Clementine: nutrition facts and health benefits


This fruit is a cross between a mandarin and a bigaradier (bitter orange). Its skin is thin and orange-green. The flesh is juicy and tart (but less fragrant than mandarin), and usually seedless.

The first, bekria specie, arrive in Morocco in September. Follow the clementine of Monreal (from Spain) and the ordinary clementine (the Morocco and Spain) which contain seeds. Fines (Spain and Corsica) and the nules oroval (of Spain) finish the season until February.

History of the clementine and the tangerine


Originally from Southeast Asia, China and perhaps the Philippines, the mandarin is the most diverse species of citrus. It was known in China and Japan for a long time: a work from 1178 mentions a few distinct varieties, which indicates an ancient culture. It will end up in Europe and America only in the 19th century, making its entry rather timidly, on the initiative of a few individuals who imported plants.

Thus, around 1840, a mandarine was imported from China by the Italian consul stationed in the United States. It was planted on the grounds of the consulate in New Orleans. From there, it will spread to Florida and later in California. In 1876, the first Satsuma mandarin (born in Japan 400 years ago) was imported to the United States. A few decades later, it was followed by a million of young grafted trees to be planted in the States bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Finally, the fruits of various other varieties will be imported from China and India. It is sowing their seeds will be established at the United States vast orchards, unfortunately destroyed a few times by severe frosts.

The clementine, created in Algeria in 1902, has quickly made its entry into Europe and North America. In Corsica, which offers a climate particularly conducive to this kind of fruit, culture has become important. The french center for research on citrus is also established in this island.

The essential oil extracted from the bark of the mandarin and the essence of small grain – fired leaves, palm and immature fruit – are used in the food industry to flavor candy, gelatin, ice cream, bubble gum, pastries, soft drinks and liquors. These species brings many jobs in perfumery.

Mandarin and its cousins are produced mostly in Spain, in Japan, China, Brazil, Korea, Italy, Morocco and in other Mediterranean countries. Consumers enjoying them more and more, their production is growing almost everywhere in the world.

The clementine and the tangerine health profile

The Mandarin and the tangerine are citrus fruit of the species Citrus reticulata. The clementine, on the other hand, is a variety of tangerine. Like all citrus fruits, are good sources of vitamin C and antioxidants. Their content in soluble fiber help to lower blood cholesterol.

The benefits of the clementine and the tangerine

Cancer (prevention). Several studies have shown that consumption of citrus would be connected to the prevention of certain types of cancers such as the cancer of esophagus, the stomach, the colon as well as the mouth and pharynx cancer. According to one of the study, a moderate consumption of citrus (either 1 to 4 servings a week) would reduce the risk of cancers related to the digestive tract and the upper part of the respiratory system. Specifically, with regard to pancreatic cancer, studies however remain controversial.

A population-based study suggests that daily consumption of citrus combined with high consumption of green tea (1 cup or more per day) would be associated with a stronger decrease in the incidence of the cancers.

Cancer (slow). Antioxidant compounds contained in citrus (the limonoids) have shown anticancer effects in vitro or in animal models. They could reduce the proliferation of cancer cells of the breast, stomach, lung, mouth and colon.

Blood lipids. Many studies have shown that consumption of citrus would be generally related to cardiovascular disease prevention. Studies on animal models have demonstrated that consumption of orange, grapefruit and tangerine juice or flavonoids extracted from these fruits decreased the cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, in addition to preventing the process leading to atherosclerosis. Another study conducted among women revealed that regular consumption of tangerines in winter would positively affect the lipid checkup. Among children with high cholesterol, mandarine juice (500 ml or 2 cups per day) would reduce the oxidation of lipids and proteins in the blood and improve the antioxidant status.

Bone health. The beta-cryptoxanthin, the main carotenoid content in mandarin and clementine could prevent bone loss among animals, in addition to stimulating the proliferation of bone cells. A study has shown that giving beta-cryptoxanthin among animals increased calcium content and improved bone mineralization. Among humans, the link between blood levels of beta-cryptoxanthin and beta carotene, and bone mass, has been shown among postmenopausel women. On the other hand, it has been observed that women with high blood levels of carotenoids were less impact about osteoporosis. Finally, the hesperetin, a typical citrus flavonoid could prevent bone loss.

Inflammation. Several studies have shown that flavonoids from citrus have anti-inflammatory properties. They inhibit the synthesis and activity of mediators involved in inflammation (derived from the acid, arachidonic, prostaglandin E2, F2 and thromboxanes A2).

Other effects. Among other observed effects, two compounds in citrus (the limonine and the nomiline) inhibit the replication of the virus of human immunodeficiency (HIV), in addition to inhibit the activity of the protease of the virus. The nomiline and other limonoids (of the compounds of the same family) would improve the immune system among animals. These results are promising, but have not been controlled in clinical studies. It is therefore impossible at this time to transpose these effects among humans. Finally, consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin, present in citrus, could reduce the risk of extreme cataracts .

Several forward-looking and epidemiological studies have shown that a high fruit and vegetable consumption reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases, some cancers and other chronic diseases.

