Health Benefits of Yuzu

Yuzu has been described as smelling like pure sunshine—and it comes with antioxidants and vitamin C too.

Known also as Citrus junos Sieb, yuzu—pronounced yoo-zoo—is a citrus fruit of Northeast Asia. Yuzu is thought to be a hybrid between a sour mandarin orange and another type of citrus called Ichang papeda.

Fresh yuzu is about the size of a golf ball, with bumpy green and yellow skin. It's pretty juicy and has a distinct tart, sour taste that's described as more intense than a lemon. It comes with nutrients such as antioxidants and vitamin C.

There are many yuzu selections and hybrids in Japan and China. Also, chefs and mixologists love incorporating the fruit into cocktails, slaws, sushi, ramen, rice, and desserts, such as yuzu sorbet and tarts.

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Benefits of Yuzu

There is little published research on humans about health outcomes tied to yuzu consumption. However, some of the following are potential benefits.

Provides Antioxidants

However, one paper said that yuzu is a rich source of bioactive compounds. The compounds include flavonoid, anthocyanin, phenolic acid, and carotenoid antioxidants—which have actions in the body that may promote health.

Has Potential Preventative Properties

The fruit's juice, peel, and seeds have been shown to contain several preventative properties. Yuzu fruit has pro-anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiplatelet, and antimicrobial properties.

May Be Helpful for Mood

A notable feature of yuzu is its smell. It is very fragrant, with aromas of lemon, lime, grapefruit, and lemongrass. It's even been described as smelling like pure sunshine. Scientists found that yuzu's aromatic effects could help alleviate negative emotional stress.

The fruit's essential oil is thought to affect autonomic nervous system activity, which plays an integral role in the mind-body connection. To see if that was true, 21 individuals in their 20s were exposed to the scent of either yuzu or, as a control, water.

Researchers used the volunteers' heart rate variability and a psychological index, the Profile of Mood States (POMS), to measure any changes before and after the aromatic stimulation.

For 35 minutes, the participants experienced a significant decrease in heart rate, suggesting the fruit does affect the parasympathetic nervous system activity. In addition, the POMS tests revealed that yuzu resulted in a decrease in total mood disturbance. This included reduced tension, anxiety, and fatigue for as long as 35 minutes.

Nutrition of Yuzu

Yuzu's nutrition facts do not appear in the US Department of Agriculture database. However, 100 grams—a little over 3 ounces—of yuzu juice contains:

  • Calories: 67 calories
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 20 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams

The juice also has 100 milligrams of vitamin C. Vitamin C is considered to be an antioxidant. However, it also helps the body make collagen, improves iron absorption, and boosts the immune system.

Risks of Yuzu

If you can find and use yuzu essential oil, ensure that it doesn't interact with any aspects of your health. Essential oils shouldn't be used without the guidance of a healthcare professional. There can be potential risks, side effects, and interactions with medications, though most essential oils are usually safe.

Also, as individuals can have any food allergy, eating yuzu might lead to an allergic reaction. However, there have been limited reports of yuzu allergy: it is not considered a common food allergy.

Tips for Consuming Yuzu

You can incorporate the juice and rind of yuzu into various recipes, and a little goes a long way. Yuzu works well in expertly crafted restaurant dishes, cocktails, and mocktails.

Yuzu's sour profile can be balanced with a variety of interesting ingredients, including:

  • Sweet ginger, honey, yams, and grains
  • Salty sea vegetables and soy sauce
  • Bitter matcha and leafy greens
  • Umami-based seafood and mushrooms

If you're new to yuzu and like to cook, try yuzu-glazed salmon too.

A Quick Review

If you haven't had the chance to experience yuzu yet, it's worth seeking out. The fruit offers key nutrients like antioxidants and vitamin C. It can have preventative properties against conditions like inflammation and cancer, though research is ongoing about other benefits for human health.

There can be possible issues with eating yuzu or using it in essential oil form. Still, this unique citrus fruit is a feast for your senses and can complement other tastes, from sweet to umami flavors.

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