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Limes: The Healthy Fruit You Never Knew You Needed

With the rise of the superfood movement, it’s never surprising to see a new food ingredient on the rise, and this seems to be the year that the lime takes the spotlight. New research has provided some interesting facts regarding health benefits of this green citrus fruit, and while it may never become a staple the standard fruit salad, they are a convenient addition or garnish to various food choices. Medical News Today writes: “Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like limes decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy and overall lower weight.”

This is in part due to the antioxidants present in the zest and flesh of the fruit. In fact, it has been recently documented that the zest of a lime has the ability to lower the risk of heart disease. By fighting free radicals in the body, and assisting in the decrease of plaque buildup along artery walls, limes and similar citrus fruits can help increase the human lifespan, when combined with other ingredients for a healthy diet, and an ongoing active lifestyle.


Vitamins and Immunity


Limes, as with many other citrus produce, are known for their high levels of vitamin C, boasting more than 20% of your daily vitamin C intake in one average sized lime when juiced. Due to the size of the fruit and the amount of juice found inside, this is a rather impressive percentage. Whfoods.com explains: “Vitamin C travels through the body neutralizing any free radicals with which it comes into contact in the aqueous environments in the body both inside and outside cells. Free radicals can interact with the healthy cells of the body, damaging them and their membranes, and also cause a lot of inflammation, or painful swelling, in the body. This is one of the reasons that vitamin C has been shown to be helpful for reducing some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.”


Vitamin C is a known immune system booster, providing protection during cold and flu system, and helping everything from skin to hair glow and shine at its healthiest. Some new serums and extracts in the cosmetics industry are even being developed with the use of limes rather than other citrus fruits for optimal anti-aging treatments.


Types of Limes


Unlike the smaller key lime, which is found in the dessert, key lime pie, the standard lime used in most cooking and as drink garnishes is called the Tahitian lime. Some limes are sour the way that lemons are sour, with a hint of bitterness, while the larger limes can be quite sweet in comparison. There are other types of limes as well, but these two are the most common. Health Line reports on another lime type, stating: “…The kaffir lime, a bumpy-skinned lime grown in India and other regions of Southeast Asia, fights bacteria. One specific type of well-known bacteria this lime fights is E. coli, which causes food poisoning.”


In fact, lime has been known to fight various bacteria, similar to lemon juice. It can help with the preservation of some foods, keeping cut fruit fresh, and protecting it from microbes in the air, which would otherwise brown it. Cholera in some parts of Africa has been treated with the juice of the lime, and the medical community has seen positive results with this natural treatment in comparison to other medicinal remedies, which may not always be available to poor towns and villages where medical help is not common.


Digestion and Limes


Limes are not only beneficial to skin, hair, and the fighting of aging and bacteria, they can also come in handy for your digestion, which helps in the battle against obesity. Even the smell of a lime as it is cut can cause the salivary glands to work overtime, this helps your body prepare for proper digestion, and the acidity of the lime also assists in breaking down the food after it is eaten. This same citric acid provides assistance in clearing the digestive track as well, keeping bowel problems at bay. Some doctors and nutritionists will even suggest trying lime when constipated.


Limes are excellent as a garnish on the sides of foods and drinks, but can also be used as a seasoning by grating zest or squeezing juice into the foods. Some dishes delve deeper into the lime flavor by including chunks of the flesh as well. Using a juicer, or even grilling wedges of the fruit on a grill can make a flavorful drink or meal, making it easy to integrate lime into any number of desserts or main entrees.


For more information on the health benefits of lime, a nutritionist or physician can offer further insights into its healing and cosmetic properties.

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