THE FOOD SERIES: Lime

Refreshing, tart and powerful; let’s learn more about this amazing citrus fruit!

DESCRIPTION:

Limes are roughly oval, round, and spherical in shape, with green skin and a light yellow-ish green flesh. For many of us, we are most familiar with the sour and or bitter limes that are quite tangy in taste, however there are also sweet varieties. Sour limes contain citric acid thus are more acidic compared to the sweet limes that do not contain citric acid.

Limes grow on trees that thrive in tropical and subtropical climates. There are a number of varieties and species such as ‘key’, ‘kaffir’, ‘desert’, ‘Persian’/’Tahitian’, with the latter two being the most commonly available and known in North America.

When selecting limes, choose ones that are firm and heavy for their size. They should have a glossy skin that has a deep green colour. Avoid limes that have brown spots for this increases the risk of a moldy taste.

PRODUCTION:

Most species are believed to be native to Asia. Today, India is the top producer of limes, followed by Mexico, China, Argentina and Brazil.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE:

0.25 cup fresh lime juice:

15.1 kcal
5.1 g carbs
0.2 g fiber
0.0 g fat
0.3 g protein
18.2 mg Vitamin C
12.2 mcg folate

Since limes are a citrus fruit, it is no surprise that limes are an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is required to produce collagen which is crucial for the structure and framework of our skin and bones. Hence, why vitamin C deficiency may lead to scurvy. Vitamin C is also needed to make neurotransmitters that help carries signals in our brains and our overall nervous system. Vitamin C is also one of the antioxidant nutrients, therefore, limes are high in not only antioxidant effects but antibiotic effects. The specific flavonoids that limes contain are called flavonol glycosides.

“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.”

World’s Healthiest Foods

The antioxidant effect as a result, helps support overall optimal health, such as fighting cancers, protect against rheumatoid arthritis, boosting the immune system in general, and promoting healthy skin.

If you are interested in reading more about the health benefits of limes. Here’s a site outlining 17 lime benefits.

WAYS TO ENJOY

Limes are rarely the main ingredient in any dish or recipe. However their role in many dishes are crucial and ties in everything together. The following are a few ways I like to incorporate limes on a daily basis:

– Squeeze lime juice into your water bottle.
– Squeeze lime juice into your hot tea.
– Add some lime juice into salads or any dressings.
– Top any dish, or add to any sauces/dressings with some lime zest.

I sometimes eat salads with no dressing, other than a squeeze of some lime juice and I am perfectly happy and content.

Here are some fun recipes that do incorporate limes as a main ingredient (All vegan, plant-based and healthy of course):

FUN FACTS

  • Limes turn yellow when they are ripe.
  • In the 1800’s, limes along with lemons were used to prevent scurvy by sailors.
  • Lime juice was the world’s first sulphur dioxide preserved drink.
  • Concentrated lime juice is so acidic that it will dissolve concrete.
  • Most of the concentrated lime juice flavour comes from the peel and not from the flesh.
  • Raw limes are 88% water

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES / REFERENCES 

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