Add Zest to Your Health with Limes!
Limes add zest to your recipes and make a great garnish for your drinks, and who doesn’t love a slice of key lime pie now and then?
But there’s a lot more to this familiar citrus fruit than you may know. Limes are anything but ordinary; they’re loaded with antioxidants, including vitamin C, and offer plenty of other healthful benefits.
So, you may want to give that slice of lime a promotion from the rim of your glass, because it’s good for a lot more!
Let’s talk about the benefits of limes and lime water, plus a few lime recipes to try which are great for Cinco de Mayo parties and events year-round.
Benefits of Limes and Lime Juice
Limes are a nutritional powerhouse, especially when it comes to antioxidants. A single lime can give you 32% of the daily recommended amount of the antioxidant vitamin C, and lime juice contains loads of other antioxidants too, including healthy phytochemicals like flavonoids, flavones and others that play important roles in maintaining wellness.1,2
But the benefits don’t stop there! Limes are also a source of many other nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Check out the lime benefits and nutritional details below.
Benefits of Limes
- Great source of antioxidants3,4
- Support heart health1,2
- Help promote skin vitality and healthy aging2
- Support digestive health2
- Boost immune health5
- Support metabolism and weight loss2
- Provide nourishment for healthy kidneys6
- Help your body absorb iron5
- May support joint health2
Lime Water Benefits
The easiest way to get the benefits of lime in your diet every day is to squeeze some lime juice into your water.
Limes are easy to keep on hand. You can toss a few in your lunch bag to squeeze into your water at work, or juice a few in advance and refrigerate the juice to use throughout the day.
No matter how you do it, you’re sure to get the benefits of lime in a convenient way while making your daily H2O that much more fun and flavorful.
You can also combine lime with other fruit flavors to make your own water infusions.
Lime Nutrition and Types of Limes
There are several varieties of limes and the nutritional values of each type can vary, but the most common type of lime found in American supermarkets is the Tahitian lime.
That doesn’t mean they’re grown in Tahiti, though! It just means that the strain of lime is thought to have originated in the Tahitian islands.7
To make things just a little more confusing, there are two types of Tahitian limes grown in the United States: Persian limes, which are grown in Florida, and Bearss limes, which are grown in California.
Persian limes tend to be bigger and less acidic than the Bearss variety.7
Other types of limes you may find in grocery stores include Key limes and Kaffir limes. Key limes are a favorite for pies and are most frequently imported from Mexico, though they were grown commercially in Florida at one time.
Kaffir limes are available in some specialty stores, but can be difficult to find. Kaffir limes are small, round, tart limes used in Southeast Asian cooking.4
Nutrition in Limes and Lime Juice
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), an average lime that is 2 inches in diameter contains:
- 59.13 g of water
- 20 calories
- .47 g of protein
- 7 g of carbohydrates
- 1.9 g of fiber
- 1.13 g of sugar
- vitamin C (19.5 mg)
- vitamin A (34 mg)
- iron (.4 mg)
- potassium (68.3 mg)
Limes also contain small amounts of the following vitamins and minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin E, vitamin D and vitamin K.
That’s a lot of nutritional variety for such a tiny fruit!
How Much Lime Juice in One Lime?
An average 2 inch lime yields 44 g of juice, and that juice contains the same vitamins and minerals as whole limes, but with only 11 calories.
That's almost half the calories you’d get from consuming the whole fruit! Some limes are larger than others, but on average that should equate to about two or three tablespoons of juice per lime.
We recommend juicing your limes yourself, but you can also buy organic lime juice that is not from concentrate to keep on hand.
Juices that have not been processed or pasteurized don’t usually have a lengthy shelf life, though, so it’s often easier just to keep a bowl of limes in the refrigerator to have a fresh splash of juice available any time.
Limes are also extremely portable, so you can toss a few in your bag to use on the go.
Lime Juice Benefits
Most people don’t eat whole limes in the same way they would some other citrus fruits like oranges, so there’s a good chance you’ll want to get most of your lime nutrition from juice.
Whichever way you prefer, you stand to gain a long list of benefits from limes!
Lime Health Benefits
Antioxidants in Limes
Limes contain many antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, flavonoids, flavones, triterpenoids and limonoids.
Limonoids are phytonutrients that research has shown to have significant benefits for overall health and wellbeing.3
Although limonoids are as abundant in citrus fruits as vitamin C, unlike vitamin C, limonoids are not currently available as a supplement. Limonoid-containing “citrus molasses” can be used to fortify foods, but it’s currently only used in food for animals.4
So, for now, fresh citrus fruits are the best way to get your daily dose of limonoids.
Lime Nutrition for Heart Health
The antioxidants in lime are good for your heart, too. Antioxidants help promote the health of arteries and the circulatory system.1
Since arteries are responsible for carrying blood to and from your heart and other organs, keeping them healthy plays an important role in heart health.1
Limes are also a source of magnesium and potassium, two nutrients that support heart health.
Potassium supports blood health and circulation, while magnesium is essential to keeping muscles working properly.
Limonoids in limes may also promote maintaining healthy blood lipid levels!2
Skin Benefits of Lime
The nutrients and antioxidants in limes help to rejuvenate skin and strengthen collagen.2
Vitamin C nourishes skin cells inside and out and may even help fight signs of skin aging.5
Hydration is also important to keeping skin healthy, and adding lime to your water is a tasty way to hydrate and revitalize healthy skin.2
Some people also use the essential oil of Kaffir lime in skin tonics to help smooth skin quality, but be cautious when using essential oils on your skin and never apply lime directly to the skin.1
Read the product label and choose an essential oil product that's formulated for use on the skin. Lime products applied topically may make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Lime for Digestive Support
The acidity in limes may help break down food so you can digest it more easily, plus the flavonoids in limes stimulate digestive juices and may even stimulate bowel activity.2
Drinking some water with lime on an empty stomach in the morning may help kick start your digestive system too. Also, try drinking a glass of warm water with the juice of a whole lime about thirty minutes before a meal to aid digestion.2 You may be less likely to overeat if you drink warm lime water before a meal.
