Updated: Jan 16, 2020
The health benefits of lemons are often celebrated, but don’t overlook the benefits of lime. If you haven’t had limes in a while, here’s why you should give this citrus fruit another look.
Limes typically don’t receive the same attention year-round as their yellow sibling, the lemon. The summer season is usually when they get the most shine, thanks to their presence in key lime pie, as a mixer for cocktails, and as a finishing touch on grilled meats, fish, and guacamole. But, the health benefits of lime should be celebrated all year long.
Limes likely originated in Indonesia and were taken by Arabian traders to India, the eastern Mediterranean, and Africa around 1000 C.E., according to Britannica.com. They were introduced to western Mediterranean countries in the 12th and 13th centuries, and then introduced to the West Indies by Christopher Columbus in 1493. From there, they were distributed to Mexico and Florida.
Common varieties of lime include kaffir, key, and Tahiti, which vary in flavour between sweet and acidic. Some varieties are dubbed as “limes” but aren’t actually limes; examples include Rangpur (a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange), Spanish (a member of the soapberry family), and musk (a cross between kumquat and mandarin orange).
According to the USDA, one lime contains 20 calories, 0.47 grams of protein, 0.13 grams of fat, 7.06 grams of carbohydrates, 1.9 grams of fiber and 1.13 grams of sugar. It contains 19.5 milligrams of vitamin C, as well as small amounts of iron, potassium, zinc, and calcium.
The 8 Benefits:
#1 Limes can benefit your digestive system.
The carbohydrates in limes are mostly made of soluble fiber in the form of pectin. Soluble fiber is known to slow digestion, which keeps your blood sugar stable, and inhibit colon cancer tumor growth. Pectin is also known to promote healthy cholesterol levels, according to LiveStrong.com. And like other citrus fruits, limes contain a nutrient in their peels and oils called d-limonene, which can relieve symptoms of indigestion and GERD. For more information about the benefits of d-limonene and pectin, check out “Improve Your Cholesterol Numbers with Citrus Fruits.”
#2 They’re healthy for your heart.
Not only do limes contain pectin, which positively benefits your cholesterol levels, they’re also rich in vitamin C, which is known to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Limes also contain potassium, which, according to the American Heart Association, can help to relieve tension in the walls of your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. For more on potassium, check out “Potassium Benefits Your Heart, Bones, and More.”
#3 Limes lower your cancer risk.
As mentioned earlier, the d-limonene found in citrus fruits have multiple health benefits and one of them is cancer prevention. Limes also contain a flavonoid called naringenin, which, according to a recent study, has strong cancer-preventing properties. Citrus pulp and juice also contain high amounts of beta-cryptoxanthin and hesperidin, which are plant compounds found to prevent malignant tumors from forming in rodents.
#4 They provide protection against kidney stones.
Research confirms that the citric acid in fruits like lime, lemon, melon, and orange may prevent kidney stones from forming: “Patients with low urinary citrate should be encouraged to increase their consumption of foods high in citric acid, such as lemon and lime juice,” according to information posted by the National Institutes of Health. For more on kidney stone prevention, check out “Natural Remedies for Kidney Stones.”
#5 Limes are good for your complexion.
Dermatologists love vitamin C for its positive effect on the production of collagen, a protein that helps prevent skin from wrinkling and is often broken down by exposure to the sun and pollution. For more about collagen, check out “14 Foods That Prevent Wrinkles and Improve Skin.”
The juice of limes and lemons can also be used as a natural remedy for acne because of their astringent and antibacterial properties, which can exfoliate the skin and prevent pores from getting clogged.
#6 They protect against anemia.
Anemia is a blood disorder often caused by an iron deficiency. Limes don’t contain much iron, but because they’re high in vitamin C, they can help increase the amount of iron your body is able to absorb.
#7 Limes have immune-boosting properties.
The vitamin C in limes can boost your immune system, thus reducing the duration of your cold. Studies have shown that limes can have the same effects on influenza as well.
#8 They may help relieve asthma symptoms triggered by the common cold.
Vitamin C comes to the rescue again: Studies show that those who consume higher amounts of vitamin C have a lower risk of developing asthma. A study published in Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology found that participants whose asthma attacks were triggered by a respiratory infection were able to decrease the occurrence of an asthma attack by 78 percent by taking one gram of vitamin C a day.