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Tangerine vs. Orange: Difference, Benefits, More | Man Matters

Tangerines and oranges fall under the citrus category of fruits that look similar. This article will explore all the details of tangerine vs. orange.

8 min read
Tangerine vs. Orange: Difference, Benefits, More | Man Matters

"It is delicious, sweet, citrusy, fresh, and nutritious. Oh, it's an orange, No no, it's a tangerine." It is easy to confuse oranges with tangerines. Similar in appearance, both belong to the citrus fruit family.

But what is the difference between tangerines and oranges? Technically, they are different species of the citrus genus and have many other differences. Let's look into the differences between tangerines and oranges.

Origins Of Tangerines And Oranges

Tangerines are one of the varieties of mandarin oranges, falling under the red to orange-colored fruit group. It is an indigenous fruit of Southeast Asia. However, it spread westward through trade routes to the Mediterranean.

Tangerines were first grown in the 1800s in Palatka, Florida, by Major Attaway, imported from Morocco's Tangier port. Subtropical regions are ideal for tangerine cultivation, including the Southern United States and southern Europe.

When analysing the difference between tangerines and oranges, orange originated from Asia, modern Southeast China. It is the sweet species of an orange tree, a hybrid of mandarin and pomelo. It has been cultivated for 7000 years in China and India, typically from 2500 BC. However, oranges are widely grown in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California.

Around 100 BC, traders from the Persian empire bought oranges from Ceylon and India to the Roman Empire. Further, Romans grew oranges on the conquered lands of North Africa. Consequently, the growth of oranges spread to Spain and Morocco.

Nutritional Content Of Tangerines vs. Oranges

Nutritional content is the vital point of difference between tangerine vs. orange. Let's take a look at their nutrient composition separately.

A whole tangerine contains approx 85% of water and mostly carbs. However, a medium-sized orange has approx 87% water. Here is the nutritional comparison of tangerine vs. orange while taking 100 g or 3.5-ounce portions of both.

Oranges do not contain any added sugar. It has a minimal glycemic effect of about 40, inhibiting the blood sugar from rising. Tangerines contain natural sugars like fructose, sucrose, and glucose. Its glycemic index is 47, which stabilises the blood sugar level.

Despite almost similar nutrient composition, the basic difference between tangerines and oranges is Vitamin C content. Oranges have approximately double Vitamin C than the tangerines.

Oranges can be a good source of advantageous carbohydrates as it has more fibre than tangerines. Vitamin A content in tangerines is higher than the oranges.

Their Appearances Differ

Although there is a close similarity between oranges and tangerines, there are many differentiating points of tangerine vs. orange. Let's check out their differences in appearance.

  • Shape and size: Oranges have various varieties, due to which their shapes and sizes vary. However, if you follow the rule of thumb, oranges (especially the sweet navel orange) tend to be rounder and bigger. However, tangerines are smaller and flattened.
  • Peelability: Although both are thin-skinned, tangerines have a loose rind that makes them easy to peel.
  • Touch: When fully ripe, oranges become heavy and firm, while tangerines are softer to touch.
  • Colour: Although their colour is orange, their shades vary. Tangerines have a reddish-orange tone, while oranges have a yellowish-orange shade. However, the exception here is blood oranges having dark red colour.

Their Flavours Vary Slightly

Although both have an almost similar nutrient profile, flavours of tangerine vs. orange vary.

  • Oranges are more acidic, having a pH value of 2.4 than tangerines having a pH value of 3.0.
  • The flavour of tangerines has a sweeter, less tangy flavour than oranges.
  • The after-taste of tangerine is shorter than the oranges.

Tangerines Are Comparatively Easier to Peel

The main differentiating point of tangerine vs. orange is their rinds, allowing easy peeling. Oranges have tighter skin, which makes it a bit difficult to peel than tangerines. The loose and thin skin of tangerine makes it comparatively easier to peel than oranges.

