It’s the time of the year again where you will see and hear about red packets, fireworks, reunion dinners, and relatives - all telltale signs of the Chinese New Year.
While red symbolizes good luck and is considered auspicious when it comes to the Lunar New Year, fruits that are orange in colour are also a vibrant colour that associates with good fortune.
To be more specific, we are speaking of the mandarin oranges, also known as tangerines. They belong to the citrus family and are similar to grapefruits, oranges, limes and lemons. It is believed that their origins are from ancient China which is how they got their name “mandarin oranges”. Compared to oranges, mandarin oranges are smaller in size, sweeter in taste and easier to peel.
When Chinese New Year is around the corner, there is always a fret about putting on weight during or after the festival when celebrants indulge food heavily.
However, there are benefits of consuming mandarin oranges. If you are worried about putting on weight, the good news is that they contain only around 47 calories for one medium sized mandarin orange. A normal person usually takes up 2,500 calories per day, meaning that consuming more mandarin oranges gives you ample benefits while keeping the calories in check.
One medium size of mandarin orange (88 grams) contains the following nutrients:
Mandarin orange is also a minor source of thiamin, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
Alright, what do those nutritional values actually mean for us?
On top of the delightful taste of mandarin oranges and how it is widely accessible, they are packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. In order to stay healthy, your body needs these elements. Here are some of the benefits you will get from eating this delicious fruit.
1. Maintain cholesterol levels
Mandarin oranges are cholesterol-free citrus fruits that help you stay healthy and maintain your diet. They consist of a good source of soluble fibre which quench your hunger and appetite long after eating.
This soluble fiber has been proven to reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol, often called the “bad” cholesterol because when accumulated, they can block the arteries and cause heart problems.
What does that mean for us?
Mandarin oranges can lower your LDL cholesterol level which helps you to decrease the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
2. Lower blood pressure
The fiber, antioxidants, and potassium in mandarin oranges can also help to manage high blood pressure. Having an optimal blood pressure is important to keep blood flow smoothly and steadily.
Potassium found in this orange fruit controls the fluid balance in the body. It aids in getting rid of the excess sodium (salt) from the kidneys which helps in reducing the tension in the blood vessel walls. The kidneys then control the blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in the body.
3. Anticancer property
Mandarin oranges have been proven to contain secondary metabolites such as limonoids, flavonoids, coumarins, phenolic acids, alkaloids, carotenoids, and essential oils. These secondary metabolites are agents in reducing cancer risk, including breast cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, blood cancer, and lung and colon tumor formation due to their active properties.
4. Antioxidant property
Likewise, tangerines have potent antioxidative properties due to their phenolic compound property with poly-hydroxyl groups. It could inhibit the reactive oxygen species pathways, participate in the process of absorption and neutralization of free radicals, and increase human antioxidant enzymes activities. All these will help in reducing inflammation.
5. Enhance eye health
Mandarin oranges have high content of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Both vitamins play a crucial role in maintaining eye health.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which is believed to maintain healthy cornea and retina function.
Eating natural foods rich in vitamin A like mandarin oranges can prevent vitamin A deficiency as well. Individuals who are chronically low in vitamin A level can encounter a condition called xerophthalmia which is the inability to see in low light, which may worsen to develop into night blindness.
Both vitamins also help in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) prevention which is an eye disease that leads to decreased vision as people age. Further evidence proves that the combination of vitamin C with other nutritional antioxidants may help to slow down AMD progression. It also helps in delaying the onset of cataracts.
6. Provide skin benefits
Because mandarin oranges is a good source of vitamin A, it can prevent skin diseases such as pimples and acnes. Vitamin A is essential for wound healing or other skin damage since it functions to rebuild damaged skin tissues. If you wish to decrease or control any skin aging symptoms such as wrinkles, fine lines or dull skin at bay, vitamin A is a great nutrient due to its anti-aging properties.
Additionally, vitamin C in mandarin oranges can help to maintain a smooth and youthful skin as it can stimulate the production of collagen in your skin. Collagen is a protein responsible for strengthening the skin,
Given the health benefits of mandarin oranges, giving them to your loved ones during the Chinese New Year is not only a symbolic way of wishing someone prosperity and happiness, but it also confers tremendous health benefits to your loved ones. It is more than a simple act of showing your gratitude to the people you love.
Although it will be different for the celebration this year, we wish everyone a pleasant and healthy Chinese New Year Celebration.
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‘Borneo Post Online’ (January 2016). Health benefits of mandarin oranges. Retrieved from https://www.theborneopost.com/2016/01/20/health-benefits-of-mandarin-oranges/#:~:text=The%20fruit%20is%20rich%20in,healing%20wounds%20and%20preventing%20cancer.&text=Watch%20out%20for%20rotten%20fruits%20and%20those%20with%20cuts.
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