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By Rosa Guerrero and Montse Tapia
This juicy and tasty citrus fruit provides vitamins that strengthen the defenses and improve circulation. Its aroma captivates and invites you to experiment in the kitchen.
The first tangerines of autumn, with their skin still mottled green, herald the arrival of cold. And what better time to eat them than these months when the body needs more of its richness in antioxidant vitamins. They are the ideal counterpoint to the rigors of winter and Christmas tables. Its pleasant sweetness, its low degree of acidity and the softness of its pulp make this citrus one of the most popular fruits in the world. They are also so easy to peel and eat that they have become one of the favorite fruits of children.
Ally of the defenses
Traditional Chinese medicine already considered the mandarin a matter of the first order to preserve health. In practice, its properties are similar to those of the orange, since it has similar nutrients. It is anti-infective, blood thinner, hypotensive, antiallergic, remineralizing, cleansing and cancer prevention. Due to its ease of use and good digestive tolerance, it is especially appropriate for children and the elderly. Some of its most prominent applications are:
# Defenses. Taking about four tangerines a day is a good antioxidant and defenses stimulant supplement, especially thanks to its richness in vitamin C. It helps prevent flu and colds, as well as cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
# Iron deficiency anemia. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron and promotes the production of red blood cells.
# Hypertension and cholesterol. Its rich in potassium acts as a natural diuretic, while flavonoids protect the walls of blood vessels and pectin helps reduce harmful cholesterol (LDL).
# Constipation. Mandarin orange is a natural source of fiber, which is found in the white pulp under the skin and between the segments. This substance stimulates intestinal motility and reduces the absorption of fats and toxic substances.
# Pregnant women and athletes. Folic acid and vitamin C are essential in the processes of cell division in the first months of gestation. On the other hand, the variety of nutrients in this fruit helps to replace the liquid and minerals lost after exercise.
# Hyperuricemia. The high content of water, potassium and citric acid produce a diuretic effect that favors the elimination of uric acid and its salts.
# Urinary disorders. In addition to increasing the body's defenses, it alkalizes the urine and inhibits the proliferation of infections in the urinary tract. But people with a tendency to kidney stones should control their consumption, since it contains oxalic acid, which can form salts with calcium and promote the formation of stones.
A surprise in the kitchen
The intense orange color of mandarins stimulates even before eating them. The best way to take advantage of its flavor and qualities is, as in other fruits, consuming them raw, preferably between meals or before them. But mandarins can bring great surprises due to their great versatility and offer the cook the pleasant opportunity to innovate in the dishes.
Apart from the segments, delicious and highly decorative, of the mandarin you can take advantage of the peel, the juice and even the leaves in infusion.
Purchase and conservation
When buying them, pay attention to the weight: the heavier for their size, the fresher and juicier they are. An intense color and reddish tones indicates that they are ripe and that they are sweeter. The skin should not be wrinkled.
Tangerine holds up well at room temperature in a cool place, but in a refrigerator that reaches 5ºC it can be kept for up to a month. In any case, it is always preferable to consume it as fresh as possible.
Rosa Guerrero and Montse Tapia