Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sweet Juicy Limes

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Although you might only think of limes in your tequila or beer, these little green fruits not only bring out the flavor in other foods, they have a wonderfully sunny flavor that always makes you think about beach vacations. It’s thought that limes originated in Southeast Asia and were then transported to North Africa and Egypt by traders during the 10th century. They were brought to Spain about 300 years later and then spread throughout Europe during the Crusades. Christopher Columbus brought lime trees to America on his second voyage.

The most common limes in the US are sour limes and they are used in all sorts of food preparations as well as toothpastes, skin cream, candles, and disinfectants. Limes can offer us so much more than great food and terrific smells – they are also loaded with health benefits.

Take a look at the top ways limes can give you a health boost and a tangy flavor to your food at the same time.


1.  Improve Your Immune System

Like most citrus fruits, limes are full of vitamin C, which improves your immune system and offers long term support. This means it can help you fight off cold and flu viruses as well as other chronic diseases. Read more how to get a super strong immune system naturally.


2.  Prevent Kidney Stones

Lime juice has more citric acid than almost any other citrus fruit including oranges or grapefruits. Kidney stones are made of crystallized calcium and the citric acid in limes is a natural inhibitor of a buildup of this type of calcium. So feel free to squeeze some lime juice into your next glass of water and say bye-bye to those painful kidney stones.


3. Lowers Cholesterol

Hesperidin, the main flavonoid in limes, has been shown in studies to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels in animal studies. You can get the most of this flavonoid by eating as much as that white pith that surrounds the fruit as possible.


4.  Kills Internal Parasites

Lime juice was tested in a children’s hospital in Nigeria to check its effectiveness as a treatment for parasites. Anti-malaria medicine was placed in lime juice and researchers found that the amount of parasites in these children was considerably lower. In fact, subjects that were given both lime juice and medication experienced a complete recovery in 72 hours compared to the other subjects that were given medication only.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

5. Anti-Cancer Compounds

Limonoids are a compound that is thought to have strong anti-carcinogenic effects. This compound is believed to prevent breast, lung, skin, mouth, stomach, and other types of cancer. In one study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, stated that limonin was proven to cause the death of cancer cells. Limes are not only high in limonoids, but also in antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancer by killing free radicals before they cause damage to your DNA and your cells. It’s interesting to note that one compound in limes, limonin glucoside, which your body can easily digest, attaches itself to sugar molecules and actually neutralizes the negative effects of sugar. It also lasts longer in the body than the phenols in dark chocolate and green tea. Limes last up to 24 hours in the body, green tea and dark chocolate? Only four to six hours. Makes you want to mix up a glass of limeade right now, doesn’t it?


6. Natural Anti-Inflammatory

The phytonutrient compounds, along with the vitamin C, that limes contain have a natural anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Limes can lower the risk of conditions that are linked to chronic inflammation such as a heart disease, asthma, and arthritis.


7. Heart Healthy

Those yummy antioxidants, such as vitamin C, in limes are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as well as a reduced risk of heart attacks.


8. Supports Vision Health

Sufficient levels of vitamin C are vital to proper eye function. In fact, a deficiency in vitamin C can lead to cataracts and other types of eye problems. Eating plenty of citrus fruits, including limes, and lime juice, is one easy way to maintain the health of your eyesight.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

9. Prevents Rheumatoid Arthritis

One study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, showed that participants that consumed more foods that were rich in vitamin C were far less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis and other types of related arthritic conditions. This study involved 20,000 people and it also found that those who ate the least amounts of vitamin C rich foods were three times more likely to develop some type of arthritis.


10. More Youthful Looking Skin

The peels from limes, and other citrus fruits, have a melanin inhibitor. Sun exposure, aging, and melanin, which is what gives your skin its color, builds up and deposits itself on your skin in small areas. These are commonly called age spots. Making a face mask (you can use them on your hands or other parts of the body as well) with bits of lime peel in it can reduce sun spots, or age spots, naturally. Find out more MIY face mask recipes.


11. Natural Antibiotic

The flavonoid compounds you find in limes are thought to contain strong antibiotic compounds. Some studies done in West Africa showed that the addition of limes to a daily diet helped to reduce the number of cholera victims.


SEE ALSO: Natural Antibiotics that Kill Superbugs

12.  Cheap Water Purification

You probably wouldn’t think about lime juice and salt for anything other than your next beer, but in one study, lime, salt, and sunlight were used to purify water. Clean, inexpensive water is a problem in many third world countries. Although drinking water can be disinfected in six hours of direct sunlight (using glass containers) some countries have only super dirty water containing suspended particles that prevent sunlight from doing its job. However, it was found that by adding very tiny amounts of salt to the water, it weighed down the dirt and that by adding lime juice, it had a more rapid disinfecting quality due to a compound in limes called psoralens. Using a bit of salt and lime juice reduced the contamination of E.coli by one million times in only 30 minutes. Regular sunlight only had a quarter the amount of this effectiveness.