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One Major Effect of Eating Clementines, Says Dietitian

This tiny fruit is packed with power!

Small, sweet, and perfectly portable, clementines are naturally a great snack. Plus, they have a superpower you need to know.

Often marketed as Cuties, clementines are the bright orange citrus fruit that's easily a parent's best friend. They're so easy to peel that even the littlest hands can easily tackle them. The lack of seeds is a major plus, too!

While clementines make the perfect kid-sized snack, experts say you'll want to eat this little superfruit, too, especially if you want to support your immune system.

Just one small clementine has 36.1 milligrams, or 40 percent of the daily value (DV) for vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient when it comes to immune support. This vitamin stimulates B and T cells to form lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that helps combat bacteria and viruses in the body. If you aren't eating enough vitamin C, your body has a hard time fighting off infections.

"While you can get vitamin C from supplements, fruits (particularly citrus fruits) can have an added advantage over most supplements," says Sharon Puello MA, RD, CDN, CDCES, owner of FRESH Nutrition PLLC.

Various animal studies have found that vitamin C from food is more easily absorbed and useable than synthetic supplements, per a 2013 review published in Nutrients. The review notes that more human studies are needed to see if the same effect occurs in people.

The advantage of citrus fruits over supplements could be related to the variety of antioxidants and plant chemicals found in clementines and other citrus fruits. The combination of nutrients and antioxidants found in whole fruits just can't be replicated in supplements.

What's more, clementines are a quick and tasty way to decrease stress levels, which is essential to keeping your immune system in tip-top shape. Chronic stress decreases the number of lymphocytes in the body, putting you at a higher risk of catching a bug and getting sick.

"The combination of vitamin C and bioflavonoids in clementines can help your body handle stress better by speeding the removal of cortisol, one of the major stress hormones, from your body," says Puello.

Keeping your immune system in prime condition might be all the reason you need to eat a clementine or two each day, but they're also a great source of fiber. Just one small clementine has 1.3 grams of fiber, which can help manage blood sugar, cholesterol, and keep your digestive system healthy.

Related: The One Drink to Sip On to Boost Your Immunity, Says Dietitian

Kelsey Kunik, RDN
Kelsey Kunik is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, nutrition consultant, and sustainable food blogger. Read more about Kelsey