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Clementines, a cross between a Chinese mandarin and a sweet orange, are the smallest of the mandarins. Although similar in appearance to a tangerine, they are an entirely different variety of fruit with their own distinct taste.
Clementines were first brought to the U.S. in 1982. They were imported along with oranges from Europe at that time to replace the many oranges lost in Florida from a devastating freeze. Since then, these little and normally seedless fruits have gained popularity. They are not only tasty, they are highly nutritious and can benefits one's health.
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There are only 34.8 calories in a clementine (74 grams). About 32 calories are from carbohydrates, 2 from protein and 1 from fat.
Carbohydrate is the ideal fuel for the body. There are 8.9 grams of carbohydrates in one clementine, 3 percent of the daily value (DV). 6.8 grams are from simple sugars, including sucrose, fructose and glucose. Unlike sugar in a candy bar, the sugars in citrus fruits are digested more slowly which allow energy levels to last longer. Eating one clementine will also provide 1.3 grams of fiber, 5 percent DV. Fiber has multiple health benefits but unfortunately most Americans do not even get close to meeting the recommended doses.
The clementine is not a good source of protein. One fruit has 0.6 grams, 1 percent DV.
This is a perfect snack for those watching fat intake. With only 0.1 grams of fat, it is considered 0 percent DV.
Clementines are cholesterol free.
Clementines are an excellent source of vitamin C. One small fruit contains 36.1 milligrams, 60 percent DV. Vitamin C is a water soluble antioxidant, is essential for the production and maintenance of collagen, protects against infections and promotes the absorption of iron. Other vitamins include folate (17.8 mcg - 4%), thiamin (0.1 mg - 4%), vitamin B6 (0.1 mg - 3%), niacin (0.5 mg - 2%), vitamin E (0.1 mg - 1%) and pantothenic acid (0.1 mg - 1%).
One clementine has 131 milligrams of potassium, 4 percent DV. Potassium is critical to maintaining the heartbeat and is easily depleted during profuse sweating, diarrhea, vomiting and increased urination. People taking diuretics can benefit from eating foods containing potassium. Other minerals include calcium (22.2 mg - 2%), magnesium (7.4 mg - 2%), phosphorus (15.5 mg - 2%) and iron (0.1 mg - 1%).
Note: Daily values may be higher or lower based on individual needs.
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Buying & Storing
Now that you know about clementine nutrition information, start including them in your diet. To get the most benefits, the fruit should be fresh and organic. It should be shiny and heavy in the hand for its size. Choose those that smell good and don't feel puffy, or have a feeling of space between the rind and flesh. Avoid shriveled fruit and those with spots and white patches.
At room temperature, clementines can last about 3 days. In the refrigerator, they can last about 1 to 2 weeks when placed in a plastic bag or in the crisper drawer.
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Produce Pete: Clementines - http://www.producepete.com/shows/clementines.html
Self Nutrition Data: Clementines, raw - http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/9169/2
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Image courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clementines_whole,_peeled,_half_and_sectioned.jpg