Limes are fruits from the citrus family, usually round with bright green skin. It has a sour taste and full of nutrients that benefit your health in many ways. Limes are versatile and can be used in many foods or eaten fresh as it is.
Limes have a rich nutritional profile – with important nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. These fruits are of several species, including Persian lime (Citrus latifolia), Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia), and makrut lime (Citrus hytrix). Notably, each of them have key differences. For example, the Key lime is usually small and is more acid and aromatic than the Persian lime. Persian limes are the most common in many parts of the United States. Given that they are loaded with powerful nutrients, limes can improve your health in many ways. This article will explore the nutritional profile of limes and their health benefits.
1. Loaded with Powerful Nutrients
Limes are usually small, but packed with nutrients, especially vitamin C. As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) database, one whole medium lime weighing 67 g, provides 20 calories, 7 g of carbs, 0.5 g of proteins, 0.1 g of fat, 1.9 g of fiber, 22 percent of the daily value (DV) for vitamin C, 2 percent of the DV for iron, 2 percent of the DV for calcium, 2 percent of the DV for vitamin B6, 2 percent of the DV for thiamine, and 1 percent of the DV for potassium. Limes also contain decent amounts of folate, niacin, magnesium, riboflavin, and phosphorus.
2. A Rich Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that protect your cells from damages caused by free radicals, which are harmful molecules. In low levels, free radicals are harmless. But when they accumulate, they start attacking your cells and cause damages which has been linked to several chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Limes contain many plant compounds that act as antioxidants in your body, including quercetin, kaempferol, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, and limonoids. All of this work synergistically to prevent your cells from free radicals damage.
3. May Improve Your Immune System
Limes contain high amounts of vitamin C – a nutrient that has been associated with improved immune system. Test-tube studies indicate that vitamin C may stimulate your body to produce more white blood cells, which can help treat and prevent many infections. Human studies have also shown that vitamin C can significantly help manage common cold by reducing its duration and severity. What’s more, vitamin C can help promote wound healing by inhibiting inflammation and increasing the production of collagen. Collagen is a type of protein that apart from giving your body its firm structure, it binds together open wounds leading to faster repair. Lastly, limes boast powerful antioxidants, which can help strengthen your immunity by protecting cells from oxidative damages caused by free radicals.
4. Can Boost Your Skin Health
There are many components in limes that can promote healthy skin. For one, limes are a great source of vitamin C, which can increase the production of collagen, a protein that gives your skin its firm and strong structure. One whole medium lime provides nearly a quarter of your daily vitamin C needs. Evidence indicate that increasing your intake of vitamin C can lower your likelihood of developing wrinkles and dry skin that comes with age. Another component is powerful antioxidants, which have been found to be effective at fighting skin changes that accompany old age. Accumulation of free radicals above antioxidants can lead to a condition called oxidative stress. This condition can lead to signs of premature aging. Studies have shown that citrus and its antioxidants can reduce skin wrinkles and increase the production of collagen.
5. May Reduce the Likelihood of Developing Heart Disease
Heart disease is claiming many lives more than any other disease. Studies suggest that eating limes may help reduce the risk of this killer disease. The abundant vitamin C in limes have been found to help reduce elevated blood pressure, which is a predisposing factor to heart disease. Plus, vitamin C may help prevent atherosclerosis – a cardiovascular disease in which your arteries narrow due to deposition of fats in them.
6. May Manage Kidney Stones
Urinary stones are painful mineral crystals that deposit on the walls of the urinary system. Kidney stones is a common form of this condition. It mostly occurs when you have a concentrated urine or when you have high levels of oxalates and calcium in your urine. They normally cause painful micturition. Many citrus fruits, including limes are a great source of citric acid, which elevates the levels of citrate in your urine, thus preventing kidney stones.
7. Boosts the Absorption of Iron
Iron is an important mineral that is responsible for the formation of mature and healthy red blood cells that carries and delivers oxygen to cells in your body. Inadequate intake of iron can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. This condition usually presents with symptoms like, paleness, dry lips, fatigue, difficulty breathing during exercises, and dry hair. Iron sourced from plant-based foods is not efficiently absorbed in the body as compared to animal-based iron. For this reason, vegans and vegetarians are likely to develop iron deficiency anemia. Increasing your intake of foods rich in vitamin C, including limes may help boost the absorption of iron, especially those sourced from plants. Evidence suggests that drinking lemonade juice when taking plant-based meal can increase the absorption of iron by up to 70 percent.
8. May Reduce Your Risk Certain Cancers
Oxidative stress has been linked to the development of cancer – a condition characterized by abnormal growth of cells. Studies indicate that compounds in citrus fruits like lime may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Flavonoids, which are also antioxidants, may help inhibit the progression of cancer, particularly throat, colon, breast, pancreas, and bone marrow cancer.
Limes are a nutritious fruit containing high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants, all of which have impressive health benefits. Drinking lime juice or eating the fruit itself may improve your immunity, and boost the absorption of iron.