Marvellous mandarins – 7 great reasons to enjoy them
April is the start of mandarin season in Queensland. If you haven't yet discovered the delights of this easy-peeling, portable snack, these seven health benefits should be enough to earn mandarins their rightful place in your breakfast and in your lunchbox right through to October.
1. Prevent disease
Mandarins boast one of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit. The flavanoids hesperetin and naringenin lower bad cholesterol levels and help to protect the body against serious degenerative conditions, including certain forms of cancers and heart disease. The carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin also help to protect the retina against age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration.
2. Fight cold and flu
Autumn may bring milder temperatures, but it's also when the flu season rears its ugly head. Mandarins are one of the best natural defences against cold and flu infections, with one cup of mandarin segments providing 28% of your body's recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Mandarins contain 40% more of this vital vitamin than apples and 30% more than bananas.
3. Improve digestion
One cup of mandarin segments contains around 1.8 grams of fibre, equivalent to 5% of the recommended daily fibre intake for men and 7% for women. Fibre isn't only beneficial for easing bowel movements and preventing gastrointestinal problems, but also for improving levels of 'good' cholesterol in the body and lowering your risk of heart disease.
4. Lose weight
If you're trying to lose weight, give mandarins a try. This fruit is low in fat and cholesterol but still packed with nutrients that will keep you feeling full while shrinking your waistline. Low in salt and high in potassium, mandarins can also help to lower blood pressure.
5. Protect baby
Mandarins are recommended for pregnant women, as their high levels of B-vitamin complexes such as folate and folic acid help to ensure a healthy birth weight, as well as protecting prenatal babies against neural tube defects that can result in conditions such as spina bifida.
6. Strengthen bones
Mandarins contain all three essential minerals for building strong bones and teeth throughout your life. Calcium and phosphorus work together as hydroxyapatite to replace old and damaged bone and to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis. Magnesium helps to regulate the hydroxyapatite flow and activates crucial enzymes for bone production.
7. Boost your brain
Healthy for body and mind, mandarins contain high levels of the antioxidant polyphenol, which has been shown to enhance brain activity in kids and adults alike. The presence of folate has been found to reduce the effects of Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive conditions in the elderly, while potassium has been linked with improved blood flow to the brain. If that isn't enough, mandarins also contain vitamin B6 which helps to reduce feelings of depression and nausea.
Find fresh mandarins in Coolangatta
Pick up juicy mandarins grown locally in Queensland by browsing the fresh food retailers at The Strand Coolangatta.