At first glance, the yuzu fruit looks like a mandarin orange that has a rich yellow pigment. Belonging to the citrus family, yuzu is unlike most citrus fruits when it comes to texture, taste, and aroma. Although it may be new to many Americans, yuzu has been apart of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cuisine for over 1,000 years.
What Is Yuzu?
This popular, acidic citrus fruit exists in food preparations across East Asia, and now it’s on many Western menus. You may see it as an addition to ramen, desserts, cocktails, sushi, slaws, and dressings. Yuzu has a bumpy yellow exterior with a sour flavor profile. The aroma is quite fragrant, emitting scents reminiscent of grapefruit, lemongrass, lime, and lemon. Some people say it smells like pure sunshine, if you can imagine that sunshine has a scent.
Yuzu exhibits a diverse nutritional profile, being a rich source of vitamins C & E, potassium, magnesium, copper, and calcium. It’s very low in calories and scientists have identified powerful antioxidant compounds like yuzunone. They may boost immunity, improve blood clotting, support mood, aid weight loss, provide relief from nausea, and more. You can read more about yuzu’s benefits below.
Balance Mood And Reduce Stress
The potent citrusy scent may have some benefits when used in aromatherapy. A randomized controlled trial in 2017 monitored women with PMS who inhaled yuzu fragrance for 10 minutes. The researchers found that the women who did this daily lowered anger, tension, fatigue, and anxiety. The effects were similar to inhaling lavender’s aroma, which has relaxing properties. The belief is that yuzu’s scent increased activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the body calm down after stress.
Rich In Powerful Antioxidants
Antioxidants work to combat free radicals, which are molecules that cause cell damage and oxidative stress. Diets that are rich in a wide variety of antioxidants experience lower rates of heart disease, brain ailments, and certain types of cancer. Yuzu contains powerful antioxidants, including vitamin C, flavonoids, and carotenoids. One test-tube study found that limonene, a compound in yuzu’s peel, was effective at reducing inflammation. In fact, it may also help with reducing symptoms of asthma.
May Protect The Brain
Although human studies are limited in regards to this claim, many animal studies show promising results. One study monitored rats with induced brain dysfunction. After long-term intake of yuzu extract, the rats experienced improved blood sugar control and brain function. Naringenin, a flavonoid in yuzu, also exhibits brain-protective properties. For example, two studies on mice with induced memory loss found that niringenin from yuzu improved memory and reduced oxidative stress from brain-damaging proteins.
The vitamin C and other antioxidants in yuzu make it an excellent fruit for supporting the immune system. One review found that vitamin C may reduce the severity and duration of respiratory tract infections. It may also aid in the prevention of malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia. The antioxidants in yuzu also help to protect against infections caused by bacteria or viruses. Additionally, they may keep immune cells healthy by combatting free radicals.
May Improve Blood Flow
Proper blood clotting helps you stop bleeding after a scrape or cut. Excessive clotting, however, can lead to much more serious problems, including blockages in both small and large blood vessels. This can lead to more serious problems like stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. Test-tube animal studies found that yuzu extract may have anti-clotting effects by inhibiting platelet grouping. Researchers attribute these benefits to hesperidin and naringenin, two flavonoids in yuzu.
Chronic inflammation is very dangerous to overall health, contributing to the development of serious disease. Because yuzu fruit is high in antioxidants, researchers believe that it can help neutralize the free radicals that contribute to inflammation. One study found that yuzu seed oil exhibited antioxidant activity that was twice as potent as grapefruit seed oil. Additionally, one test-tube study found that limonene, which exists in yuzu peel, was able to reduce inflammation and prevent the formation of free radicals.