Clementine vs. Orange — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison
Oranges are richer in calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and fiber, while clementines are higher in phosphorus and vitamin B3.
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Do you ever feel the coming of Christmas time with the smell of clementines? There’s a chance that the scent of clementines subconsciously reminds you of Christmas since their ripening season is from November to February.
On the other hand, you can find oranges almost all year round. Although clementine belongs to the orange family, they are not the same. At first sight, clementine may seem like a tiny orange, but they are two different types of citruses.
Clementine is smaller than orange, sweeter, and rounded with thinner, easy-to-peel skin. Besides, it is worth mentioning that clementine has sterility since it is a hybrid type. In other words, it is seedless.
Clementines are well-known for their sweet flavor. When compared to the orange varietals, which are usually tart, clementines are noticeably sweeter.
In an effort to avoid any confusion, let’s try to find out their differences and similarities.
From the very start, it is necessary to point out that there are no significant differences between oranges and clementines in nutritional content, as both are citrus fruits that belong to the same genus.
They have very similar nutrition values.
Both are good sources of dietary fiber, and have same calories number. However, orange is higher in fiber. On the other hand, clementine is lower in cholesterol and sugars.
As indicated in the charts of comparison below, in terms of vitamins, orange is the winner. It is higher in vitamin A, vitamin B2, and vitamin B5 and slightly higher in vitamin C, vitamins B1, and B9.
Clementine, however, is considerably higher in vitamin B3 and somewhat higher in vitamin B6 and vitamin E.
Orange is higher in calcium, potassium, and copper, while clementine is higher in iron and phosphorus.
Orange is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber has many beneficial effects on health. First of all, it improves our digestive health, contributes to weight loss, and lowers cholesterol and sugar levels in the blood, decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and several gastrointestinal illnesses (1).
Both orange and clementine, like most citruses, are rich sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C, above all, prevents the pathological state called scurvy. It has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and immune-boosting properties (3).
Due to its antioxidant properties, vitamin C also has anti-cancer properties. According to one study, high levels of vitamin C, equal to around 300 oranges, have impaired the growth of BRAF and KRAS mutant colorectal tumors. These tumors are considered to be the most aggressive types and do not respond to chemotherapy in a proper way (4). Before passing on the next question, I would like to dwell on the fact that vitamin C also prevents iron deficiency anemia together with citric acid by increasing iron absorption from the digestive tract.
Additionally, oranges have antioxidant properties due to a higher content of vitamin A and other antioxidants called flavonoids. An orange a day keeps macular degeneration away. According to one study, people who regularly eat oranges have a lower risk of macular degeneration development than those who do not eat oranges (2). The exclusivity of this research is that they have linked the low risk of macular degeneration not only with vitamins C, E, and A but also with flavonoids.
Oranges are also higher in folate (vitamin B9), which is essential for the correct formation of germ cells and the embryo’s brain, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. Moreover, it protects our blood vessels from damage and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques that can result from increased homocysteine levels during folate acid deficiencies (6).
Other Health Benefits
Oranges, richer in calcium and potassium, can contribute to bone and heart health. As a crucial component of body cells and fluids, potassium controls blood pressure. In this connection, it should be noted that oranges contain more citric acid and citrates, particularly potassium citrate, which are believed to prevent the formation of kidney stones (5).
On top of everything else, owing to its rejuvenating and pain-relieving features, clementine oil is widely used in aromatherapy to ensure restful sleep. A massage with clementine oil is said to get rid of stress, improve mood and give mental clarity (6).
Oranges originated in either China or India, where they were named “Chinese apples.” The first mention of oranges in ancient texts dates back to approximately 2200 B.C. (7). The first orange was brought to America in 1493 by Christopher Columbus.
Clementines were developed in Algeria in 1902 by French missionary Father Clement Rodier and named after him. It is a hybrid between sweet orange and mandarin orange; in 1925, Corsicans started to cultivate it.
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Glycemic Index|
|Rich in minerals|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Cholesterol|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in price|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||11µg|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet||Equal|
|Low Glycemic Index diet|
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Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.
- Clementine - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168195/nutrients
- Orange - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169097/nutrients
All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.