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Tangerines: The Most Overlooked Fruit Over Chinese New Year?

chinese new year

Yes the “New Year” is over.

Bad News: The New Year isn’t starting off quite as well as you had hoped – getting sick, bad work days…

And those big dreams of getting a six-pack, starting this year with renewed energy and health are starting to fade 🙁

Good News: There’s CHINESE NEW YEAR!

Even if you aren’t Chinese, you’re most likely living in a city where there are plenty of Chinese (yes we are everywhere) so I doubt you’d miss this.

So, you still have an excuse to reboot your system if you haven’t already started.

And while using freeze dried vegetable powder and other superfoods are great to kick start this year, you actually don’t need to look far for superfoods. Because if you look close enough, superfoods that provide wide array of phytonutrients, fiber and antioxidants, are abundant everywhere.

And this one little overlooked fruit, which is very popular over Chinese New Year, caught my attention. At less than US$2 per pound, this fruit can boost your immunity, support your eye and skin health, and more.

Better yet, they’re easy to eat and carry – yes you just need to peel the skin to eat the flesh.

Return of the Mandarin Oranges / Tangerines

chinese new year

When reunion dinner comes and I really don’t feel like eating the oily dishes, mandarin oranges and tangerines usually come to my rescue.

While I’d try to stuff myself up with a green smoothie before events like this, I still have to eat something or I’d get comments like “Aiya, you’re getting too skinny! Where did your curves go?

So I’d usually give them a comeback with tangerines (yes this can potentially get awkward), especially since they are considered traditional symbols of good fortune.

Tangerine Nutrition

Amongst many other benefits, tangerines:

  • Contain 103 calories per 195 gram serving [1]
  • 4 grams of fibre per serving (14% of RDA)
  • Are high in vitamin C and A that neutralizes free radicals, boosts immunity and eye health
  • Contains flavonoids, which have been shown to prevent the growth of cancerous cells and stop the proliferation of tumors [2]
  • Contains Salvestrol Q40, which can potentially target cancer cells [3]

So feel free to stuff yourself with tangerines, especially since they are in season during this time.

Don’t Forget the Peel!

Other than eating fresh tangerines, tangerine peel, also known as Chen Pi, is probably one of the most overlooked “gems” in the health food community.

Chen Pi is aged and stored dry, sometimes for years, so it does have quite a pungent, spicy and bitter taste. Chen Pi is believed to boost our digestive system, and help break up mucus in our body.

Most importantly, studies show that a compound, Salvestrol Q40, extracted from tangerine peel can potentially kill certain human cancer cells.

chen pi

In Chinese medicine, Chen Pi promotes the flow of “qi” (energy) and is commonly used to treat coughs and nausea.

You can use Chen Pi in dishes and soup. And I’ve specifically designed an easy recipe for you to combat the dark dreary Jan/Feb months, especially during the flu season.

Combined with ginger, this warming tea can help eliminate congestion in the body and boost our immunity.

A little bit of Chen-Pi goes a long way so do not over do it.

Chinese New Year Immunity Tea with Ginger and Tangerine Peel:

immunity tea

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 Peel of Chen-Pi (Do not over-do it. Dried chen-pi has a very strong taste)
  • 2 tablespoon of ginger
  • Sweetener of your choice (stevia, coconut sugar) to taste

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan bring the water to a boil. Turn off heat.
  2. Add chopped ginger. Let tea sit for 2 minutes.
  3. Then add chen-pi.
  4. Let the tea sit for another minute or so.
  5. Add the sweetener of your choice to taste.
  6. If you want a burning ginger flavor (which I love), best to let tea sit for a few hours or more. You can always reheat the tea, though you may want to reheat the tea below boiling temperature and add a bit of fresh tangerine peel (after the tea is slightly cooled down) since vitamin C can be easily destroyed by heat.
  7. Enjoy!

And, if you haven’t already done so, check out our Raw Mandarin Chocolate Energy Truffle here.

truffle 06 -small-logo

Sources:

  • [1] http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1978/2
  • [2] http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-tangerines-5913.html
  • [3] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6987200.stm