There is absolutely no shame in not knowing what a yuzu fruit is. Sure, it has a strange name, and chances are people don’t stumble across these seemingly exotic fruits at every turn. But anyone encountering this item—also known as a Japanese Citron—and then passing it by should feel pretty guilty. First off, yuzu has a unique look, scent and taste. Think of an uneven-skinned clementine between the size of a mandarin orange and a grapefruit. In terms of taste and scent, the yuzu has been described as a mix of mandarin orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime. Most people skip eating yuzu straight up, instead using its juice and zest to add flavor and scent to everything from cocktails, soups, sushi, tea, liquors, salad dressings and savory hot pots to pastries and desserts. All of this is pretty cool. But perhaps more important is that this fruit, which originated in China more than 1,000 years ago, is loaded with health benefits. Many, in fact, tag yuzu as a superfood. WellWell is here to lay out what consumers can expect to gain from adding a little yuzu here and there.
A little bit of yuzu goes a long way, which means these fruits can add scent, flavor and health benefits without tossing in calories or fat. For example, an average 100-gram serving of raw yuzu fruit has 53 calories, 0.8 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat, 13.3 grams of carbohydrate and 1.8 grams of fiber. Now, turn that serving into 100 grams of yuzu juice, and the numbers are still pretty light. It would have 67 calories, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of total sugar and 1.2 mg of iron.
It should not be surprising that the yuzu fruit is loaded with water-soluble vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that is critical for collagen production, iron absorption, protein metabolism, proper immune function and neurotransmitter synthesis. Yuzu, in fact, has about three times the vitamin C content of lemons. A tablespoon of juice provides 15 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C—almost 20 percent of the recommended Daily Value. Consume a 100-gram serving of straight fruit and more than the Daily Value is covered.
Yuzu’s scent is more than just pleasant. Research indicates it activates the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system, which can then decrease stress, tension and anger in short order. It also helps promote better sleep. It makes the oil for yuzu great for aromatherapy treatments. Inhalation stimulates the olfactory, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems, releasing feelgood endorphins.
Thanks to yuzu’s pith and seeds, the fruit is high in pectin—a water-soluble dietary fiber that eases constipation. Fiber also improves cholesterol levels and fat metabolism. Some research even claims the fruit helps support gut bacterial balance, which reputedly reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Yuzu also seems to be a boon for good-looking skin, particularly the fruit’s seed oil, which can be used as a low-toxicity moisturizing anti-wrinkle agent. It reportedly can also suppress hyperpigmentation. The research adds that the oil’s flavonoid glycosides, limonoids, coumarins and fatty acids fight oxidative stress and help maintain skin elasticity that thwarts the appearance of aging.
Yes, there can be too much of a good thing, even when it comes to yuzu. Chances are the vast majority of people will not consume enough yuzu to create problems. However, this superfood does contain high amounts of citric acid, which can negatively impact those with related allergies. Symptoms include wheezing, watery eyes, tightness in the chest, or skin rash. It is also important to brush teeth thoroughly after eating yuzu to protect tooth enamel from citric acid damage.
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