Bright green and spherical, limes are found in most supermarkets, as well as at almost every ethnic grocery store. Sour tasting and full of juice, limes can be used in place of vinegar or lemon to add tartness to a dish. You can also use limes instead of lemons to flavor water. Like other citrus fruits, limes and lime juice are rich in a range of nutrients that have numerous health benefits.
Rich in Vitamin C
The juice from a single fresh lime contains just over 13 milligrams of vitamin C per serving. This is between 10.8 and 17.6 percent of the recommended dietary intake of vitamin C for all adults. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that protects your body from free radicals, which are made by your body as it breaks down food. Free radicals can cause premature aging and may increase your risk for heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C also gives your immune system a boost, and it is needed to make collagen, which your body uses for wound healing.
Limes contain the antioxidant limonoid, which has been shown to have anticarcinogenic properties. A study on neuroblastoma cell lines published in “The Journal of Nutrition” in 2005 found that limonoids from citrus fruits, including limes, were highly effective in killing neuroblastoma cancer cells. However, limonoids were not necessarily as effective when targeting other types of cancer cells, and further study, on both animals and humans, is required.
Helps Prevent Kidney Stones
The high citric-acid content of lime juice can help prevent the formation of kidney stones. Kidney stones are made from crystallized calcium, and citric acid is a natural agent that breaks down these crystals. A human study published in the “Journal of Endourology” in 2008 found that citric acid from fresh as well as commercially produced lime juice was effective in preventing calcium crystallization in adults who were predisposed to developing kidney stones.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
A study published in "The British Journal of Nutrition" in 1999 found that lime juice, when added to corn husks, helped reduce low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol levels in guinea pigs and humans. LDL is the "bad" cholesterol. Both the test group and the control group were fed corn husks, so the high dietary fiber content of corn husks was available to all test subjects. After a six-week period, the group consuming lime-treated husks experienced an 11 to 15 percent decline in their LDL cholesterol levels. Researchers concluded that lime juice may be helpful in reducing cholesterol levels, but further study, including long-term research on human subjects, is needed.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Lime Juice, Raw
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- The Journal of Nutrition: Citrus Limonoids Induce Apoptosis in Human Neuroblastoma Cells and Have Radical Scavenging Activity
- Journal of Endourology: Quantitative Assessment of Citric Acid in Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, and Commercially-Available Fruit Juice Products
- The British Journal of Nutrition: Lime-Treated Maize Husks Lower Plasma LDL-Cholesterol Levels in Normal and Hypercholesterolaemic Adult Men from Northern Mexico