The lime is a small, green citrus fruit that grows on trees in warm climates. Limes can be sweet or sour, depending on the variety. Most of the limes you’ll find in American grocery stores are a variety known as Persian limes, most of which are imported from Mexico.
While sweet limes aren't commonly available in the United States, Americans may be familiar with the Persian lime’s smaller, tart cousin, the Key lime. Whether sweet or sour, limes have many health benefits.
Citrus fruits can add a tart, zesty kick to almost any food or drink. But what are the health benefits of limes? While most people might only think of limes as a garnish, limes can pack a nutritional punch for your diet.
Here are a few health benefits of limes:
Limes contain antioxidants, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation and even help prevent certain chronic illnesses.
Protect Against Infection
The high levels of Vitamin C found in limes can help protect you from infection and speed up your body’s healing process.
Citrus fruits have been shown to help keep kidney stones at bay. The citric acid in lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits makes it more difficult for kidney stones to form.
Studies have shown that the flavonoids found in citrus fruit, including limes, may help protect against stroke, especially in women. Still, more research needs to be done into this subject.
Healthy Bones and Teeth
Bone and tooth development can also benefit from the Vitamin C found in limes.
Improve Your Immune Health
Vitamin C is vital to your immune health. Regularly eating limes, which are high in Vitamin C, can even help you stave off the common cold.
Citrus fruits have many health benefits, and limes are no exception. Let's break down some of the nutrients found in limes.
Nutrients per Serving
One lime contains:
- Calories: 20
- Sodium: 1 milligram
- Total carbohydrates: 7 grams
- Dietary fiber: 2 grams
- Sugar: 1 gram
One lime contains roughly a third of your daily recommended Vitamin C intake. Limes also contain small amounts of:
- Vitamin A
Things to Watch Out For
Like other citrus fruits, limes are acidic and can damage your tooth enamel when eaten in large quantities. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and rinse your mouth out after eating limes to flush out limes’ citric acid.
If you're allergic to other citrus fruits, you might be allergic to limes. Talk to your doctor about your allergies before adding limes to your diet.
How to Prepare Limes
You can usually find limes at your local grocery store, but if you want to pick them yourself, you need to know what to aim for. The healthy limes for the picking are:
- Not discolored
Limes have countless uses. Sliced lime is great for adding citrusy notes to a pitcher of water, while lime wedges are the perfect way to add some acidity to your favorite tacos. Here are some other uses for limes:
- Stir lime juice with sugar, seltzer water, and ice to make a refreshing limeade
- Squeeze lime juice into Mexican rice and serve with extra lime wedges
- Serve slices in a floral tea, like hibiscus
- Mix lime with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger to make a marinade for baked salmon