Immune System Support
The vitamin C and other antioxidants provided by limes may help support your immune system. Vitamin C is needed by the all the tissues of your body for growth and repair, and it’s involved in many other important functions, including helping to protect cells from free radicals.5
Limes and Weight Loss
The citric acid in limes may help kick up your metabolism so you burn more calories, and if you get your lime nutrition by drinking lime water, that’s even better!2
Staying hydrated is an excellent way to help you maintain a healthy weight. It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, so if you’re hydrated, you may be less likely to eat without actually being hungry.
Lime for Kidney Health
Adding limes or lemons to your diet may help promote kidney health, since citric acid may boost urinary citrate and urine volume.6
Of course, water is great for your kidneys too, so add some lime to your next glass of water to help give your kidneys, and your whole body, a welcome health boost!
Lime and Nutrient Absorption
Vitamin C plays a beneficial role in the absorption of iron, which is essential for your body’s production of blood and for hemoglobin. Low levels of iron can cause a host of health concerns.8
Since vitamin C can increase the amount of iron you absorb from the foods you eat, lime is an excellent addition to recipes that contain iron-rich ingredients like spinach and red meats.5
Lime for Healthy Joints
Vitamin C and other antioxidants in limes may also help support the health of your joints and promote joint flexibility. Limes may also help reduce uric acid levels in the body.2
Aside from adding lime to your water, there are endless other uses for lime juice and lime zest in your recipes.
Lime is a common ingredient in ethnic cuisines like Mexican, Vietnamese and Thai dishes, but it’s also great for adding zing to seafood dishes, smoothies and desserts.
Lime pairs well with the following flavors:
Lime Recipes to Try
Lime Water Infusion
Fruit infused water is super easy to make. Just add slices of any combination of the fruits above to an infusion bottle or reusable water bottle and fill it up with filtered water for a delicious flavor infusion.
It will taste even better if you let it stay in the fridge overnight, or squeeze in some extra lime juice when you refill your bottle throughout the day.
Try a water infusion with lime and cherries for a healthy take on cherry limeade. You could even add a natural sweetener like agave or honey.
Chicken Marinade with Lime
Make this simple lime marinade for crowd-pleasing, flavorful grilled chicken:
Mix 4 tbsp of lime juice with two cloves of minced garlic, plus 1 or 2 tbsp of brown sugar or agave (optional), 1 tbsp of organic extra virgin olive oil, and 2 tbsp of cilantro.
Marinate in the refrigerator for 45 minutes, or up to eight hours before cooking, depending on how much flavor you want.
Lime Salad Dressing
This lime vinaigrette is simple and delicious. Plus, when you make your own dressing, you know exactly what’s in it!
You get pure flavor and no surprises. Just combine 2 tbsp of lime juice with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 3 tbsp of olive oil, ½ tsp of garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp ground cumin, plus salt and pepper to taste.
More recipes from Swanson Health:
- Cilantro Lime Grilled Corn
- Two Cabbage Coconut Slaw with Lime Juice
And of course, use lime as a garnish for your favorite drinks!
What is Lime Good for Beyond the Kitchen?
Lime essential oil is stimulating and refreshing. The invigorating essence of lime has been used throughout the ages as an adjunct to respiratory function and energy.
Using lime essential oil in an oil diffuser may also help ward off insects.
Naturally Cleansing & Refreshing Your Home
Make your own natural cleaning products with lime essential oil and other natural ingredients, like baking soda and apple cider vinegar.
Lime Juice vs. Lemon Juice
Lemons and limes have different flavor profiles and colors, but they do have some similarities.
They both supply vitamin C and antioxidants, and they even have a similar shape, although most limes tend to be smaller.
However, lemons provide almost double the vitamin C of limes (depending on the size of the lemon), and lemons have higher levels of vitamin B6 and folate.
So, lemons are also a great choice for citrus nutrition, but nature gave us so many options for a reason!
It’s a good idea to get a variety of real foods in your diet and eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables of all colors because they are all important to maintaining balanced nutrition.
Are Limes Good for You?
With lime water becoming a trending topic, it’s only natural to wonder if lime is truly good for you.
For most people, limes are generally safe and provide plenty of healthy benefits. So, unless you have a citrus fruit allergy, adding limes or lime juice to your water is a low-calorie way to pack in some extra nutrients and get flavorful hydration every day.
About Lindsey Toth, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health
Lindsey is a nationally recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for ice cream. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food.
Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and, ultimately, led her to Swanson Health.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
1. Limes: A Citrus Fruit with Powerful Benefits. Healthline. Read source
2. 8 Benefits of Lime Water for Health and Weight Loss Read source
3. The Chemistry and Pharmacology of Citrus Limonoids. PubMed. Read source
4. Citrus Compound: Ready To Help Your Body! United States Department of Agriculture. Read source
5. The Benefits of Vitamin C. WebMD. Read source
6. Lemonade Therapy. PubMed. Read source
7. Types of Limes. Lacademie. Read source
8. What You Need to Know About Iron Supplements. WebMD. Read source