Lemons in the ‘Lime’light – Health Benefits
Originated in Southeast Asia, their potential uses go far beyond fish tacos and cocktail garnishes. They taste great in water and soda or as they call them in India, lime soda. As it turns out, they are also great for your body!
It makes sense to discuss the health benefits of lemons and limes at the same time, as they have all but a few chemicals in common.
Lime or Lemon?
Lime: The lime is a small bumpy citrus fruit, like a small orange, whose ‘skin and flesh’ are green in color. It is round with a diameter of between one to two inches. They are at their peak of their season from May through October.
Lemon: The lemon is a small, oval-shaped fruit which is approximately two to three inches in diameter. It is oval in shape and features a yellow, texturized outer peel. They are in the peak of their season around May, June and August.
Both, the lime and lemon have a sourish and acidic taste, but when consumed has an alkaline effect in the stomach.
Here are nine health benefits of the fruit that might improve and extend your life.
They are good for cardiovascular health
Our body contains a lot free radicals, which are capable of making cholesterol dangerously more likely to build up and line the walls of your arteries. Lemons and limes are an excellent source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), one of the most important antioxidants in nature and the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body. Antioxidants keep your arteries healthy, and healthy arteries are essential for carrying blood from your heart to the organs of your body. This slows down the process of atherogenesis, the buildup of plaque on artery walls. So they will make you less likely to develop heart disease or diabetes (or slow the progression of either disease if you already suffer from it).
It has been speculated that the potassium in lemons and limes can also help to keep your blood pressure within healthy limits.
Lemon juice is great for your hair
Lemons and limes are a rich source of Vitamin C, which improves the rate at which your hair grows by boosting the production of collagen. This makes hair long and strong. Besides, it helps control the production of oil in your scalp. The acidic nature of lemon is effective in cleansing the scalp of dead cells and other deposits. This results in unclogged and also tighter hair follicles, curbing issues such as dandruff and hair fall. It also contains a compound called Limonene which adds life to dull, frizzy hair
Tip: Directly squeeze fresh lemon juice from the lemon wedge on scalp and hair. Massage your scalp with the juice for 5 minutes and then leave it in for an additional 10 minutes. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo and condition.
They help to strengthen your immune system
In addition to its role as the premier antioxidant circulating throughout the body, Vitamin C is also vital to the function of a strong immune system. Being a rich source of the nutrient, limes and lemons aid in strengthening your immune system. This means that lemons and limes may be useful in preventing conditions like colds, flus, and recurrent ear infections.
They aid in digestion
Lemon and lime juice behave in a similar way to our natural digestive enzymes, which means that they stimulate the digestive system and increase secretion of digestive juices, bile and acids. Thus, it relieves us from uncomfortable wind and bloating. This is the reason behind lemon pickle with lunch and dinner being a traditional practice in India and various neighboring countries in the region.
Tip: Try adding lemon or lime juice to a warm glass of water when you have heartburn or indigestion.
Lime juice helps in weight loss
One of the most popular uses of lime or lemon juice is weight loss. A simple recipe consisting of glass of warm water with a full lime’s worth of juice in it is an excellent weight reducer as well as a brilliant refresher and antioxidant drink. Though it is naturally sweet it is extremely low in calories. The citric acid present in lime is an excellent fat burner. Usually recommended to have first thing after you wake up, you can see legitimate and remarkable results within a week.
Tip: Add 1-2 teaspoons of raw, organic honey and the juice of a fresh lime or lemon to 8 ounces of warm water and consume on an empty stomach every morning.
They help to protect against arthritis
Arthritis, like so many other diseases, is a condition associated with a high degree of acidity in the body. In fact, in some cases the type of acid that causes joint pain is uric acid. If you look at uric acid under a microscope, it looks like tiny shards of glass. When uric acid crystallizes, it causes pain and inflammation. Lime contains citric acid that is a solvent of uric acid. Eating lemons and limes have shown to be helpful for reducing some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Even if you don’t have arthritis, it is worth eating plenty of lemons and limes (among other fruits rich in vitamin C) to preempt any such development.
They help protect against cancer
Lemons and limes contain compounds called limonins, which research shows can help to fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. The kaempferol in lemons and limes has also been shown to reduce the uncontrolled cell division that is characteristic of cancer (and this element of lemons and limes appears to have a particularly strong influence on breast cancer).
Tip: To maximize its cancer-fighting benefits, aim for a half-cup of fresh lime juice a day. Avoid drinking undiluted juice to protect your teeth. Make your own drink by blending together three peeled limes with 2 cups of cold water.
They have antibiotic and antiseptic properties
Given that lemons and limes are very acidic, this makes them ideal for fighting certain infections. In West Africa, where cholera outbreaks have happened in recent history, researchers found that feeding affected people lime juice with rice killed the dangerous bacteria. Further studies supported that lime juice did indeed play a role in whether people would contract cholera. It is thought that this fascinating health benefit comes from flavonoids called flavonol glycosides that have antibiotic effects.
Lemon juice can help to prevent kidney stones
The more citric acid in your urine, the more protected you are against forming new kidney stones. In clinical studies, citric acid from lime or lemon juice has been shown to reduce urine acidity, thereby reducing kidney stone incidence. This is because lemon juice leads to the production of urinary citrate, which in turn prevents the formation of crystals.
It is obvious from the above health benefits, lemons and limes are an excellent choice if you want to increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. You can incorporate them into your diet in a number of enjoyable ways. Remember always to take only in moderation. More is not always better.