The health benefits of lime include weight loss, improved digestion, reduced respiratory and urinary disorders, relief from constipation, and treatment of scurvy, piles, peptic ulcer, gout, and gums. It also aids in skin care and eye care.
Lime, bearing the scientific name Citrus aurantifolia, has been well known for its medicinal properties and uses in the treatment of various ailments for ages. Due to its unique flavor, the lime fruit is widely consumed all over the world and has various culinary and non-culinary uses. It is also used in the preparation of various cosmetic and health products. Extracted from the lime’s peel or skin, lime essential oil is extensively used in aromatherapy and perfumes.
Lime Nutrition Facts
Lime consists of water and is an extremely good source of vitamin C. It is also rich in dietary fiber and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, copper, magnesium, and phosphorous. The best thing about lime is that it has the least amount of calories, carbohydrates, and fats. Moreover, lime peel and pulp are also rich in diverse phytochemicals like polyphenols and terpenes.
Health Benefits of Lime
Limes can do a lot more for our skin and overall health than just adding a refreshing zest to any drink, cleansing our body, and boosting immunity. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits they offer.
Use of lime is a well-known cure for scurvy, a disease caused due to the deficiency of vitamin C. It is characterized by frequent infections that show as normal cold symptoms, cracked lips and lip corners, and ulcers on the tongue and in the mouth. You can also diagnose scurvy if you see spongy, swollen, and bleeding gums.
In the past, soldiers and sailors were given lime to keep them safe from scurvy, which was a horrible and potentially fatal disease back then. Even now, it is distributed among the workers in polluted environments like furnaces, painting shops, heat treatments, cement factories, mines, and among other vocations which have dangerous work environments to protect them from scurvy. A moderate intake of natural vitamin C can easily be sourced from limes and can keep you away from scurvy.
Lime juice can be consumed orally and used in topical applications. It rejuvenates the skin and protects it from infections. It also helps reduce body odor due to the presence of high amounts of vitamin C and flavonoids in it. Both lime juice and lime essential oil are high in antioxidants and have antibiotic and disinfectant properties. When applied externally on the skin, its acids scrub out dead cells and cure dandruff, rashes, and bruises. It can also be used to create a refreshing bathing experience if its juice or oil is mixed in your bath.
Aids in Digestion
Lime has an irresistible aroma which causes your mouth to water and this aids primary digestion (the digestive saliva floods your mouth even before you taste it). The natural acidity in lime does the rest. While they break down the macromolecules of the food, the flavonoids, the compounds found in the fragrant oils extracted from lime, stimulate the digestive system and increase secretion of digestive juices, bile, and acids. This flood of flavonoids also stimulates peristaltic motion. This is the reason behind lemon pickle being consumed along with lunch and dinner in India and various neighboring countries.
A glass of warm water with a full lime’s worth of juice is an excellent weight reducer as well as a brilliant refresher and antioxidant drink. The citric acid present in lime is an excellent fat burner. You can consume two glasses of warm water with lime juice a day and see remarkable results within a week.
Primarily, the ample amount of acid present in lime helps clear the excretory system by washing and cleaning the tracts, just as some acids are used to clean floors and toilets. The roughage in lime is also helpful in easing constipation. An overdose of lime juice with salt also acts as an excellent purgative without any side effects, thereby relieving constipation.
According to the American Diabetes Association, limes and other citrus fruits are considered a superfood for diabetes for a number of reasons. Mainly, high levels of soluble fiber found in limes make it an ideal dietary support to help regulate the body’s absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, reducing the occurrence of blood sugar spikes that are a serious risk to diabetic patients. Also, limes and other citrus fruits have a low glycemic index, which means they will not cause an unexpected spike in glucose levels.
Prevents Heart Diseases
That same soluble fiber which can help diabetics maintain their blood sugar levels can also lower blood pressure and eliminate the presence of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol). Furthermore, soluble fiber can cut down on inflammation of the blood vessels, which is a known preventative measure against heart diseases, heart attacks, and strokes.
