Yuzu Fruit: What Is It, Health Benefits, How To Eat, And Side Effects

Written by Sindhu Koganti , BTech (Biotechnology), Diploma In Nutrition

Yuzu (Citrus junos) is a citrus lemon from the Rutaceae family. The fruit, including the rind and seeds, are used in traditional medicine for common cold, uplifting mood, and skin smoothening. It originated in China over 1200 years ago, and its fragrance was believed to drive evil spirits away. This exotic fruit has a strong tangy flavor and aroma. It contains antioxidants that may improve circulation, fight cancer, and reduce inflammation. This article explores the health benefits of yuzu fruit, how to eat it, and possible side effects. Keep reading!

What Is Yuzu Fruit?

Yuzu fruit looks like a small grapefruit (diameter 2-3 inches) with thick yellow, uneven skin. The fruit is extremely aromatic and sourer than other citrus fruits can be yellow or green based on its degree of ripeness. This fruit is highly nutritious and has fewer calories.

Kristin Gillespie, RD, says, “Yuzu fruit contains only 20 calories per fruit, and nutrients like fiber, sodium, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin C.” Yuzu (also called Yuza) is rich in antioxidants and carotenoids, flavonoids, and limonoids and has several health benefits (1), (2).

Health Benefits Of Yuzu Fruit

1. May Prevent Cardiovascular Issues

Yuzu has anti-platelet (inhibits blood clot in the vessels) properties and reduces the risk of stroke and ischemic heart diseases (conditions caused by narrowing of arteries) (3). Studies have found that the methanolic extract of yuzu has flavonoids like hesperidin and naringin, which could inhibit platelet aggregation (4), (5), (6). This can prevent blood clotting and reduce blood vessel inflammation to improve heart health.

In addition, yuzu peel may help prevent hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol levels) (7). The flavonoid hesperidin has cardioprotective properties and may prevent heart failure (8). However, more research is needed to understand the cardioprotective benefits of yuzu.

2. May Fight Against Cancer

The yuzu fruit is packed with antioxidants. The carotenoid compounds and vitamin C in yuzu may reduce cancer risk (2), (9), (10), (11). A review published in Nutrients suggests that citrus fruits intake can suppress the gene expression in many degenerative diseases like cancer. Consuming citrus fruit may reduce the risk of esophageal cancer by 37% (12), (13).

A study conducted by the Cheju National University College of Medicine, Korea, has found that a high intake of citrus fruits protects against stomach cancer. They can also reduce pancreatic and breast cancer risk (14), (15), (16).

3. Supports Brain Health

Consuming yuzu can prevent cognitive decline and cognitive dysfunction (17). The soothing fragrance of yuzu uplifts the mood and alleviates emotional stress (18), (19).

In addition, citrus flavonoids play a key role in preventing and treating neurodegenerative diseases (ND) (20). A study conducted by the University of Reading, United Kingdom, found that daily consumption of flavanone-rich foods for eight weeks improved cognitive function in older adults (21).

4. Reduces Inflammation

Yuzu peel contains limonene, an anti-inflammatory compound that may help treat bronchial asthma (22). It also has free radical scavenging properties and may prevent cell damage (23). The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of yuzu peel extract can inhibit colitis (inflammatory reaction in the colon) (24). The main flavonoid of yuzu fruit, hesperidin, also possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that help treat neurodegenerative diseases (25).

5. Improves Mood

The fragrance of yuzu fruit has similar aromatherapeutic benefits as the lavender scent. Studies confirmed that yuzu fragrance has aromatherapeutic benefits and may decrease anxiety and negative emotions and relaxes the mind (26), (27).

6. Enhances Skin Health

The ethanolic extracts of yuzu peel inhibit elastase (an enzyme that degrades elastin) activity and prevent skin aging (28). The flavonoids and other phenolic compounds in the peel extract promote procollagen synthesis and decrease melanin content to brighten the skin (29).

7. May Prevent Gout

Yuzu peel extract can be used as an anti-gout (anti-hyperuricemic) agent (28). However, further studies are required to prove this effect.

8. May Regulate Sugar Levels

A study on mice fed with a high-fat diet found that ethanol extract of yuzu peel had anti-diabetic effects and might help regulate blood sugar levels (30).

9. May Improve Bone Health

The flavanones in the ethanol extract of yuzu peel and its flavanones promote the development of osteoclasts, a type of bone cells that help repair and maintain bones. Researchers concluded that it could be a basis for developing new therapies for osteoporosis (31).

Yuzu is used as a flavoring agent in different cuisines for its excellent lemony aroma. Since it is super tart and sour, you cannot eat it as it is. Here are some tips to include yuzu in your diet.

