Limes are often overshadowed by lemons. But they make their mark in foods like key lime pie, limeade, and salsa. They also might garnish a beverage or other dishes, but that’s only the tip of their potential. Limes are packed with health benefits, and they are delicious to boot. Here are many reasons to consume more limes, including some suggestions on how to enjoy them.
The Health Benefits of Limes
1. Good source of antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that protect the cells in the body from free radicals. High amounts of these molecules can cause cell damage. In fact, research has linked free radical damage to heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions, as well as some kinds of cancer. Fortunately, limes are rich in multiple types of antioxidants, like limonoids, quercetin, flavonoids, and ascorbic acid. 
2. Improve digestion
Limes aid in the very first step of digestion. Their tart flavor causes an increase in saliva production, and once digested, they stimulate the production of important fluids like acid and bile. They also contain carbohydrates made mostly of soluble fiber called pectin. Soluble fiber digests slowly, which keeps blood sugar levels stable. Citrus fruits in general have d-limonene in their peels and oils, a nutrient that may help alleviate symptoms of indigestion and heartburn. There’s a good reason why limes and lemons in hot water are used to soothe upset stomachs. 
3. Increase iron absorption
Iron is a vital nutrient for the body, and its deficiency is called anemia. Deficiency can lead to multiple unpleasant symptoms like fatigue, paleness, and dry skin and hair. People on plant-based diets are more likely to suffer from anemia since the body doesn’t absorb plant-based iron products as well as animal-based iron products. Fortunately, limes and other foods high in vitamin C can help the body absorb plant-based iron.
4. May prevent kidney stones
Kidney stones are hard masses of minerals that can form in the kidneys. They are often extremely painful to pass. They are formed when the urine becomes very concentrated or when the urine contains high levels of minerals that build up kidney stones, such as calcium. Meanwhile, limes and other citrus fruits are rich in citric acid, which raises levels of citrate in the urine while neutralizing the stone-building minerals. This may help prevent kidney stones from forming. A study has found that people who ate plenty of citrus fruits had a noticeably lower risk of developing kidney stones.
Read: Why A Nutritionist Doesn’t Recommend Pink Himalayan Salt
5. May boost immunity
Limes contain vitamin C, which has been linked to an improved immune system. Studies have found that vitamin C can help shorten the duration of colds and reduce the severity of the symptoms. Moreover, vitamin C can lower inflammation levels and aid the production of collagen, both necessary steps to heal wounds quickly.
6. Rejuvenates skin
Limes contain vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which are great for skin health. Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen, a protein vital for strong and firm skin. Studies found that women who consumed more vitamin C had a lessened risk of dry skin and wrinkles. Meanwhile, antioxidants can also help protect the skin from age-related issues. Free radicals can lead to oxidative stress, which can cause skin to age prematurely.
7. May reduce heart disease risk
There are many risk factors for heart disease, and limes may help reduce some of them. For example, their vitamin C content may help lower high blood pressure, which is a massive risk factor. Vitamin C may also protect against atherosclerosis. This disease causes plaque to build up in the arteries and make them more narrow, thereby increasing the risk of cardiac arrest.
The Best Ways to Enjoy Limes
There are many ways to enjoy limes, and once you start experimenting, you might find they can enhance many different dishes. For instance, their zest goes into many desserts from pie to ice cream to cookies. They can also flavor savory dishes like chicken, fish, or salads. But perhaps limes are best consumed in a cup of hot or cold water.
“Limes are low in calories, high in micronutrients, and punch above their weight with regard to both water and fiber content,” said registered dietitian and nutritionist Carly Sedlacek RDN, LD. “They’re really good for us, but most of us aren’t going to make a snack of them. The juice — without added sugar — is the best we can do.” 
Lime water comes with its own list of benefits. First and foremost, the lime flavor can help people drink more water during the day. Proper hydration is necessary for many bodily functions, such as supporting good digestion, weight loss, skin health, eye health, heart health, and so much more. This way, people get the benefits of limes and hydration at once. 
Plus, lime water is so easy to make. First, wash the lime and slice it up. Then fill a glass with water and squeeze the lime juice into it. You could also opt for hot lime water for a more comforting drink. You can also prepare lime water ahead of time by filling a pitcher with water and squeezing the juice of a whole lime into it (or more depending on the size of the pitcher.) Drink the water within a day to enjoy the freshest lime flavor.
“Limes aren’t a cure-all by any stretch of the imagination, but they are a welcome addition to a healthy diet,” Sedlacek said.
Keep Reading: Benefits of Lemon Water: What’s Myth and What’s Fact?
- “Limes: A Citrus Fruit with Powerful Benefits.” Healthline. Ryan Raman, MS, RD. April 20, 2023
- “8 Amazing Health Benefits of Limes.” UHN. Chandra Johnson Greene. June 23, 2020
- “Is Lime Water Good for You?” Cleveland Clinic. December 12, 2022
- “What are the benefits of drinking lime water?” Medical News Today. Dylan Bailey, MS, RD, FAND and Jenna Fletcher. May 3, 2022