Health Benefits Of Tangerines

Tangerines are a popular citrus fruit providing a sweet and tangy flavour. Apart from authentic flavour, tangerines provide several benefits. They are;

1. Effective for Good Eye Health

When considering the nutrient profile of tangerine vs. orange, tangerines have high Vitamin A content. With ageing, particularly above 60 years, one often undergoes macular degeneration. It is the main reason behind the loss of vision.

A sufficient amount of Vitamin A and C in tangerines helps delay vision loss. It even helps delay the early onset of macular degeneration that often causes vision loss. Moreover, the natural antioxidants keep the eye healthy.

2. Help Treat Skin Conditions

Vitamin C content in tangerine enhances collagen production, responsible for keeping the skin healthy. Studies show that Collagen is an abundant protein that provides stability, structure, and strength to connective tissues.

The collagen content in the body decreases with ageing. However, the Vitamin C content boosts collagen synthesis. Collagen helps enhance wound healing and even reduce ageing signs, like wrinkles.

Moreover, an ample amount of Vitamin A in tangerines helps treat various skin conditions including, pimples, blemishes, and acne. Vitamin A promotes the skin to rebuild the tissues, helping with the fine lines and dull skin.

3. Effective in Weight Loss

Tangerines help with your weight loss as it enhances the daily fibre intake. The insoluble fibre in tangerines does not ferment in the intestine, like lignin and cellulose. Such fibres keep you satiated for long, giving the feeling of fullness.

Research even shows that high fibre intake maintains body weight or prevents the body from regaining weight as compared to those who consume less fibrous foods.

4. Contains Antispasmodic Feature

Spasms have a negative impact and cause several health complications. It may affect the digestive system, respiratory system, and nervous system. Further, it may cause breathing problems, congestion, and even asthma. Tangerines provide an antispasmodic effect that relieves spasms, ensuring their effective functioning.

5. Help Make Bones Stronger

Vitamin C and potassium in tangerines help enhance bone density. It also helps fight against skin disease and arthritis.

6. Supports Heart Health

Some antioxidants in tangerines like nobiletin and tangeretin promote heart health. Vitamin C content helps reduce platelet aggregation and blood pressure. Hence, it helps lower bad cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels.

Further, it reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition when plaque buildup causes the narrowing of arteries. It is one of the causes of stroke and heart attack.

7. Enhances Iron Absorption

Tangerines play an optimum role in enhancing iron absorption from food. Vitamin C content in tangerines along with iron from other food syncs up. As a result, it boosts the iron-absorbing capacity of the body.

Lack of iron makes one less energetic, causing one to feel tired, have paler skin or dark circles under the eyes. Consuming tangerine reduces iron deficiency in the body while enhancing its absorption.

8. Boosts Hair Growth

Vitamin B 12 in tangerines promotes hair growth and slows down the greying process. Consuming tangerines or using tangerine-based hair products would double your hair-nourishing efforts.

Health Benefits Of Oranges

Vitamin C content is the first thing that pops into our mind when we talk about tangerine vs. orange benefits. However, many productive nutrients and antioxidants in oranges provide tons of benefits. Here are a few benefits of consuming oranges:

1. Loaded With Gut and Health-oriented Fibre

A medium-sized orange offers around 3 grams of fibre, contributing to 12% of the daily fibre intake. Fibre present in oranges promotes digestive function. It has both soluble and insoluble fibres that help prevent irritable gut disorder. It even helps deal with constipation and other digestive disorders.

2. Help Lower Blood Pressure and Control Blood Sugar Level

Oranges contain magnesium and hesperidin that help control blood pressure. Moreover, it even has plenty of Vitamin B6 that promotes the production of haemoglobin.

The fibre content in oranges monitors glucose levels. It has a natural sugar called fructose that prevents the blood sugar level from hiking. Moreover, the GI or Glycemic Index of oranges is 40. The food falling under 50 GI contains low sugar.