Heals Peptic Ulcer
In addition to vitamin C, lime contains special compounds called flavonoids (limonoids such as limonin glucoside) which have antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, antibiotic, and detoxifying properties that stimulate the healing process of peptic and oral ulcers.
Treats Respiratory Disorders
The flavonoid-rich oil that is extracted from limes is extensively used in anti-congestive medicines such as balms, vaporizers, and inhalers due to the presence of kaempferol. Just scratching the peel of a lime and inhaling it gives immediate relief from congestion and nausea.
One of the many causes of arthritis is an excess build-up of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is one of the waste products that normal urination clears out of the body, but unfortunately, when too much of it builds up, it can make the pain and inflammation from arthritis even worse. The citric acid found in limes is a solvent in which uric acid can dissolve, increasing the amounts that are eliminated in the urine. Citrus fruits, in general, have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for a number of inflammatory issues.
Vitamin-C again! Its antioxidant properties protect eyes from aging and macular degeneration. On top of that, flavonoids help protect them from infections.
If someone is suffering from a fever, limes or lime juice can be of great importance. Citrus fruits, in general, have fever-reducing qualities because of vitamin C found in high concentrations in them, which naturally lowers the temperature of the body.
There are two main causes of gout. The first source is the accumulation of free radicals in the body, and the second is an accumulation of toxins in the body, primarily uric acid. Limes can help prevent both of these causes. It is a wonderful source of antioxidants & detoxifiers (vitamin C and flavonoids) which reduce the number of free radicals as well as detoxify the body.
The root cause of gum problems is a deficiency of vitamin C (a condition called scurvy, which results in bleeding and spongy gums) and microbial growth. Sometimes, the ulcers come from physical trauma. In all of these situations, limes can help. The vitamin C in it cures scurvy, the flavonoids inhibit microbial growth, and potassium heals ulcers and wounds.
Since lime helps heal ulcers and wounds in the digestive and excretory system while providing relief from constipation, it eradicates all the root causes of piles. Piles are a different term for hemorrhoids, an uncomfortable condition that occurs in the anal region, and can result in bleeding and discomfort during excretion. It can also lead to certain forms of cancer, and limes can help prevent their formation or recurrence.
Defends against Cholera
Cholera is a dangerous and deadly disease and limes and other citrus fruits can help defend against this fatal condition. The lime juice, when added to infected water, works effectively as a disinfectant. Numerous studies were done on this application of lime juice, particularly following the horrible outbreak of cholera in Guinea-Bissau in 1994.
Treats Urinary Disorders
The high potassium content in limes is very effective in the removal of toxic substances and the precipitates deposited in kidneys and the urinary bladder. The disinfectant properties of lime also help cure infections in the urinary system. Furthermore, it stops prostrate growth (very common in males above 40) and clears blockage of urine caused due to the buildup of calcium in the urinary tract.
Uses of Limes
Limes have many surprising medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic uses. Below are some of them.
Culinary Uses – Lime helps enhance the taste of any regular food. When pan-fried white fish is garnished with thinly sliced lime, it makes the dish more delicious. Lime juice adds a tart flavor to soups, salads, vegetables, and also baked foods. Squeezing some lime on roasted chicken can add a tangy taste to it. It is also widely used in the preparation of desserts, pickles, jams, jellies, snacks, and candies.
Cleansing Agent – It can easily increase the cleansing properties of any facial cleanser or shampoo by merely adding 2-3 drops of it. Diffusing lime essential oil can cleanse the air and elevate your mood.
Aromatherapy & Perfumes – Lime essential oil is used in aromatherapy and perfumes for its fragrance and its stimulating effect on the body and mind.
Beverages – Lime is the most favorite ingredient when it comes to cocktails, sorbets, and fresh beverages.
Cosmetic Products – Lime is a fragrant component and works best on our skin. It is thus used as a fixative in cosmetic products like body oil, hair oil, toothpaste, beauty soap, disinfectant, mouthwash, and deodorant.
Medicinal Uses – Because of limes’ antibacterial, antiseptic, and disinfectant properties, the peel, oil, and juice of the fruit have medicinal uses. It is also used in making anti-congestive medicines and to treat severe diarrhea.