9 Amazing Health Benefits of Kumquats

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The health benefits of kumquats include the ability to regulate digestion, boost the immune system, and improve skin, hair, dental, and eye care. They also reduce your chances of developing diabetes, lower your cholesterol levels, strengthen your bones, and improve nerve health.

What are Kumquats?

Kumquats (Citrus japonica) are the fruits of a small tree in the Rutaceae family. These small citrus fruits resemble oranges to a certain degree, both inside and out, although they are smaller in size than most orange varieties. These shrubs or small trees are native to the Asian-pacific region, where they have been grown and cultivated for thousands of years. They didn’t make it to Europe or the Americas until the 19th century but have spread extensively since then. [1]

There are different types of kumquats, but the most common one is the round kumquat variety, which looks like a small orange. Due to the sweet flavor, they are used for garnishing, cocktails, jams, jellies, preservatives, candies, and desserts.

Various types of liquor and liqueur are made from the fruits. Brines and kumquat extracts have been used for various medicinal purposes over the years for sore throats and respiratory issues. The various essential oils, organic compounds, and nutrients are what have led to such diverse applications of these tiny citrus fruits in traditional medicines throughout the world. [2] [3]

A bowl of whole and halved kumquats on a dark table

Kumquat fruits may be eaten fresh, or they may be preserved and made into jams and jellies. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Kumquats, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]80.85
Energy 71
Energy [kJ]296
Protein [g]1.88
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.86
Ash [g]0.52
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]15.9
Fiber, total dietary [g]6.5
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]9.36
Calcium, Ca [mg]62
Iron, Fe [mg]0.86
Magnesium, Mg [mg]20
Phosphorus, P [mg]19
Potassium, K [mg]186
Sodium, Na [mg]10
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.17
Copper, Cu [mg]0.1
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.14
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]43.9
Thiamin [mg]0.04
Riboflavin [mg]0.09
Niacin [mg]0.43
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.21
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.04
Folate, total [µg]17
Folate, food [µg]17
Folate, DFE [µg]17
Choline, total [mg]8.4
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]15
Carotene, alpha [µg]155
Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]193
Vitamin A, IU [IU]290
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]129
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.15
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.1
14:0 [g]0
16:0 [g]0.09
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.15
16:1 [g]0.02
18:1 [g]0.14
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.17
18:2 [g]0.12
18:3 [g]0.05
Sources include : USDA [4]

Nutritional Value of Kumquats

Kumquats contain a wide variety of essential oils, including limonene, alpha-pinene, monoterpenes, and many others. They also contain fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, beneficial fats, and vitamin A, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. [5] [6]

Health Benefits

Kumquats have many amazing health benefits. Let us discuss them in detail below.

Aid in Digestion

One of the major functions of kumquats is their role in regulating digestion. 8 kumquats are equivalent to 10 grams of fiber and eating a handful of them isn’t a tough thing to do! This amount of fiber helps to keep your gastrointestinal tract moving and regulates your digestion. It can help to eliminate constipation, excess gas, bloating, and cramping and increase the efficiency of your nutrient uptake. The fiber in these fruits can also help protect against inflammatory bowel disease. [7] [8]

Help Manage Diabetes

Flavonoid extracts in kumquats were found to lower the blood lipid levels in obese rats, according to research studies done on laboratory rats by the University in Changsha, China. A Michigan State University report said that kumquats are a great addition to your winter diet as it has low sugar content, low sodium, zero cholesterol, and 0.1 grams of fat. Its high level of dietary fiber benefits both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. [9] [10]

Boost Immunity

Kumquats impact the immune system in a number of ways as they are rich in vitamin C, just like oranges! A study conducted in Switzerland on “Vitamin C and Immune Function” clearly states that the vitamin is a powerful antioxidant and behaves as a co-factor for biosynthetic enzymes. It also helps to stimulate the growth of new cells and boosts the immune system to protect your body from infections, bacteria, and fungi. Without vitamin C as our first line of defense, we would not only be unable to protect ourselves, but we also wouldn’t be able to heal. [11]

Skin Care

The combination of antioxidants and vitamins in kumquats make them ideal for protecting the skin from cancerous effects of the sun and negative effects of free radicals, which cause wrinkles, age spots, and rough, unhealthy skin. Kumquats, like many citrus fruits, can have a great effect on the appearance and feel of your skin because of the high levels of vitamin C. [12] [13]

Eye Care

Kumquats are a rich source of vitamin A and beta-carotene, which are closely connected to vision health. Beta-carotene works as an antioxidant to reduce oxidative stress in the macular cells, thereby limiting macular degeneration and reducing the development of cataracts. [14]

An infographic on the health benefits of kumquats

Kumquats are juicy, sweet and tangy fruits with many health benefits. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Build Strong Bones

The significant calcium content in kumquats helps to protect your bones over the long term. High calcium levels in your body increase the rate of healing and ensure that your bones stay healthy and strong well into the old age. [15]

Boost Energy

You wouldn’t expect kumquat to be so rich in carbohydrates, but they are! Carbohydrates are essential for replenishing our energy reserves in a simple way. These fruits can provide that burst of energy in our diets, while also giving us all the other benefits too! The high level of riboflavin, a key vitamin involved in the production of energy, makes this process even easier. [16]

Weight Loss

Kumquats are rich in fiber, water, and carbs, and are low in calories. Hence, are an ideal food for people trying to lose weight. They will fill you up and keep you healthy, which will reduce your urge to overeat. [17]

Hair Care

Vitamin C, natural organic compounds, antioxidants, and minerals, present in kumquats, have a major effect on the quality, texture, and strength of your hair.

Dental Care

Kumquats are packed with some of the best nutrients like calcium, potassium, and vitamin C, which enhance the hair and teeth quality.

How to eat a Kumquat?

Kumquats, unlike other fruits, have a sour flesh and a sweet rind. To eat a kumquat, follow these steps.

  • Select fresh and ripe kumquats
  • Wash the fruits in running water by rubbing the peel to clean thoroughly
  • Slice the kumquats and remove the seeds
  • Your kumquats are ready to eat

You can also nibble the end of the fruit to taste the rind. Once you taste the juice of the kumquat, you can carry on nibbling it or you can pop the entire fruit into your mouth.

Where to buy Kumquats?

You can look for kumquats in the local stores nearby or the farmers market. Kumquats are also available online on stores like Amazon in the grocery and gourmet section. If you like going to supermarkets then, you can find kumquat in Target, Walmart, or Aldi.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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