However, low GI does not mean you consume too many oranges at a time. It may lead to a sudden spike in insulin. Moderate consumption would be ideal for retaining blood sugar levels.

3. Boosts Heart Health

Citrus fruits, like orange, lower the risk of heart disorder. But how's that possible? It reduces the risk of ischaemic stroke in women. Some antioxidants like hesperidin and folate help keep the heart-healthy.

The citrus peels of oranges contain some compounds, like PMF or Polymethoxylated Flavones, that help brings down the cholesterol level. However, make sure you choose organic oranges that aren't treated with pesticides.

4. Help Prevent Cancer

According to one of the studies of the American Journal of Epidemiology, giving orange or fresh orange juice in the starting two years decreases the risk of increasing childhood leukaemia.

Being an excellent source of Vitamin C, consuming orange helps combat the free radicals that cause cancer. D-limonene in oranges also helps limit the growth of cellular breakdown. Its regular consumption reduces the risk of skin, lung, colon, and breast cancer.

5. Rich in Antioxidants

Oranges have a high amount of antioxidants that prevent the growth of free radicals. Free radicals cause unwanted oxidation in the body. Further, these oxidative reactions lead to disease development and inflammatory disorders.

Moreover, oxidative stress causes an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body's ability to counterbalance the harmful effects. The flavonoids and polyphenols also help deal with viral infections.

6. Oranges Are Rich in Water

Approximately 70% of the human body contains water. Water is the basic necessity to ensure the proper functioning of the organs and organ system. A medium-sized orange provides approximately 4 ounces of water.

Moreover, women above 19 years require approximately 2.7 litres of fluid daily. Water-rich foods, like oranges, help contribute to this daily requirement. Appropriate fluid intake supports physical and mental energy, enhances circulation, ensures easy flushing out waste, and maximises metabolism.

How To Eat And Enjoy Them

Despite different tangerine vs. orange benefits, how you consume it and enjoy eating matters the most. Here are some ways you can eat and enjoy tangerine and oranges:

  • Fruit salad: The best way to enjoy them is simply peeling and having them. It is a healthy dessert or snack option, keeping satiated for long.
  • Choco dipped tangerines: Enhance the taste of tangerines while dipping half slice into a chocolate sauce. You can also try the orange in the same way.
  • Salsa: Grilled chicken or fish, when topped with orange salsa, looks lucrative and enhances the flavour. The best way is to combine the orange zest, tomato, cilantro, chopped onions, finely chopped orange, walnuts, lime juice, and green onion. It gives a crunchy and tangy taste, elevating the flavour of grilled chicken.
  • Fruit Kebabs: Take peeled orange wedges, grapes, bananas, strawberries, sliced pineapple. Insert each slice into a wooden stick. Your fruit kebab is ready. However, dipping it in low-fat yoghurt or chocolate sauce will elevate its taste.
  • Popsicles: Enjoying orange or tangerine popsicles is the best way to satiate your sweet and candy cravings. Make it while mixing the orange gelatin or agar-agar into an orange juice and pour into a popsicle mould. Keep it in the refrigerator until it gets firm.
  • Cakes: Bake orange zest cake or tangerine cakes at home and top it with freshly cut orange or tangerine slices.

Eating tangerines and oranges while just peeling them is the best and quick way to enjoy them. Both are a great option to add a tangy flavour to salads and salsa. Hence, choose ripe tangerines that are deep in colour and don't have brown spots over them. Make sure the oranges are firm, and their skin is smoothly textured.

Summing Up

Both tangerines and oranges have some similarities and differences. Both are citrus fruits and provide lots of benefits to the body.

However, tangerine vs. orange differs in nutrient profile, containing more Vitamin A than oranges, appearances, size, and texture. Consequently, oranges have more Vitamin C content than oranges.

Freshly squeeze them into a juice or consume them as a salad. There are many ways to enjoy both fruits. Both are a highly nutritious and healthy addition to one's diet.