Limes: Health Ben­e­fits, Nu­tri­tional In­for­ma­tion

Pakistan Observer - - LAHORE CITY -

LIMES are a cit­rus fruit of­ten used to ac cent fla­vors in foods and are a com­mon in­gre­di­ent in Mex­i­can, Viet­namese and Thai cui­sine. They are grown year-round in trop­i­cal cli­mates and are usu­ally smaller and less sour than lemons. The Tahi­tian lime, also called the Per­sian lime, is the va­ri­ety most com­monly used in cook­ing. Key limes are smaller, rounder and more acidic than Tahi­tian limes and are used in the clas­sic dessert Key Lime pie.

It is a mis­con­cep­tion that key limes are grown in Key West, FL. They are pri­mar­ily grown in sub­trop­i­cal cli­mates such as Mex­ico, In­dia and Egypt.1 This MNT Knowl­edge Cen­ter fea­ture is part of a col­lec­tion of ar­ti­cles on the health ben­e­fits of pop­u­lar foods. It pro­vides a nu­tri­tional break­down of limes and an in-depth look at its pos­si­ble health ben­e­fits, how to in­cor­po­rate more limes into your diet and any po­ten­tial health risks of con­sum­ing limes.

Ac­cord­ing to the US De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture Na­tional Nu­tri­ent Data­base, the juice of one lime (ap­prox­i­mately 44 grams) con­tains 11 calo­ries, 4 grams of car­bo­hy­drate (in­clud­ing 1 gram of su­gar and 0 grams of fiber) and 0 grams of pro­tein as well as 22% of the daily rec­om­mended amount of vi­ta­min C. One tea­spoon of lime zest (ap­prox­i­mately 1 gram) con­tains 1 calo­rie and 4% of rec­om­mended vi­ta­min C.

Con­sum­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles of all kinds has long been as­so­ci­ated with a re­duced risk of many lifestyle-re­lated health con­di­tions. 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. Vi­ta­min C has been shown to re­duce all-cause mor­tal­ity.2 Limes are a very con­cen­trated source of vi­ta­min C, a well-known an­tiox­i­dant.

In a study pub­lished by the ARYA Ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis jour­nal, lime juice and peel was shown to de­crease fatty streaks found in coro­nary ar­ter­ies, which are in­di­ca­tors of plaque buildup and sub­se­quently car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.3 A dif­fer­ent study showed that low vi­ta­min C lev­els are as­so­ci­ated with in­creased risk of stroke.4 Lime juice has an­tibac­te­rial and an­ti­fun­gal prop­er­ties.5 A study pub­lished by Trop­i­cal Medicine & In­ter­na­tional Health showed that lime juice in­hib­ited the growth of Vib­rio cholerae specif­i­cally.6

The risks for de­vel­op­ing asthma are lower in peo­ple who con­sume a high amount of cer­tain nu­tri­ents. One of these nu­tri­ents is vi­ta­min C, found in many fruits and veg­eta­bles in­clud­ing limes. Iron de­fi­ciency is one of the most com­mon nu­tri­ent de­fi­cien­cies in de­vel­oped coun­tries and a lead­ing cause of ane­mia. Pair­ing foods that are high in vi­ta­min C with foods that are iron-rich will max­i­mize the body’s abil­ity to ab­sorb iron. For ex­am­ple, squeeze fresh lime juice onto a salad with spinach and chick­peas (both a good source of iron).

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