble and insoluble -- it's the soluble fiber that protects your heart by helping to lower levels of cholesterol. In addition to soluble fiber, clementines also provide insoluble fiber, which helps prevent constipation and diverticular disease. The daily adequate intake for women is 25 grams, while men need to consume 38 grams of fiber daily. One clementine contains 1.3 grams of fiber, or 5 percent of the daily value.

B Vitamins for Heart Protection

Two of the B vitamins you'll get from eating a clementine -- vitamin B-6 and folate -- contribute to your cardiovascular health. Both of these vitamins metabolize an amino acid called homocysteine into two other protein-building amino acids. When you don't have enough vitamin B-6 or folate, the levels of homocysteine circulating in your bloodstream increase. High levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease because the amino acid damages your blood vessels, according to One clementine supplies 3 percent of your daily value of vitamin B-6 and 4 percent of folate.

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