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A Japanese citrus called yuzu fruit is one of the trending flavors of the year.
I am always on the lookout for new beverages, especially those of the sparkling variety. Recently, on a trip to Trader Joe’s, I came across this Sparkling Coconut Water with Yuzu. I had never heard of yuzu fruit but after a little research, I found it popping up in so many different places between yuzu hot sauce, yuzu drinks, and other types of recipes.
What is this trending flavor, what can you expect nutrition-wise from yuzu, and where can you buy it?
What is yuzu fruit?
Yuzu is a unique citrus fruit, sometimes called Japanese citrus, that is native to East Asia. It has been traditionally cultivated in Japan, Korea, and China for centuries. The fruit is small and round, with a thin, yellow, or green skin and a sour and slightly sweet flesh.
What does yuzu taste like? This citrus fruit has a unique, complex flavor and fragrance that is often described as a combination of lemon, mandarin orange, and grapefruit. Due to the citrus flavor, it is frequently added to hot sauce, beverages, and other sauces.
Health benefits of yuzu fruit
But, is yuzu fruit healthy? What can you expect from yuzu nutrition?
In digging a bit deeper, I was surprised to find that there are many potential health benefits associated with yuzu fruit. Here are a few of the most notable ones:
High in vitamin C
Yuzu is an excellent source of vitamin C, with a single yuzu fruit providing over 100% of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in immune system function, collagen synthesis, and skin health. It is also a potent antioxidant that helps protect the body against free radicals and oxidative stress.
May support healthy blood flow
Some research suggests that yuzu may help reduce markers of platelet aggregation, lowering the risk of blood clots, a cause of heart attacks or strokes. This effect may be due to the impact of the various flavonoids it contains, such as rutin, narirutin, quercetin, hesperidin, tangeretin, and naringin.
May improve cholesterol levels
Yuzu has been shown to have cholesterol-lowering effects in animal studies. One study found that yuzu extract reduced total cholesterol and triglycerides in rats with high cholesterol. Further research is needed to determine if yuzu has a significant impact on cholesterol levels in humans.
May have anti-inflammatory effects
Yuzu contains plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, (the flavonoids discussed above) which may help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a normal immune response, but chronic inflammation has been linked to a range of chronic health problems.
May have anti-cancer effects
Some research suggests that yuzu may have anti-cancer properties. Yuzu contains terpenoids called citrus limonoids, which have been linked to reductions in tumor growth for certain types of cancer. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the potential for yuzu to be used as a cancer treatment.
May improve skin health
Yuzu is rich in antioxidants, which may help protect the skin against free radicals and environmental stressors. Vitamin C is one of these antioxidants that is well-documented to play a role in skin health. Some people use yuzu in their skincare routine, as it is believed to have skin-brightening and anti-aging effects.
Just like any citrus fruit, yuzu is a healthy vitamin C-rich option with many potential health benefits that still need to be discovered.
Where to buy yuzu
While yuzu is a popular fruit in Asia it is not quite as common here in the United States, which means it can be difficult to locate fresh yuzu fruit. Additionally, yuzu cannot be imported from Asia, which means supplies are limited. But it is grown in California and can sometimes be found at grocery stores in the US.
It is in season during the fall and winter. For now, you will likely find yuzu as a flavor, essential oil, or juice. But since fresh yuzu is challenging to locate, you can purchase yuzu extract for use in recipes.
How to use yuzu
In addition to these potential health benefits, yuzu is also a versatile and delicious ingredient in cooking and drinks. The fruit itself is quite sour, so like lemons or limes, it is not typically eaten raw.
It is often used to add flavor to sauces, marinades, dressings, desserts, and cocktails. Yuzu is also used in traditional Japanese cuisine, such as yuzu kosho (a spicy condiment) and in yuzu-flavored sake.
A few easy to locate yuzu products you might want to try include:
Expect to see more of this tasty citrus in the future and I am here for it. Yuzu is a nutritious and flavorful fruit that may offer a range of health benefits. While more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of yuzu, it is clear that yuzu is a healthy and tasty flavor to add to your diet.
Want to learn more about the top 2023 Food Trends? Check out our summary of trends to look out for.