Clementine's might look like tiny oranges, but they are actually a hybrid fruit made from a cross between a mandarin and an orange. The clementine is believed to have been discovered by French missionaries in Algeria during the early twentieth century. Its delicious taste, seedless flesh, and being easy to peel has helped it gain great popularity over the years.
Also known as Christmas oranges, clementine’s are sold between November and January. They are mostly grown in California, Morocco, and Spain which provide a hot and dry environment suitable for production. Their sweet taste, lower acidity level, and high nutrient value compliment many recipes and are a good addition to many meals.
At 35 calories each, clementine’s are a rich source of potassium, fiber, and folate. One clementine provides 40% of daily Vitamin C requirements. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which destroys free radicals that form in the body after coming into contact with pollutants such as cigarette smoke and pesticides.
Clementine’s contain many other bioactive compounds that can fight disease. All citrus fruit, including clementine’s, contain flavonoids which can decrease the risk of stroke, heart disease, and some cancers.
According to the National Cancer Institute high doses of Vitamin C may slow the growth and spread of prostate, pancreatic, liver, colon, and other types of cancer cells.
Some animal studies have shown Vitamin C blocking tumor growth and some human studies have shown Vitamin C improving mental, physical, and emotional functions in cancer patients. However, not all studies combining Vitamin C and cancer therapy have shown benefit. Eating foods rich in Vitamin C is recommended while the benefit of supplements continues to be researched.
Clementine’s are very portable and can pair well with other foods such as 7 walnuts for a 130 calorie protein and fiber rich snack. Adding them to plain nonfat yogurt or tossing them into a salad are delicious options too.