Like many citrus fruits, clementines are a great source of vitamin C. Because they are a hybrid of two types of oranges — mandarin orange and sweet orange — clementines share some of the same orange benefits and orange nutrition facts.
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However, too many clementines may result in some side effects. While clementine allergy is rare, it does exist. If you are allergic to oranges, you are likely also allergic to clementines. Too many clementines may cause irritation to the throat, mouth and digestive tract. Clementines are also an acidic fruit, which can cause symptoms related to the acid content.
When consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, clementines have many health benefits due to their nutritional content. They are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Clementines Versus Other Citrus Fruits
Fruits similar to oranges often get lumped together. While clementines may share some of the orange's nutrition facts, clementines are smaller. In fact, clementines are approximately half the size of a regular orange. This means you would need to eat more clementines to reap the same orange benefits and orange nutrition contents.
Citrus fruits are often associated with vitamin C content, and clementines are no different. Though they are a small member of the mandarin orange family, clementine vitamin C content is still comparable to other citrus fruits.
Clementines are also known as seedless tangerines, which is why they are often confused with tangerines. However, these two fruits are not the same. Clementines have a thinner peel that is easier to remove. They are also shinier and sweeter than sour tangerines.
Read more: The Effects of Eating Too Many Oranges
Nutrition Profile of Clementines
Clementine vitamin C content is not the only nutritional benefit of this citrus fruit. They are naturally low in calories and fat, making them suitable for low-calorie and low-fat diets.
However, clementines are also naturally low in other vitamins and minerals. Though they are not a significant source of many nutrients, clementines are still worth snacking on for the sweet flavor and vitamin C.
According to the USDA, one regular-sized clementine contains the following nutrition:
- 35 calories
- 0.1 grams of fat
- 8.9 grams of carbohydrates
- 0.6 grams of protein
- 40 percent daily value (DV) of vitamin C
- 4 percent DV of folate
Clementines are also a great source of fiber and water content. Though clementines are high in natural sugar, this should not deter people with diabetes or people on a sugar-free diet from enjoying clementines and reaping their health benefits. People on a low-calorie diet can also consume clementines, though followers of low-carb diets may want to limit consumption.
Health Benefits of Clementines
There is a lot of overlap between the health benefits of clementines and orange benefits. For example, they are both rich in folate. You may need to eat more than one clementine for a significant amount of folate. According to Mayo Clinic, folate is an important vitamin that plays a crucial role in early pregnancy and prevention of birth defects. It is mainly found in plant-based food sources, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Clementines are also rich in the antioxidant vitamin C, which is known to fight free radical damage caused by oxidative stress. MedlinePlus recommends consuming plenty of dietary sources of vitamin C since the body can't produce or store this nutrient. Consuming vitamin C through food sources like clementines can help heal wounds, shorten periods of sickness and combat free radical activity linked to cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
There are many other health benefits associated with the clementine's vitamin C content. Vitamin C is also known to aid collagen synthesis, which can promote healthy skin. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C can also prevent skin damage due to sun exposure and UV radiation. Similar to skin health, vitamin C also helps maintain healthy gums and plays an important role in oral health.
The fiber in clementines is another benefit. Slightly more than 1 gram of fiber per clementine may not seem like a lot, but several servings throughout the day add up quickly. Fiber is crucial for digestive health, especially in preventing constipation. One of the recommended dietary shifts in the USDA Dietary Guidelines is for Americans to increase their fiber consumption. Fiber is one of the nutrients that many Americans do not get enough of.
Side Effects of Clementines
There is a lot to like about clementines. They are sweet, low in calories and easy to transport for a quick to-go snack. However, too much of nearly anything can yield some side effects. In the case of clementines, too much citrus may negatively affect some people.
Some people may have allergic reactions to clementines. If you experience citrus allergies, you are more likely to react negatively to eating clementines. A subset of individuals with citrus allergies have skin reactions whereas others experience nausea or diarrhea.
Many of the side effects of clementines have to do with the pollen surrounding the citrus fruit rather than the clementines themselves. Sensitivity to pollen is called pollinosis (aka hay fever). According to a January 2013 study published in PLoS One, pollinosis occurs when cross-reactivity of plants leads to sensitivity and allergies to citrus fruits. With respiratory conditions and food allergies affecting millions of people, pollinosis is another cause of food sensitivity among some people. This can lead to dietary restrictions of citrus fruits, including clementines.
Clementines are also an acidic fruit, much like the other members of the orange family. The high acid content in clementines can also cause discomfort. Acidic foods can erode tooth enamel as well as upset the stomach.
Read more: Lemon Juice and Hot Water for Weight Loss
Should You Eat Clementines?
Many foods have unwanted side effects though they also have advantageous health benefits. The key to consuming clementines is to eat them in moderation. Due to the sweet flavor, you may be tempted to eat several clementines at a time. Reserve clementines for snacking.
If you have food allergies to citrus fruits or must follow a low-acid diet, you may want to avoid clementines or limit consumption. You should also avoid clementines if they interact with any medications you may be taking. Certain citrus fruits, especially grapefruit, have been known to interact with many medications.
Clementines are a smaller and lower calorie version of the orange, though they still pack a vitamin C punch. There are many reasons why you would want to consume clementines. As long as you are mindful of the potential side effects, you should enjoy clementines in moderation.