Lime Juice Benefits
Limes are packed with vitamin C (ascorbic acid), a natural antioxidant, important for boosting the immune system, protecting against colds and many bacterial illnesses.
Nutrition in 1 lime (44g)
Consisting of 90% water, limes are fat-free, have no cholesterol, and when the pulp is left in the juice, it is high in fiber.
As with all citrus fruits, they do contain a moderate amount of sugar, so should not be eaten in great quantities.
Minerals include small amounts of:
calcium - bone and teeth health.
magnesium - muscle health and preventing cramps by stabilising the nerves.
phosphorus - for cell wall, bone and teeth health - it combines with many other minerals in the body.
potassium - brain function, cell and muscle health and preventing cramps.
zinc - immune function, eye, nail and hair health, but also other organs. Zinc combines with many other vitamins and minerals in the body.
Vitamin E (skin, nails, hair, and cell health) and vitamin K (blood and bone health), plus niacin (blood and heart health) and folate (cell and DNA health) are found in small amounts, in addition to a large dose of vitamin C (immune functions).
Eight ways lime juice fights against illnesses
It can play an important role in fighting several common and some much more severe illnesses.
1. Treat and prevent common colds
Vitamin C has been shown in many studies to be important in preventing and recovering from colds and flu1.
Add the juice to glasses of water to increase vitamin C intake throughout the day, especially in winter during the cold and flu season.
A hot lime, honey and ginger drink can be used to calm a sore throat and boost your immune system at the same time.
2. Aid digestion
Citrus juices have been found to remove harmful bacteria and reduce gastric inflammation, again because of their high vitamin C content.2
Add the juice to your meals to improve your digestion and protect against gastric illnesses.
Limes go extremely well in Mexican and Thai dishes, highlighting flavor with a fresh, acidic taste, and can be used to tenderize meat.
3. Super-charge your immune system
Lime juice in particular has been shown to have other positive effects on immune systems.
One study found it even stopped the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as Golden Staph, from multiplying.3
4. Improve malaria treatments
In conjunction with malaria medication, lime juice significantly improved both the speed and success of treatment. Plus it is negative side-effect free!4
5. Protect your eye health
Vitamin C was found to protect the cornea in eyes against ultraviolet B radiation, produced by the sun.5
6. Reduce inflammation naturally
7. Manage diabetes
Used in conjunction with metaformin, vitamin C supplements help diabetes sufferers manage their blood sugar levels.7
The best way to increase vitamin C is to have a healthy diet with vegetables and fruits with high levels of this vitamin.
8. Prevent bacteria in cooked foods
Because of a lime's high acidity, it can neutralize some dangerous bacteria, found in foods which have been stored incorrectly.
One study showed that the juice added to foods strongly protects against cholera, especially when the dishes were stored without a refrigerator.8
Add the juice to meals that sit outside a fridge for long time to protect against bacteria, such as at barbecues and potluck dinners.
It is highly unlikely you'll be fighting golden staph, malaria and cholera in your own home. However, these studies clearly show that lime juice has a powerful and healthy effect on our immune systems and to kill bacteria.
Lime juice in history
References to 'lime juice' being prescribed to sailors, dating back to the 1700s, are found in the journals of ships' doctors treating scurvy.
Fresh citrus fruits and juices were found to be the most successful at treating this disease.
The earlier references to 'lime juice', however often meant a juice or cordial made from lemons.9
A patented cordial?
A concentrated cordial, made without alcohol from West Indian limes, Rose's Lime Juice was patented by Lauchlan Rose in 1867 in Britain. This was immediately prescribed to sailors to prevent scurvy by the 1867 Merchant Shipping Act.9
Because of its success and enforced use in the navy, British sailors were often called 'limey'. The term since evolved into a derogatory nickname for a British person.
You can still buy this brand today in many parts of the world.
Recipes with limes
How to use lime juice
- Squeeze some juice into a glass of water, or add sliced limes to a jug of iced water.
- Use as a mixer for home-made cocktails and mocktails, such as mojitos and dacquiris.
- Make sweetened cordial or limeade - perfect for summer!
- Make fresh lime curd or marmalade.
- Make some desserts - jelly, key lime pie, or sorbet.
- Make a birthday cake.
- Add to Mexican or Thai dishes when cooking for a fresh finish.
- Marinate meat, pour over grilled chicken breasts or fish to make them tender and juicy.
- Make a tangy salad dressing with various herbs, sesame seeds and olive oil.
Lime juice can improve your skin
Dandruff: wet scalp with the juice, and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing with water to reduce or eliminate dandruff.
Skin mask for oily skin: combine 1 teaspoon of the juice with 1 teaspoon of rosewater and 1 tablespoon of pureed cucumber. Apply to skin, leave for 10 minutes, then rinse. Do not use this if you have sensitive skin.
Scrub for oily skin: combine 1 teaspoon of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of ground oats and 1 tablespoon of ground almonds to make a rough paste. Scrub face and rinse. Do not use this if you have sensitive skin.
Home cleaning tips
Odor control: Boil cut limes and juice to freshen up a musty smelling home.
Rust: Sprinkle salt on the rust and squeeze some juice on the salt until it is soaked. Leave for a few hours, then scrub the rust away.
Freshly squeezed lime juice keeps in the fridge for up to a week in a tightly sealed container.
You can store the juice longer by freezing it in ice-block containers. When completely frozen, store the cubes in a strongly sealed freezer bag.
Alternatively, processed juice is readily available, and will keep in the fridge for a month. It is also typically higher in vitamin C.
Which citrus fruit is your favorite?
- Complementary and alternative medicine for prevention and treatment of the common cold, R. Nahas and A. Balla, Canadian Family Physician, January 2011, 57(1):31-6
- Effects of Alpha Tocopherol and Ascorbic Acid on Helicobacter pylori Colonization and the Severity of Gastric Inflammation, M. Sezikli, Z.A. Cetinkaya, et al. Helicobacter, April 2012, 17(2):127-132
- Immunomodulatory effect of concentrated lime juice extract on activated human mononuclear cells, M. Gharagozloo and A. Ghaderi, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, September 2001, 77(1):85-90
- Effects of lime juice on malaria parasite clearance, S.A. Adegoke, O.A. Oyelami, et al. Phytotherapy Research, October 2011, 25(10):1547-50
- Protective effect of ascorbic Acid against corneal damage by ultraviolet B irradiation: a pilot study, M.H. Suh, J.W. Kwon, et al. Cornea, September 2008, 27(8):916-22
- Associations of vitamin C status, fruit and vegetable intakes, and markers of inflammation and hemostasis, S.G. Wannamethee, G.D. Lowe, et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2006, 83(3):567-74
- Supplementation of vitamin C reduces blood glucose and improves glycosylated hemoglobin in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, double-blind study, G.N. Dakhale, H.V. Chaudhari, et al. Advances in Pharmacological Science, 2011:195271
- Protection from cholera by adding lime juice to food - results from community and laboratory studies in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, A. Rodrigues, A. Sandström, et al. Tropical Medicine and International Health, June 2000, 5(6):418-22
- Medical aspects of polar exploration: sixtieth anniversary of Scott's last expedition. State of knowledge about scurvy in 1911, H.E. Lewis, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, January 1972, 65:39-42
- Dr Pepper Snapple Group - Rose's, accessed March 2012
What are you favorite ways to use limes?
Let us know in the comments below!