How To Eat And Use Yuzu Fruit

You can use it as a replacement for lemons. Yuzu juice and zest are best for adding a refreshing lemony flavor to desserts, baked goods, and condiments. You can add yuzu juice to ceviche or use it as salad dressings and seafood marinades.

In East Asian cuisine, yuzu fruit juice, peel, and seeds are used as flavoring agents for seasonings, sauces, marmalades, lemonade, and ice creams.

Yuzu essential oil is also used in perfumes, lotions, and soaps.

Note: Do not ingest essential oils or use them undiluted.

Yuzu fruit juice is often used to prepare wine, cocktails, and other liquors. You can also buy yuzu juice for culinary use. However, ensure to read the label to check for the amount of added sugar. If possible, buy pure yuzu juice.

Here are three easy and delicious recipes you may try with yuzu fruit or juice.

Yuzu Recipes To Try

1. Yuzu Marmalade

What You Need

  •  6 yuzu fruits
  •  ¾ cup of granulated sugar
  •  3 tablespoons of yuzu juice

Process

  1.  Cut the yuzu fruit in half. Scoop out the flesh and seeds.
  2.  Soak the peels in a bowl of water for at least 30 minutes.
  3.  Drain the water and scrape and discard the white part of the rind with a spoon.
  4.  Thinly slice the yuzu peels.
  5.  Simmer the sliced peels in water for a few minutes. Repeat this process twice.
  6.  Drain the water, mix the yuzu peels, sugar, seeds, and juice over medium heat.
  7.  Cook over low to medium heat until the liquid reduces and thickens.
  8.  Turn the heat off while it is a little loose and remove the seeds.
  9.  Pour it into a prepared preserving jar.

2. Yuzu Cocktail

What You Need

  •  1 yuzu fruit
  •  2 ounces of gin
  •  2 ounces of club soda
  •  ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  •  ½ ounce of simple syrup
  •  1-2 drops of orange bitters (optional)

Process

  1.  Squeeze the yuzu into the cocktail shaker and add half of the rind.
  2.  Add all ingredients (except soda) and ice cubes and shake for 15-20 seconds.
  3.  Put fresh ice in a glass, strain the cocktail over the ice, top with club soda, and stir.
  4.  Garnish if desired.

3. Quinoa And Prawn Salad With Yuzu Dressing

What You Need

  •  4 teaspoons of yuzu juice
  •  500 mL vegetable stock
  •  180 g raw king prawns
  •  100 g quinoa
  •  5 teaspoons of cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  •  4 finely sliced spring onions
  •  2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
  •  1 tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar
  •  1 small ripe mango, diced
  •  50 g toasted pine nuts
  •  2 tablespoons of mixed seeds

Process

  1.  Boil the stock in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and cook for 15 minutes until tender.
  2.  Drain it and leave it aside.
  3.  Marinade the prawns with yuzu juice and set them aside.
  4.  Mix one tablespoon of yuzu juice with a tablespoon of rapeseed oil and vinegar for the dressing.
  5.  Fry the prawns on high heat for two minutes until pink.
  6.  Mix the cooked quinoa, parsley, spring onions, mango, pine nuts, mixed seeds, and the dressing.
  7.  Spoon the quinoa mixture into a serving bowl, top with the prawns, and serve.

Anything in moderation is good for health, and the same goes for yuzu fruit. Excess consumption may have some undesirable side effects. Let’s take a look.

Side Effects Of Yuzu Fruit

Excess consumption of yuzu may damage the tooth enamel and cause heartburn. This is due to the high citric acid concentration (33).

Though it is rare, yuzu may cause allergic reactions and other symptoms like (32):

  •  Itchy lips, tongue, and throat
  •  Watery eyes
  •  Wheezing
  •  Tightness in the chest
  •  Skin rashes
  •  Burning sensation
  •  Dry and flaky skin.
  •  Anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction (rarely)

To Conclude

Yuzu is mainly preferred for its aroma and is used to accent salads and other dishes. It is rarely eaten on its own as yuzu is extremely tart and sour. However, it is loaded with bioactive compounds and flavonoids that add to its therapeutic and medicinal benefits. However, ensure to consume yuzu in moderate amounts to avoid heartburn, teeth enamel damage, and allergic reactions. If you experience any side effects, consult a doctor immediately.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is yuzu a lemon or orange?

Yes, yuzu is an East Asian variety of aromatic lemon.

Can you eat raw yuzu?

Yes, you can eat raw yuzu fruit. The juice and zest of fresh and raw yuzu is often used as a flavoring agent.

