Bergamot, mandarin, tangerine, orange cloves , mimosa or mandarin oranges , the popular names and the most common varieties change according to the region of the country, but the health benefits of their consumption are the same anywhere.
The fruit helps regulate bowel function , strengthens immunity and makes the skin more beautiful. All this because of its nutritional richness.
The gastronomy specialist Maria de Fátima Duarte Gonçalves will explain everything about this tasty citrus fruit and some of the main reasons to add it to the menu.
Benefits that the consumption of bergamot brings to health
Bergamot is rich in vitamins A, C and the B complex. It also has amounts of calcium and magnesium and is considered a good natural source of potassium.
In the pulp of the fruit are also found proteins, carbohydrates and dietary fiber , in addition to antioxidants, and all this with just 54 calories for each fruit of 135 grams. ( 1 )
Strengthens immunity and prevents infections
“The main vitamin found in tangerines is C, which helps (…) increase immunity, preventing colds and other diseases”, explains Maria de Fátima.
To better understand:
The immune system, which is responsible for protecting the body against disease, is made up of several types of cells that work together. The vitamin C stimulates the proliferation of these cells. As a result, the body gains more “soldiers” to use in combating pathogens (disease-causing agents).
The good amount of vitamin A found in the fruit helps to increase the body’s resistance to infections , as defended by the specialist. That is, it prevents the problem from getting out of control and provides relief for symptoms.
Fight free radicals
Free radicals, unstable molecules that cause the degradation of healthy cells in the body, are fought due to the antioxidant capacity of various components of this fruit.
Among the main components of the genus, it is possible to mention phenolic compounds and flavonoids, in addition to carotenoids, which are responsible for the orange color of the fruit, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). ( 4 )
Thanks to this wonderful combination, bergamot protects cells against damage , which can be profound and cause serious consequences, such as increasing the risk of developing chronic and degenerative diseases and even cancer.
Prevents premature skin aging
Want another reason to add tangerine to your diet? Well know that as a result of the high concentration of vitamin C, the fruit helps to maintain the appearance of healthier skin .
According to the expert, this nutrient is essential in preventing premature aging and this occurs for two reasons.
The first is that it is a potent antioxidant that protects skin cells from damage and consequently slows down aging .
The second is that the vitamin increases the production of collagen , which is a type of protein that gives firmness and elasticity, leaving the skin with a smoother appearance and preventing the appearance of wrinkles .
Good for eye health
Maria de Fátima also pointed out that the consumption of orange cloves protects the vision, due to the good amount of vitamin A found in the fruit’s pulp.
This nutrient is used in the production of cells that make up various parts of the eye, such as the retina and cornea, and also a mechanism that promotes better vision in dark places.
Protects the nervous system
Bergamot is a source of B-complex vitamins, especially B9, popularly known as folic acid. In addition to thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2), nutrients “that strengthen the nerves”, as described by the professional.
Another good nutrient for the nervous system is potassium, which, as the specialist informs, is “responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses”. This means that it facilitates the sending of information from the brains to different parts of the body.
It’s good for cardiovascular health
Maria de Fátima also points out potassium as “responsible for the good functioning of the heart ”. Eating bergamots helps protect against cardiovascular diseases .
The antioxidants in its composition act on the heart, protecting the region against the effects of oxidative stress that can lead to chronic problems such as hypertension and the accumulation of fat in the arteries. ( 2 )
Stimulates bowel function
Eating bergamot in nature is good for intestinal health thanks to fiber eating it.
Fibers are components that the stomach cannot digest. For this reason, they pass whole to the intestine, taking plenty of water with them, which serves to prevent the stool from drying out.
They also increase in size by absorbing water, causing the walls of the tract to widen and thus stimulating the movement produced to send all that debris out.
Most common varieties of bergamot
Bergamot is one of those fruits that has several names and also several varieties for the same species.
In Brazil, the most common are poncan , clove , dancy and murcott , which have the same benefits but have some characteristics that differ. Learn more about them below!
The poncan variety is one of the most common , being cultivated and sold throughout the country.
Fruits of this type are large, weighing more than 200 grams, covered with a thick skin, and are quite easy to peel by hand.
The buds are a little drier, as they have less water than the others. The pulp has a pleasant aroma and a low acid taste. ( 5 )
The fruits of the Dancy variety are much smaller than the previous type, weighing an average of 90 grams, and the skin is thin, easy to peel and has a yellow-orange color when ripe.
The buds have more juice and a very mild flavor. Dancy fruits have few seeds, which are small and easily removed. ( 5 )
In the clove variety, the pods are medium in size, about 150 grams each, and have a cup shape that is flattened around the edges. The bark is medium thick and is usually a very strong yellow or orange.
This type of tangerine has more seeds, but it has a sweet flavor and is very aromatic, which guarantees its popularity in the market. ( 5 )
Murcott is a hybrid type , resulting from the mixture between bergamot ( Citrus reticulata ) and common orange ( Citrus sinensis ).
Fruits of this variety have a thin, adherent rind, which makes them a little more difficult to peel, and are flat. The pulp is orange in color and has a mild flavor. ( 5 )
What is the best way to consume fruit?
“The best way to consume the fruit is in natura ”, instructs the specialist. In this way, it is possible to absorb all the nutrients and other phytochemicals present in the pulp, as they do not undergo oxidation, a process that begins as soon as the food comes into contact with the air.