Do you remember when getting a clementine in your Christmas stocking was a special treat? It’s one of my family’s favourite holiday rituals. Now that I am in charge of stuffing the stockings, I always make sure to stock up on clementines, because they never last long.
Clementines are a cross between an orange and mandarin and they first became popular in the 1980s, when a deep freeze in Florida made oranges scarce. They have only 35 calories each and are one of the easiest varieties of citrus to peel, making them a great choice for a snack on the go.
When the hustle and indulgence of the holiday season is getting to you, peel a clementine and breathe in deeply — the essential oil in the peel has a calming effect and is used in aromatherapy to relieve anxiety and fight depression. What’s more, rubbing the peel on your skin may help allergic skin rashes.
Here are five more reasons to pick up a box of clementines on your next shopping trip:
1. Clementines are a source of vitamin C: Vitamin C helps prevent upper respiratory tract infections, along with the common cold and flu. Stock up on clementines during this flu season to help prevent infection. When you are stressed over the holidays you use more vitamin C, so enjoy a minimum of two clementines a day to get a healthy intake.
2. They’re great for dental health: Clementines are a source of potassium, and getting enough dietary potassium decreases dental inflammation, reduces hypertension, and prevents tooth loss.
3. Protect your liver with clementines: Clementines contain choline, a B vitamin that aids in healthy liver function. We stress our liver during all the holiday parties this season. People with a deficiency of choline in their diet are more prone to developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and steatohepatitis.
4. Clementines are a source of folate: Folate (or folic acid) is a part of the B-vitamin family. Recent studies have found that folate is necessary in the brain for the regulation of mood — if you find the holidays stressful, clementines are a stress buster. Folate is often used in conjunction with other therapies to aid in the treatment of depression, specifically in women.
5. Clementine oil is a potent antioxidant: The oil extracted from the peel of clementines, and other citrus fruits, has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant and pain reliever (antinociceptive). Include a bit of the peel in your smoothies to reap these benefits.
Holiday clementine salad
Red, green, and orange ingredients make this dish look festive. The avocados provide stress-busting vitamin B6, and the fennel is wonderfully soothing to the digestive tract.
5 clementine oranges, peeled
2 avocados, sliced
1.5 cups red radicchio (approx. 1 small head)
4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
6 cups baby spinach
1 cup fennel, finely chopped
1 cup mint leaves, freshly chopped.
1/4 cup hemp seeds, for garnish
2 tbsp hemp or olive oil
1/2 cup fresh clementine orange juice
1 tbsp purple onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp of grey or pink sea salt
1/2 tsp organic orange or lemon peel, finely grated
1. Combine salad ingredients in large bowl.
2. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl or mason jar.
3. Mix both together and garnish with hemp seeds.
Makes six servings
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon-to-be-published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.
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