Is yuzu a real fruit?

Yes. Yuzu is a real fruit – a cross between a mandarin orange and a lesser-known citrus fruit called papeda.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Bioactive Compounds of Juice and Peels of Yuzu Fruits Cultivated in Switzerland
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30376926/
  2. Bioactive Components and Health-Promoting Properties of Yuzu (Citrus ichangensis × C. Reticulate)
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/87559129.2014.902958
  3. Inhibitory Effects of Yuzu and Its Components on Human Platelet Aggregation
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273463847_Inhibitory_Effects_of_Yuzu_and_Its_Components_on_Human_Platelet_Aggregation
  4. Anti-platelet effects of yuzu extract and its component
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22005257/
  5. Anti-platelet effects of yuzu extract and its component
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22005257/
  6. Antioxidant and anti-platelet activities of flavonoid-rich fractions of three citrus fruits from Korea
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4837764/
  7. Citrus junos Tanaka peel ameliorates hepatic lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells and in mice fed a high-cholesterol diet
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27912736/
  8. Preventive effect of yuzu and hesperidin on left ventricular remodeling and dysfunction in rat permanent left anterior descending coronary artery occlusion model
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25559243/
  9. Citrus Peel Flavonoids as Potential Cancer Prevention Agents
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7199889/
  10. Comparative carotenoid compositions during maturation and their antioxidative capacities of three citrus varieties
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26593526/
  11. The Benefits and Risks of Certain Dietary Carotenoids that Exhibit both Anti- and Pro-Oxidative Mechanisms—A Comprehensive Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139534/
  12. Chemopreventive Agents and Inhibitors of Cancer Hallmarks: May Citrus Offer New Perspectives?
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133085/
  13. Citrus Fruit Intake Substantially Reduces the Risk of Esophageal Cancer
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4616874/
  14. Citrus fruit intake and stomach cancer risk: a quantitative systematic review
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18373174/
  15. Citrus fruit intake and pancreatic cancer risk: a quantitative systematic review
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18824947/
  16. Citrus Fruit Intake and Breast Cancer Risk: A Quantitative Systematic Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3625773/
  17. Yuzu extract prevents cognitive decline and impaired glucose homeostasis in β-amyloid-infused rats
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23719224/
  18. Effects of olfactory stimulation from the fragrance of the Japanese citrus fruit yuzu (Citrus junos Sieb. ex Tanaka) on mood states and salivary chromogranin A as an endocrinologic stress marker
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24742226/
  19. Aromatic effects of a Japanese citrus fruit-yuzu (Citrus junos Sieb. ex Tanaka)-on psychoemotional states and autonomic nervous system activity during the menstrual cycle: a single-blind randomized controlled crossover study
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27103942/
  20. Neurodegenerative Diseases: Might Citrus Flavonoids Play a Protective Role?
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27706034/
  21. Chronic consumption of flavanone-rich orange juice is associated with cognitive benefits: an 8-wk randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial in healthy older adults
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25733635/
  22. Anti-inflammatory effects of limonene from yuzu (Citrus junos Tanaka) essential oil on eosinophils
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20492298/
  23. The functional evaluation of waste yuzu (Citrus junos) seeds
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24336775/
  24. Yuzu (Citrus junos Tanaka) Peel Attenuates Dextran Sulfate Sodium-induced Murine Experimental Colitis
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29459515/
  25. Yuzu and Hesperidin Ameliorate Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption during Hypoxia via Antioxidant Activity
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32916895/
  26. Does Japanese Citrus Fruit Yuzu (Citrus junos Sieb. ex Tanaka) Fragrance Have Lavender-Like Therapeutic Effects That Alleviate Premenstrual Emotional Symptoms? A Single-Blind Randomized Crossover Study
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28481623/
  27. Effectiveness of aromatherapy in decreasing maternal anxiety for a sick child undergoing infusion in a paediatric clinic
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25453522/
  28. Identification and Extraction Optimization of Active Constituents in Citrus junos Seib ex TANAKA Peel and Its Biological Evaluation
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6412224/
  29. Preparation Characterization and Biological Activities of Topical Anti-Aging Ingredients in a Citrus junos Callus Extract
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29232889/
  30. Citrus junos Tanaka Peel Extract Exerts Antidiabetic Effects via AMPK and PPAR-γ both In Vitro and In Vivo in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23762167/
  31. Effects of yuja peel extract and its flavanones on osteopenia in ovariectomized rats and osteoblast differentiation
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27506630/
  32. Allergy to citrus juice
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257883869_Allergy_to_citrus_juice
  33. Citric acid consumption and the human dentition
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/267657/

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