Yuzu, properties and benefits of exotic citrus

Yuzu is an exotic citrus fruit that externally resembles lemon and has a somewhat distorted appearance. Its aroma and flavor make it very special. In addition, it has very beneficial properties for the health of our body and our senses.

What is yuzu fruit?

Yuzu (Citrus junos), also known as yuja, is a very characteristic citrus fruit. This citrus fruit is a midpoint between lime and lemon .

In addition, it has a very intense aroma, characteristic of citrus fruits . Also, yuzu (Citrus junos) is very sour and acidic.

In its external appearance, the color is very similar to lemon. However, their skin is much rougher and more uneven. In addition, it is thicker, more aromatic and more bitter.

The size is similar to that of a lemon and measures between 5 and 8 cm in diameter. It weighs between 140 and 200 grams.

Yuzu tree

The yuzu tree, which can withstand temperatures of -5 ºC, is medium in size and has thorns that can measure up to 6 centimeters.

Once ripe, it can take up to 20 years to bear its first fruits. In addition, it can reach 4 meters in height.

Its leaves contain dry glands that give off very characteristic citrus odors . Its small white star-shaped flowers appear in spring.

These flowers are very similar to orange blossom flowers. In summer, after the flowers, the first green fruits appear, which are also used. In the months of November and December it is when the ripe fruits appear with a golden yellow color.

Origen del yuzu

Yuzu (Citrus junos), has its origin in China where it was cultivated for more than 1000 years.

It is probably a natural hybrid. It seems that the cross is between the wild tangerine and Ichang lemon.

Yuzu cultivation

Currently this citrus is grown mainly in Japan and Korea , among other eastern countries.

Similarly, Europe is a continuously growing market for different exotic citrus fruits like the one we discuss in this article.

Consequently, the cultivation of citrus fruits such as Buddha’s Hand, Kaffir lime, Yuzu or Kumquat are in continuous expansion.

Other yuzus producing countries are: Australia, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Quebec, the United States (California), Switzerland (under greenhouse), and France.

It should be noted that a Yuzu tree only produces between 15 and 20 kilos of fruit.

Yuzu season

This fruit has a fairly long season, since it can also be eaten green.

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Consequently, the season runs from April to June. However, the months in which the fruit is harvested mature is between the months of November and December.

How do you eat yuzu?

This citrus fruit is very acidic and sour. Therefore, it is often used in the kitchen for its juice and for the zest of its skin . It is ideal for recipes of different dishes made on the grill. Also, in stews, desserts, among other recipes.

In Asian cuisine it is used as flavorings for vinegars, sauces, jams and other condiments.

Yuzu properties

The yuzu fruit is a food with nutritional characteristics with very beneficial properties for our health. It has properties that are somewhat similar to other citrus fruits such as orange , lime or grapefruit . However, it has some peculiarities that we explain below.

Traditionally it has been used in natural medicine, in healthy and natural cooking and in the production of natural cosmetics.

In addition, it is a source of flavonoids, anthocyanins, phenolic acids, carotenoids and tannins. Also, of sugars, proteins, vitamins, fibers and minerals.

Different studies have shown that the different parts of the yuzu fruit (juice, skin and seeds) have bioactive compounds with numerous properties. [1]

It is worth highlighting the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Average nutritional value per 100 grams of yuzu juice

Water92 g
Calories21 kcal
Protein0,50 g
Fats0,10 g
Carbohydrates7 g
Dietary fiber0,4 g
Sugars1,49 g
Football20 mg
Iron0,10 mg
Match11 mg
Potassium210 mg
Sodium1 mg
C vitamin40 mg
Thiamine0,05 mg
Riboflavin0,02 mg
Niacin0,2 mg
Vitamin A23 IU

Yuzu benefits

We find a very exceptional exotic citrus. Thanks to their nutritional properties, they provide us with different benefits for our health.

Among them we can distinguish the following:

1. Antioxidant fruit

Although we are not aware, a constant battle between free radicals and antioxidants is unleashed in our body. The free radicals are molecules that are created naturally in our body and can damage cells.

In addition, they can cause oxidative stress when there are too many. [2]  Here comes the role of antioxidants, neutralizing these molecules and helping to prevent aging and many diseases.

Therefore, it is important to maintain good health to eat fresh foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables.

Yuzu provides us with a large amount of vitamin C and other plant compounds with great antioxidant power. Being deals with carotenoids and flavonoids. In this study the antioxidant activity of the seed is detailed. [3]

In addition, limonene, which is a natural substance present in the skin of citrus fruits and also of yuzus, also acts as antioxidants. This study details how it helps reduce inflammation. [4]

2. For a healthy heart

Several studies show that the extract of this fruit can have anticoagulant effects by inhibiting the clumping of platelets. [5]

It seems that two flavonoids are the ones that notably favor this action. These are hesperidin and naringin.

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Also, improving the flow of blood circulation helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. This is highlighted by various investigations. However, further research in this line has to be done to reach a more stable conclusion.

3. It can help our memory

Yuzu extract can be helpful in reducing brain dysfunction and improving memory . In addition, as this animal study demonstrates, yuzus extract improved brain function, among other benefits. [6]

4. Antibacterial effects

The extract of the seed of this fruit can help us against certain microbes and also against some infections. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/46030863_Studies_on_Antimicrobial_and_Antioxidative_Substance_of_Yuzu_Citrus_junos_hort_ex_Tanaka_Seed [7]

5. A relaxing fragrance

Yuzu has several compounds that help make its essential oil conducive to relaxation. Several studies describe this essential oil with relaxing effects that are favorable to reduce tension, anxiety and stress. [7]

Bathrooms with yuzu

It is said that whoever tries it can never forget it. It is an aromatic bath with these fruits. It is customary in Japan since the 18th century and during the winter solstice.

Whole or halved yuzus are mixed with the bath water. In this way, the juice mixes with the water, increasing its properties and benefits.

The goal of these traditional baths, known as yuzuyu , is their health benefits. It also helps us avoid colds, improve blood circulation, warm the body and relax the mind. A marvel.

Conclusions

This fruit is not normally eaten alone, since we normally use it as an ingredient in a recipe. Therefore, the beneficial effects of this fruit are almost always in synergy with other foods.

Finally, whether in extract, essential oil, raw or its juice, yuzu is a fruit that perfectly complements our diet and is highly recommended.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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