If you have ever come across a small tangerine with a nipple at one end, you’re likely holding a tangelo, a popular hybrid citrus fruit that is packed with nutrients and has a delicious flavor. Before you add any new fruit to your diet, however, it is wise to understand the nutritional components of the fruit, as well as the potential benefits and risks the fruit may hold.
What is a Tangelo?
A tangelo is scientifically known as Citrus x tangelo because it is a citrus hybrid fruit of tangerines and pomelo (or grapefruit, in some cases). They have a taste similar to a tangerine and are normally easier to peel than normal oranges. This hybrid fruit is very sweet and is roughly the size of a fist, most notably characterized by the protruding nipple on one side of the fruit which is why they are also referred to as “honeybells”.
With thin skin, these fruits tend to be easier to peel than oranges or tangerines but retain much of the same refreshing bite as these fruits. There are a few main varieties of tangelo, including Orlando, Honeybell and Minneola tangelos, the latter of which is a hybrid between a tangerine and a grapefruit. Orlando tangelos are a hybrid between tangerines and pomelos, while Honeybells come from a cross between the grapefruit and mandarin oranges.
Tangelos grow on perennial trees, and they tend to yield fruit in the autumn and winter. These trees may take 2-3 years before they begin to bear fruit, and they are known to be quite delicate, meaning they need regular care and a weather-protected nursery to grow. The fruit is used in various ways, both for a delicious and refreshing juice, while the rind can be used for its citrus bite in cocktails. The fruit is often made into fruit leather or blended into fruit smoothies and included in fruit salads. Tangelos are grown primarily in the United States. The two main areas of cultivation for tangelos are Florida and California, and due to their relatively low production volume, they are rarely found outside the United States.
Tangelo Nutrition Facts
Not only tangelos an unusual fruity treat, but they are also packed with various important nutrients and active ingredients, such as very high levels of vitamin C and folate, as well as low levels of fat and a small amount of protein. There are only 70 calories in an average-sized tangelo, which makes it ideal for those on a diet.
Serving Size : Nutrient Value Total lipid (fat) [g] 0.12 Carbohydrate, by difference [g] 11.75 Energy 47 Water [g] 86.75 Sugars, total including NLEA [g] 9.35 Fiber, total dietary [g] 2.4 Calcium, Ca [mg] 40 Iron, Fe [mg] 0.1 Magnesium, Mg [mg] 10 Phosphorus, P [mg] 14 Potassium, K [mg] 181 Zinc, Zn [mg] 0.07 Copper, Cu [mg] 0.05 Selenium, Se [µg] 0.5 Vitamin A, RAE [µg] 11 Carotene, beta [µg] 71 Carotene, alpha [µg] 11 Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg] 0.18 Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg] 116 Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg] 129 Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg] 53.2 Thiamin [mg] 0.09 Riboflavin [mg] 0.04 Niacin [mg] 0.28 Vitamin B-6 [mg] 0.06 Folate, total [µg] 30 Choline, total [mg] 8.4 Folate, food [µg] 30 Folate, DFE [µg] 30 Fatty acids, total saturated [g] 0.02 16:0 [g] 0.01 18:1 [g] 0.02 18:2 [g] 0.02 18:3 [g] 0.01 16:1 [g] 0 Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g] 0.02 Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g] 0.03 Sources include : USDA
In terms of mineral content, tangelos contain modest amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, and iron, as well as significant levels of potassium (6% of daily requirements in a single serving). Tangelos also contain pantothenic acid, thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin.
These hybrid fruits are also high in dietary fiber and various flavonoids and antioxidants, which can help reduce oxidative stress and improve overall health.
Tangelo Health Benefits
Tangelos are known for their ability to aid in weight loss, strengthen the immune system, may reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve digestive health, reduce the risk of asthma, among others.
With a surprisingly low level of calories, tangelos are great additions to a weight loss diet. In addition to that, there is a significant level of dietary fiber, which can help increase feelings of fullness, which will keep you away from the snacks and prevent overeating, while also optimizing nutrient uptake efficiency.
Boosts Immune System
A single serving of tangelo provides 100% of your daily requirements for vitamin C, which can help stimulate the production of white blood cells and support your immune system against foreign pathogens and potential infections.
Vitamin B6 and other critical vitamins in these hybrid fruits can help promote the production of red blood cells and keep circulation flowing normally. This will help your body oxygenate the areas that need repair and resources the most.
Aids in Digestion
Dietary fiber is well known to improve digestive properties, particularly when it comes to symptoms of constipation, cramping or bloating. Fiber can stimulate peristaltic motion and even improve the bacterial balance in the gut.
Tangelos contain high levels of potassium, which is a vasodilator that can protect you against high blood pressure. Fiber can also scrap excess cholesterol from the arteries and blood vessels, which can lower your chances of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
A team of Italian researchers published a study in the Food Chemistry Journal, which states that some of the flavonoids found in tangelos lower a number of free radicals in the body and reduce overall oxidative stress. This may, in turn, lower your risk of developing cancer, as oxidative stress leads to cellular mutation. These antioxidants are also important for protecting your body against a variety of other chronic diseases, such as arthritis and autoimmune diseases.
Tangelo in Your Daily Diet
If you want to add tangelos to your daily or weekly diet, it is important to know some of the different forms that tangelos can take, including in jam, cakes, salad, fruit smoothies, as a garnish, and as a flavorful addition to various desserts.
As mentioned above, tangelos are quite easy to peel, and there is a lower level of fibrous tissue inside than you might find in an orange or tangerine. After peeling these fruits, you can juice them or eat them raw.