If you ever find yourself lost at sea, you better hope you packed some limes in your carry-on or that there’s a lime tree nearby! Limes were believed to have saved many a sailor from dying of scurvy (a disease caused by a Vitamin C deficiency) way back when.
There are two different types of limes: sour and sweet. Sweet limes are difficult to find in the United States. You’re probably most familiar with one of the sour varieties—Key limes (known for making delicious pies) or Tahitian limes (the larger, egg-shaped variety).
It so happens that sour limes are more nutritious than their sweeter relatives.
For a small fruit, limes pack a big nutritional punch:
Vitamin C. Lime juice is extremely high in Vitamin C. If you could stomach an entire cup of the stuff, you would get more than 100% of your daily recommended amount of this essential nutrient. Vitamin C is required to develop connective tissue, support blood vessel walls and heal wounds. Vitamin C is also a key ingredient in preventing colds.
Citric Acid. The citric acid content of limes helps to protect your body against harmful bacteria. Research suggests that lime juice might actually prevent some bacterial infections.
Flavonoids. Limes are high in flavonoids, which act as antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants help to protect our bodies from damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Flavonoids are also linked to the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and degenerative nerve disease.
Anti-carcinogens. Limonoids are special compounds found in citrus fruits, effective in fighting colon, stomach, breast, lung, skin, and mouth cancer. Scientists have discovered that the anti-carcinogenic properties of limonoids can remain in the body for up to 24 hours after consumption! To put this into perspective, the powerful anti-carcinogens found in green tea only remain active in the human body for 4–6 hours post-consumption.
When you’re at the market, look for limes that feel heavy for their size. They should also have deep green, glossy skin. Store your limes out of direct sunlight at room temperature for up to a week.
Because it’s difficult to drink straight lime juice (can you say sour?!), try to reap those nutritional benefits by incorporating a little lime juice into as many dishes as you can. Squirt lime juice on your salads and into your marinades. Squeeze some into your daily juice or smoothie. Add lime juice to your avocado before eating it, or squirt some into your drinking water.
If you do drink a lot of lime juice in your water and other beverages, try drinking from a straw. The acid in the limes is hard on tooth enamel, and a straw limits the amount of time spent directly between the acid and your pearly whites.
So limes are great and are amazingly helpful with blood sugar levels. You want to make a great paleo margarita? 1 shot quality tequila (made from agave), 3 shots sparkling mineral water, and 1 lime quartered and squeezed into your drink. This combo is the ticket. Yes, you can have this and more!
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