What is Yuzu?
When you frequent your typical supermarket, stands of grapefruit, mandarin orange, and lime are aplenty when yuzu, a cross between these three citrus heavyweights, is harder to come by. Impactful in flavor and in health benefits, yuzu is the small citrus fruit that has paved its way into our fruit baskets here in the West, but has been around for centuries in China, Korea, and Japan.
Originally from the Yangtze River region in China, it was introduced in Korea and then Japan during the Nara period (710-794); however, nowadays it is commonly used in Japan in the realms of culinary and wellness. (1)
For example, a tradition that dates back to 18th century Japan, still often practiced today in the winter solstice (toji), is known as a yuzuyu: a hot yuzu bath. The whole fruits are enclosed in bags and dispersed through the hot water to release the fresh soothing scent and properties. This bathing ritual is believed to fight off colds, increase circulation, and smooth the skin. (2) Also, historically its culinary appearances in Japan are common in the popular ponzu dipping sauce, a blend of yuzu and soy sauce. It is also found in yuzu hachimitsu, a syrup consumed as a hot sweet drink when mixed with water, and yuzu liqueur. (3)
Rarely consumed in its raw form, yuzu contains 4.5% citric acid, three times more than a regular lemon, and only 18% of the fruit is juice. (4) As the fruit yields a small amount of juice, yet has a bold flavorful skin, the rind is commonly used in cooking to flavor soups, steamed dishes, cocktails, and pastries. Its floral aroma and invigorating tang are the enticing properties that have made this exotic fruit squeeze its way into the labs of mixologists, chef’s test kitchens, and even in spas worldwide.
Ginger Yuzu: Your Springtime Boost
Citrus and warm ginger are reminiscent of brighter days ahead, so it’s no surprise that both yuzu and ginger’s therapeutic fragrances have been shown to have mood-boosting and stress-reducing properties. Prized for their ability to uplift the spirit and increase an overall sense of well-being, both yuzu and ginger have been linked to improving mood, decreasing levels of anger, anxiety, and fatigue. (7) (8)
Ginger is among the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet! A staple in the confucian diet, ginger is consumed for health & wellness and has been known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. As well, ginger can be an aid in reducing nausea. (9)
Green leafy vegetables, berries, ginger and turmeric, have long been our go-to foods for anti-inflammatory benefits. Refresh your anti-inflammatory lineup with our Ginger Yuzu blend, containing natural citrus peels and whole ginger root pieces to revitalize and ground. A test-tube study in the Journal of Food Science showed that limonene, a compound that is concentrated in the citrus peels, helped reduce inflammation and prevented the formation of free radicals, which can cause inflammation and chronic disease. (10) Thanks to these anti-inflammatory properties, citrus fruits may also help reduce the risk of chronic disease, such as cancer and coronary heart disease. (11)
Boost Your Brain
In addition to the brain-boosting foods such as fatty fish, fruits, vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, and walnuts; adding citrus fruits and ginger will not only zest up your recipes, it can also benefit your mind!
Citrus fruits have been hailed for many benefits, including improving the health of your brain. (12) Yuzu fruit contains certain beneficial compounds that have been shown to potentially prevent cognitive decline by reducing the buildup of beta amyloid proteins in the brain. (14) These proteins contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. (15) Additionally, the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain. (13)
(1) Lasnier, Yan. “Japanese Yuzu: The Nation's Favorite Citrus Fruit.” Byfood, 2020, https://www.byfood.com/blog/culture/japanese-yuzu-citrus.
(2) Link, Rachael. “Yuzu Fruit: 6 Health Benefits of a Unique Citrus Fruit.” Dr.Axe, 2017, https://draxe.com/nutrition/yuzu-fruit/.
(3) Japan Experience.“JAPANESE CITRUS FRUITS.” Japan Experience, 2018, https://www.japan-experience.com/to-know/chopsticks-at-the-ready/japanese-citrus.
(4) Lasnier, Yan. “Japanese Yuzu: The Nation's Favorite Citrus Fruit.” Byfood, 2020, https://www.byfood.com/blog/culture/japanese-yuzu-citrus.
(5) Wikipedia. “Yuzu.” Wikipedia, 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuzu. Accessed 29 03 2021.
(6) Yoo, Kyung Mi, et al. “Variation in Major Antioxidants and Total Antioxidant Activity of Yuzu (Citrus JunosSieb Ex Tanaka) during Maturation and between Cultivars.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 52, no.19, Sept. 2004, pp. 5907–5913, 10.1021/jf0498158.
(7) Matsumoto, Tamaki, et al. “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.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 23, no. 6, June 2017, pp. 461–470, 10.1089/acm.2016.0328.
(8) Matsumoto, Tamaki, et al. “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.” BioPsychoSocial Medicine, vol. 10, no. 1, 21 Apr. 2016, 10.1186/s13030-016-0063-7.
(9) Matsumoto, Tamaki, et al. “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.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 20, no. 6, June 2014, pp. 500–506, 10.1089/acm.2013.0425.
(10) Hirota, Ryoji, et al. “Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Limonene from Yuzu (Citrus Junos Tanaka) Essential Oil on Eosinophils.” Journal of Food Science, vol. 75, no. 3, Apr. 2010, pp. H87–H92, 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01541.x.
(11) Minamisawa, Mayumi, et al. “The Functional Evaluation of Waste Yuzu (Citrus Junos) Seeds.” Food Funct., vol. 5, no. 2, 2014, pp. 330–336, 10.1039/c3fo60440c.
(12) Link, Rachael. “Yuzu Fruit: 6 Health Benefits of a Unique Citrus Fruit.” Dr.Axe, 2017, https://draxe.com/nutrition/yuzu-fruit/.
(13) Yang, Hye Jeong, et al. “Yuzu Extract Prevents Cognitive Decline and Impaired Glucose Homeostasis in β-Amyloid–Infused Rats.” The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 143, no. 7, 29 May 2013, pp. 1093–1099, 10.3945/jn.112.173401.
(14) Murphy, M. Paul, and Harry LeVine. “Alzheimer’s Disease and the Amyloid-β Peptide.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, vol. 19, no. 1, 6 Jan. 2010, pp. 311–323, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2813509/, 10.3233/jad-2010-1221.