Clementines — commonly known by the brand names Cuties or Halos — are a hybrid of mandarin and sweet oranges.

These tiny fruits are bright orange, easy to peel, sweeter than most other citrus fruits, and typically seedless.

Given these characteristics, they’re often marketed toward children and their parents as an easy way to add fruit to a child’s diet.

They’re a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. However, like grapefruit, they contain compounds that may interact with certain medications.

This article reviews the nutrition, benefits, and downsides of clementines, as well as how to enjoy them.

Nutrition

Clementines are small citrus fruits — about the size of a golf ball — with a high water content. They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals.

One clementine (74 grams) packs (1):

  • Calories: 35
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Vitamin C: 40% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Folate: 5% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 5% of the DV

Most of the calories in clementines come from natural sugars, along with a small amount of protein.

Clementines are also a vitamin C powerhouse, with one small fruit providing 40% of your daily needs. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and immune booster that can prevent cellular damage from harmful and unstable compounds called free radicals (2).

In addition, one clementine provides some folate and thiamine. These vitamins perform many functions to keep your body working optimally, including helping prevent anemia and promoting a healthy metabolism (3, 4).

Summary

Clementines contain natural sugars and a small amount of protein. They’re rich in vitamin C and contain several other vitamins and minerals, notably thiamine and folate.

Benefits

Clementines are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, which can help improve your skin’s health and appearance. They can also help boost your fiber intake.

Plus, given that they appeal to children, they promote fruit consumption in this age group.

Rich in antioxidants

Clementines are rich in antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation and prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals. As such, antioxidants can play a role in preventing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many other conditions (5).

Along with vitamin C, these fruits contain a number of other citrus antioxidants, including hesperidin, narirutin, and beta carotene (2, 6, 7).

Beta carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, usually found in orange and red plant foods. This powerful antioxidant promotes healthy cell growth and sugar metabolism (8).

According to some animal and test-tube studies, the citrus antioxidant hesperidin is highly anti-inflammatory, but more human research is needed (9).

Lastly, some animal and test-tube studies have found that narirutin can help improve mental health and may potentially help treat Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, more research in humans is needed (10, 11).

May boost skin health

Clementines are rich in vitamin C, which can improve skin health in a number of ways.

Your skin naturally contains large amounts of vitamin C, as this vitamin aids the synthesis of collagen — the protein complex that gives your skin its firmness, plumpness, and structure (12).

That means that getting plenty of vitamin C in your diet can help ensure your body makes enough collagen to keep your skin looking healthy and potentially younger, as adequate collagen levels can reduce the appearance of wrinkles (12, 13).

The antioxidant activity of vitamin C can also reduce inflammation and help reverse free radical damage, which may help improve acne, redness, and discoloration (12, 14).

Can increase your fiber intake

Although one clementine contains just 1 gram of fiber, snacking on a few throughout the day is an easy and delicious way to boost your fiber intake.

Fruit fiber serves as food for the good bacteria in your gut. It also bulks up and softens your stool to decrease constipation, potentially preventing conditions like diverticular disease, which can occur if digested food gets trapped in polyps in the digestive tract (15).

Fruit fiber may also help lower your cholesterol levels by binding with dietary cholesterol and preventing its absorption into your bloodstream (16).

Moreover, fiber from fruit has been linked to a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, while high fiber intake is associated with a healthier body weight (16, 17).

Promotes fruit consumption in children

Clementines are small, easy to peel, sweet, and usually seedless, making them a perfect snack for children.

In fact, most branded clementines are marketed toward young children and their parents as a way to boost fruit intake.

This is important, as according to the National Cancer Institute, only about one-third of children in the United States eats enough fruit. Research shows that eating insufficient fruits and vegetables in childhood can lead to poor eating habits and poor health in adulthood (18).

Because clementines are appealing to children — and usually inexpensive for their parents — they can help promote fruit intake and healthy eating habits from a young age.

Summary

Clementines are rich in antioxidants and fiber and can help improve your skin and gut health. In addition, they may promote fruit intake among children.

Potential downsides

Some research has found that clementines contain furanocoumarins, a compound also found in grapefruit that can interact with certain heart medications (19, 20).

For example, furanocoumarins can strengthen cholesterol-lowering statins and cause severe complications. For this reason, if you take statins, you should limit your intake of clementines (21).

In addition, furanocoumarins can interfere with other classes of drugs. Talk to your healthcare provider about potential interactions between your medications and clementines (20).

Summary

Clementines may interfere with certain drugs, as similarly to grapefruit, they contain furanocoumarins. If you have any concerns about drug interactions with clementines, talk to your healthcare provider.

How to enjoy clementines

Clementines are easy to peel.

Simply take a clementine in your hand and start peeling it from the top or bottom. The rind should slide off easily in one or two large pieces.

Once peeled, separate the fruit into sections. If the sections contain seeds, be sure to remove them prior to eating them or giving them to a child.

Clementine sections make an interesting addition to salads and desserts. Alternatively, they make a perfect snack on their own.

Although one clementine may be a sufficient snack for a child, a standard serving size is typically two fruits.

Summary

Clementines peel easily. If the fruit contains seeds, remove them prior to eating it or giving it to a child.

The bottom line

Clementines are small, easy to peel, typically seedless, and sweet citrus fruits. As such, they appeal to young children and can help encourage their fruit intake.

In addition, they’re packed with health-boosting antioxidants like vitamin C and beta carotene.

However, they can interact with certain medications because of their furanocoumarin content.

Still, clementines are a fun and healthy snack for most adults and children.