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posted: 12/18/2013 10:01 AM

Ask the nutritionist: Are all oranges created equal?

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  • Satsumas and other oranges in the mandarin family contain higher amounts of some phytochemicals than are found in other orange varieties.

      Satsumas and other oranges in the mandarin family contain higher amounts of some phytochemicals than are found in other orange varieties.
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Q. Do mandarin oranges provide the same nutrients as other oranges?

A. Nutrient content is similar, but there are differences.

Like other oranges, mandarin oranges are excellent sources of vitamin C, although not as high in this valuable nutrient as navel oranges, even comparing equal portions. However, mandarins provide greater amounts of two antioxidant phytochemicals: beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.

Many people think of mandarin oranges only as canned fruit. Actually, fresh mandarins include Satsumas, Clementines and a variety of tangerines. Most are sweeter than other citrus fruits, and they have a bright orange, convenient to peel skin and easily divided inner sections. That makes these small beauties perfect for packing in lunches or on-the-go snacks.

If you use canned mandarin oranges, choose juice-packed versions instead of those in light syrup in order to minimize added calories and maximize vitamin C.

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