The health benefits of lime include weight loss, improved digestion, reduced respiratory disorders, enhanced immunity, relief from constipation, as well as prevention from cancer and kidney stones. Lime is also used in the treatment of scurvy, piles, peptic ulcer, gout, and gums. It also aids in skin care, hair care, and eye care.
What is Lime?
Lime (Citrus aurantifolia) is a small, round green color hybrid citrus fruit. Due to its acidic sour juice and unique aroma, the lime fruit is widely used in various cuisines to accent flavor. It is a common ingredient in Mexican, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisine. There are several species of citrus fruits which are known as limes. These include Key lime, kaffir lime, wild lime, desert lime, and Persian lime.
This zesty tropical fruit has been well known for its medicinal properties for ages. Lime finds its application in cosmetic and health products too. Extracted from the lime’s peel or skin, lime essential oil is extensively used in aromatherapy and perfumes.
Predominantly known for its ascorbic acid reserves, lime provides 32% of the daily recommended vitamin C intake. It has high water content and a good source of minerals like calcium, iron, copper, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium as well as vitamins like folate, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
The best thing about lime is that it has the least amount of calories, carbohydrates, and fats. A single serving (67 g) of lime provides 20 kcal of energy. Moreover, lime peel and pulp are also rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, flavonol glycosides like kaempferol, as well as diverse phytochemicals like polyphenols, limonene, and terpenes.
Health Benefits of Lime
Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits of lime:
Prevents Heart Diseases
Soluble fiber and limonin found in lime help lower blood pressure. This helps cut down on inflammation of the blood vessels, which prevents heart diseases. Also, potassium and magnesium in lime improves blood circulation and boosts heart health.
Lowers Risk of Stroke
Vitamin C in lime juice and lime peels lowers ischemic stroke risks, especially for women. It also helps slow down the progression of coronary heart diseases like atherosclerosis by decreasing fatty streaks in arteries.
Hesperidin, a flavonoid present in lime, helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body.
Lime scavenges free radicals and reduces oxidative stress. Antioxidant-packed phytochemicals like flavonoids, flavones, triterpenoid, and limonoids in lime have potent cancer-fighting properties. They can stop the growth of various cancer cells preventing colon, breast, prostate, pancreatic, stomach, lungs, kidneys, and blood cancer. It is also capable of eradicating cancer cells in some cases.
A glass of warm water with the juice of an entire lime is an excellent weight reducer. You can consume two glasses of warm water with lime juice a day and see remarkable results within a week.
Lime strengthens the body’s line of defense and helps ward off infections and diseases like malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia. Also, vitamin C in the citrus fruit helps to battle a cough, cold, and flu and boosts the body’s overall immunity.
Prevents Kidney Stone
The citric acid in fresh or concentrated lime juice helps remove and prevent kidney stones by increasing urinary citrate and urine volume.
A study showed that consuming lemonade for nearly four years decrease kidney stone formation from an average of one stone per year down to just 0.13 per year.
Increases Iron Absorption
Vitamin C in lime when paired with foods rich in iron helps maximize the body’s ability to absorb iron. Those suffering from iron-deficiency anemia symptoms like dizziness, brittle nails, hair loss, and fatigue should add lime to their diet!
Lime juice which contains healthy acids, helps remove dead cells when applied to the skin. It builds collagen, rejuvenates the skin, and improves overall texture. It also protects the skin from infections as well as cures rashes, acne, pimples, bruises, and blemishes. Lime fights skin damage caused due to sun, dust, and pollution. Its antioxidant and astringent properties help reduce wrinkles, as well as cure dark spots, skin tan, and open pores.
Treats Scurvy – Ref
For ages, 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.
Prevents Gum Bleeding
Vitamin C and flavonoids in lime inhibit microbial growth, which helps prevent gum bleeding.
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 of lime does the rest. While they break down the macromolecules of the food, the flavonoids stimulate the digestive system and increase secretion of digestive juices, bile, and acids. This also stimulates peristaltic motion.
Note: This is the reason behind lemon pickle being consumed along with lunch and dinner in India and various neighboring countries. Also, drinking a glass of warm water with 2 teaspoons of lime juice about 30 minutes before meals helps prevent heartburn or acid reflux symptoms.
The ample amount of acid present in lime helps clean the excretory system. 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.
The high levels of soluble fiber found in lime make it an ideal dietary support to help regulate the body’s absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This helps reduce 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. This is the reason why the American Diabetes Association considers limes and other citrus fruits a superfood for diabetes.
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. The acids in lime react with the gastric juices of the stomach resulting alkaline reactions. The flavonoids and the alkaline reaction collectively 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. Vitamin C also prevents the trigger of asthma caused by air pollution.
One of the many causes of arthritis is an excess build-up of uric acid in the body. The citric acid found in limes is a solvent in which uric acid can dissolve. Increasing citric acid in the body helps eliminate excess uric acid from the urine. Citrus fruits, in general, have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for a number of inflammatory issues.
Other benefits of lime include:
The antioxidant properties of lime protect eyes from aging and macular degeneration. On top of that, flavonoids help protect them from infections.
There are two main causes of gout. The first source is the accumulation of free radicals and the second is the accumulation of toxins in the body, primarily uric acid. Limes can help prevent both of the causes, due to the presence of abundant antioxidants, vitamin C, and flavonoids.
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 help prevent their formation or recurrence.
Defends against Cholera
The flavonol glycosides in lime have antibiotic properties which protect the body against various bacteria and microbes including Vibrio cholera. The lime juice, when added to infected water, works effectively as a disinfectant. Also, regular intake of lime juice by patients exposed to cholera-infected water can reduce the symptoms of this fatal disease.
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.
Antimicrobial and Antibacterial
Lime intake protects the body against various microbes, virus, and bacteria including Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and Salmonella bacteria infections.
Applying lime juice to the scalp and hair has tremendous benefits like shiny, healthy, and dandruff-free hair as well as a healthy scalp.
Apply lime juice to your hair and expose your hair to sunlight for an hour. Then, rinse it. This will make your hair 2-3 shades lighter in color.
Boosts Women’s Health
Calcium and folate present in lime are two important nutrients for women in menopausal and child-bearing age.
Uses of Limes
Limes have many surprising medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic uses. Below are some of them.
- Culinary Uses: Lime juice adds a tart flavor to soups, salads, vegetables, and also baked foods. Squeezing some lime on roasted chicken or pan-fried white fish 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.
- 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 used 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.
Side Effects of Lime:
Although limes do not have major side effects, excessive intake may cause some issues like:
- Skin allergy: Itchiness, redness, and swelling.
- Food allergy: Hives, asthma, and flushed skin.
- Eroded enamel: Overconsumption of limes may erode the tooth enamel and increase its sensitivity due to the high amount of citric acid.
- Phytophotodermatitis: In some cases, applying the lime juice to the skin directly may increase skin sensitivity to UV rays, resulting in phytophotodermatitis.
- Migraine trigger: Tyramine present in the citrus fruit can cause migraine trigger in some people.
Note: It is important to wash the outer peel of limes even if you do not plan to use it as the peel usually has bacterial deposits. These may get transferred inside the fruit if kept unwashed.
Other than that add this zesty fruit to your diet and enjoy all its nutrition!