There are many different types of limes, and most are actually hybrids of different types of citrus fruits, produced primarily from the citron, the pomelo and the mandarin orange.The exact origins of the lime fruit are unknown, but it’s believed to have grown originally in Southeast Asia or Indonesia before being imported to Africa and the Mediterranean region around 1,000 years ago.The true scope of its medicinal properties has only come to light in the past few centuries, however, when it was used to treat scurvy. Scurvy is a condition caused by vitamin C deficiency, which can result in symptoms like bleeding gums, bruising and fatigue. By the 18th century, scurvy had become a huge problem and a major cause of death for British sailors. In 1747, scientist James Lind began conducting experiments on board a naval ship and discovered that drinking lemon and lime juice could help ward off scurvy thanks to the high concentration of vitamin C. Today, researchers are continuing to learn more about the benefits of limes and the multitude of ways that they may impact health.This incredible citrus fruit may seem pretty ordinary, but it’s actually a powerhouse of nutrition. Bursting with both vitamin C and antioxidants, limes — like lemons — possess a powerful set of health benefits.
In fact, limes may be able to help amp up weight loss, enhance immunity, boost iron absorption, prevent kidney stones, improve heart health and even fight off cancer.
Benefits of Limes
- Improve Heart Health
- Help Fight Against Cancer
- Enhance Weight Loss
- Boost Immunity
- Aid in Kidney Stone Prevention
- Increase Iron Absorption
Lime Nutrition Facts
Limes are low in calories but contain a hearty dose of fiber and vitamin C.
One lime contains approximately:
- 20 calories
- 7 grams carbohydrates
- 0.5 grams protein
- 0.1 gram fat
- 1.9 grams dietary fiber
- 19.5 milligrams vitamin C (32 percent DV)
- 22.1 milligrams calcium (2 percent DV)
- 0.4 milligram iron (2 percent DV)
- 68.3 milligrams potassium (2 percent DV)
In addition to the above nutrients, limes also contain a small amount of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, magnesium and phosphorus.
Limes vs. Lemons
Given their similarities in taste and nutrition, it’s easy to understand why so many people mix up these two citrus fruits. They’re both packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, supply similar benefits to health, and are both used to bring a bit of flavor and zing to recipes.
However, there are also plenty of differences that set apart the lime vs. lemon, including some pretty notable differences in appearance. Limes tend to be smaller than lemons and have a vibrant green color while lemons are bright yellow. Additionally, limes are often less sour and have a smoother taste, though they can be used interchangeably in many recipes.
As far as nutrition, though, there are some noteworthy differences between the two. Lemons are incredibly high in vitamin C; in fact, the amount of vitamin C in lemon vs. orange is almost equal. Limes, on the other hand, are slightly lower in vitamin C. Gram for gram, there is about half the amount of vitamin C in limes vs. lemons. The lemon nutrition profile is also a bit more substantial, with higher amounts of several micronutrients like vitamin B6 and folate.
Limes are generally safe for most people and pose minimal risks to health. Still, there are some precautions and side effects that need to be considered.
Although uncommon, citrus fruit allergies are can cause food allergy symptoms like hives, swelling, asthma and flushed skin. If you experience any negative symptoms after eating limes, be sure to discontinue use immediately and talk to your doctor.
Additionally, despite the long list of lime nutritional benefits, it’s best to keep your intake in moderation. Limes contain a high amount of citric acid, meaning that overdoing it can start to erode the enamel on your teeth and cause increased sensitivity.
Finally, you should not apply limes or lime juice directly to your skin. This can increase your skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light and result in a condition called phytophotodermatitis, which can severely burn your skin.
- Limes are used to accent the flavors of other foods and beverages and add a bit of extra zing.
- They are also sometimes used in cleaning products, perfumes and aromatherapy oils.
- The lime nutrition profile contains a good amount of fiber and vitamin C with a low amount of calories.
- Limes may help improve heart health, increase iron absorption, prevent kidney stones, enhance immunity, fight against cancer and increase weight loss.
- Incorporate limes into a well-rounded diet and healthy lifestyle to take advantage of their unique set of health benefits.