What does contain clementine and tangerine?

A study to compare the nutritional value of several types of citrins fruit has shown that mandarin contained a little more vitamin A and slightly less vitamin C than the clementine. Their content of flavonoids was relatively equivalent. In fact, these two fruits were given an excellent status in flavonoids and carotenoids compared to various varieties of oranges also evaluated.


The clementine and the tangerine contain different types of flavonoids, which the main ones are the nobiletine and the hesperetin and the tangeretine (only in the tangerine). Tangerine juice would contain more polyphenols (including flavonoids) the juice of grapefruit or orange. In general, citrus flavonoids demonstrate several anticancer effects in vitro and among animals. The tangeretine and the nobiletine are part of the class of the polymethoxyflavone, recognized compounds for their antiproliferative activity. They prevent the multiplication of cancer cells in vitro, which could prove interesting effects as a potential anticancer agent for humans.

The nobiletine of the tangerine would possess an anti-inflammatory in vitro potential, which makes it an interesting compound for new treatments. The antioxidant activity of the nobiletine would be equivalent to the red wine polyphenols.

The tangeretine would have the property to reach the brain and thus to protect the integrity of the neuronales cells, which is interesting for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The tangeretine would also play a role in the metabolism of the lipides, a potential therapeutic to be examined in future studies.

The hesperetin would be more abundant in the clementine and the tangerine in several varieties of oranges. In addition to preventing bone loss, a diet enriched in hesperetin would decrease lipids in the blood and the liver among the animal. To date, this effect has however not been verified among humans.


The main limonoids in citrus are the limonine and the nomiline. They are mainly found in the seeds, but also in the juice, the peel and pulp of citrus fruits (including mandarin and the tangerine). Citrus limonoids content increases with the maturity of the fruit. These compounds would possess a certain antioxidant capacity. They could also lead to apoptosis of neuroblastic cells (embryonic nerve cells, is then differentiating into neurons). The limonine as well as any other present limonoids in citrus juice would have the property to reduce blood cholesterol among animals.

Other studies suggest the citrus limonoids could prevent certain types of cancer among animals. For example, the obacunone, a type of limonoide, has proved to decrease the incidence of colon tumours and decreased the number of mouth tumours. However, at the moment there is no data for a similar effect among humans.


The main carotenoid pigment of mandarin and clementine is the beta-cryptoxanthine. These two citrus as well as the tangerine contain beta-cryptoxanthine in larger quantities than many other varieties of oranges. Several carotenoids are precursors of vitamin A, which means the body turns them into this vitamin needs. In addition, carotenoids are compounds with antioxidant properties, which means they are able to neutralize free radicals in the body. Consumption of foods ricn in carotenoid would be linked to a lower risk of many illnesses, for example, cancer and cardiovascular diseases (although some studies on this subject are controversial).

Consumption of tangerines (as well as carrots, a vegetable that is known for its high carotenoid content) could also influence the repair of DNA damaged by oxidative stress, a mechanism helping the reduction of cancers. Studies have shown higher the consumption of beta-cryptoxanthin, lower would be the risk of inflammatory disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis) or lung cancer. Tangerine juice enriched with beta-cryptoxanthin, taken with a carotenoids supplement, would decrease the risk of liver cancer.

It would seem that the combination of different carotenoids, such as those found in oranges and clementines, are more effective to reduce the risk of cancer as a single carotenoid intake. Citrus fruits also contain significant amounts of other carotenoids, such as zeaxanthin, lutein, beta and alpha-carotene.

Soluble fiber

In general, citrus fruits are rich in soluble fiber, mainly in pectin found mainly in the skin and the white membrane around the flesh (albedo). By their ability to lower blood cholesterol, soluble fiber, in general, would prevent the impact of cardiovascular diseases. Regular consumption of clementine and mandarin or tangerine is a simple way to increase total fibre and soluble fibre intake.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C would provide 46% of the antioxidant capacity of tangerine juice. Researchers have found that people eating oranges or tangerines at least 1 time per week have much lower risk of suffering nasopharynx cancer compared to people eating them less than 1 time per month. The active compounds affected by this effect are not identified, but the authors assume that vitamin C could play a role in blocking the formation of carcinogenic compounds.


Ingestion of antacid drugs and citrus is to be avoided since these increase the absorption of aluminum in antacids. It is recommended to space out 3 hours taking antacids and fruit or citrins juice.

Citrins fruits, such as clementines, oranges or tangerines, should be avoided for people with gastro-oesophagien backward flow, peptic esophagitis and hiatal hernia symptoms. They can cause irritation of the mucosa of the esophagus or burning problems.

Selection and conservation



Although it is possible to find mandarins and tangerines virtually year-round, these fruits are mainly offered in winter, especially around Christmas and New Year. Choose undamaged, firm, heavy, well coloured fruits without soft parts which is a signs of rot. Canned tangerine is available year-round in grocery stores.


Mandarin and its hybrids can be kept shorter than other citrus. One week at room temperature, 2 weeks in the refrigerator drawer.


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