Difference Between Lemon & Lime

While some people think of a lemon and a lime as interchangeable, there are a number of differences between these two fruits, as well as unique health benefits to both!

Difference Between Lemon and Lime

A lemon is scientifically known as Citrus limon, and is the fruit of the lemon tree, which is a small evergreen tree that is native to Asia. In comparison, limes are actually a hybridized citrus fruit, and come in many different varieties around the world. The shape of a lemon is ellipsoidal, and the ripened fruit is a bright yellow in color. People cultivate this fruit for culinary reasons, due to the tart, refreshing flavor of lemons, but lemons are also famed for their use as a cleaning product and an element in natural healing.

Lemons are high in citric acid and vitamin C, as well as a wide range of other phytochemicals, tannins and polyphenolic compounds. This gives lemons and lemon juice a powerful effect on human health. Lemons have slightly more vitamin C than limes, although their nutritional content is very similar in other respects. Lemons are also slightly less acidic than limes on the pH scale.

Although some people mistakenly think that limes are simply lemons that haven’t ripened yet, they are sorely mistaken.  Key limes are also known as the “bartender’s lime”, and are some of the most famous varieties in the world. In comparison, limes are slightly smaller than most lemons, but share the slightly ellipsoidal or oval shape of lemons, adding to the confusion between the two varieties.  Limes are slightly higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein than lemons, but the difference is negligible. In terms of taste, limes tend to be more sour or tart, in comparison to lemons, owing to the lower sugar content in limes.

Taste of Lemon and Lime

Lemons typically have more sugar, which often gives them a sweeter flavor than limes, whereas limes are tart, making them ideal for cocktails and beverages with a bit more bite. Eating pure lemon juice or lime juice can be equally unpleasant experiences, which is why they are usually mixed with other drinks or ingredients before being consumed.

Health Benefits of Lemon and Lime

While the two fruits clearly have a number of differences, in size, color, nutritional value and species, the two citrus fruits do have a great deal in common as well. These two fruit varieties share many of the same health benefits, as outlined below, making them some of the most popular and important citrus fruits you can add to your diet.

Improve the Immune System: The reason vitamin C is such an important element of a healthy diet is because of its effect on the immune system. Also known as ascorbic acid, this critical vitamins stimulates the production of white blood cells, which are the first line of defense for the body when it is attacked by an illness or infection. The vitamin C content in a single lemon or lime represents 64% and 35%, respectively, of the daily recommended amount.

Speed Healing: Vitamin C is also a critical vitamin in the production of collagen, which goes on to produce all the muscle, skin cells, tissue and bone throughout the body. Without the vitamin C of lemons and limes, recovery from illness and injury would be much slower.

Optimize Digestion: Lemons and limes both contain high levels of dietary fiber. With about 3 grams of fiber in each fruit, they represent about 10% of the daily recommended amount of fiber, which can bulk up the stool, reduce constipation, and eliminate excess gas and bloating.

Boost Circulation: Both of these citrus fruits contain significant levels of iron, which is an important element in hemoglobin. Without proper iron levels, people will suffer from anemia, characterized by weakness, fatigue, cognitive confusion and light-headedness.

Prevent Cancer: Citrus fruits like lemons and limes contain high levels of other antioxidants, besides vitamin C, and these phytonutrients can counteract the effects of free radicals, which cause oxidative stress and increase your risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer.

Aid in Weight Loss: The high fiber level and low calorie count makes these citrus fruits ideal for weight-loss efforts. The fruits can make you feel full, as a result of the fiber, and won’t elevate your calorie count to feel satiated. This will cut back on snacking between meals and overeating, perfect for someone trying to shed some pounds!

Which is a Better Choice Between Lemon and Lime?

Lemons have a slight edge in terms of nutrients, taste and versatility in cooking and beverages. Limes do have high concentrations of vitamin C and other antioxidants, and can be used in many ways in cooking and cocktail-making. However, while both of these fruits are very good for overall health, lemons would likely win in the nutritional battle!

References
  1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814603002723
  2. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/23285822
  3. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006291X98985928
  4. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2012.00201.x/full
  5. http://search.proquest.com/openview/d6c2b9ffd1a00cc7b6a843fbdd04ea20/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=2035018
  6. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/end.2007.0304

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