Natural Health Tips

Limes Are An Excellent Immune-Boosting Food

Limes, like lemons are an antioxidant-rich, immunity-boosting citrus fruit. They not only enhance the flavor of foods, but contain potential anti-carcinogenic and immune system-supporting compounds that strengthen the body's natural defenses against infection and disease.

Limes are smaller than the lemon and are green and round. They also have a greater sugar and citric acid content and are more acidic in taste than lemons.

Limes are an excellent source of Vitamin C, an important antioxidant, and also contain folate, calcium, potassium and fiber. Limes contain powerful phytochemicals known as flavonol glycosides. These include limonin glucoside and kaempferol, strong antioxidants that help to prevent oxidative damage of cells, lipids and DNA. Kaempferol is also associated with helping to prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and additionally has been found to act as a chemopreventative agent to fight cancer.

Health Benefits

Immunity: Vitamin C is vital to the function of a strong immune system. Research shows that consumption of vegetables and fruits high in Vitamin C are associated with reduced risk of death from numerous causes including heart disease, stroke and cancer. Limes also contain powerful anti-viral properties and can help to speed up the body's natural healing process.

Cancer: Flavonol glycosides may prevent the division of cancer cells for many types of cancer. Lime's powerful antioxidant limonin was shown to stop cancer cell proliferation in one study. Studies have found that this antioxidant is easily digested by the body and stays in the body for up to 24 hours after consumption. Limonin's bioavailability and persistence may help explain why citrus phytochemicals are potent anti-carcinogens. Other natural anti-carcinogens are available for much less time; for example, the phenols in green tea and chocolate remain active in the body for just 4 to 6 hours.

Tips on Using Limes

  • To extract more juice from a lime, roll it on a firm surface before squeezing out the juice.

  • It usually takes between six to nine limes to make one cup of fresh lime juice.

  • For a refreshing immunity-boosting drink, peel a selection of citrus fruit such as 2 oranges, 1 grapefruit, 1 lemon and 1 lime, and press through a juicer.

References

  • Poulose SM, Harris ED, Patil BS. Citrus limonoids induce apoptosis in human neuroblastoma cells and have radical scavenging activity. J Nutr. 2005 Apr;135(4):870-7.

  • Sun J, Chu YF, Wu X, Liu RH. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of common fruits. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Dec 4;50(25):7449-54.

  • Manners GD at al. Bioavailability of citrus limonoids in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Jul 2;51(14):4156-61

  • Gharagozloo M, Ghaderi A. Immunomodulatory effect of concentrated lime juice extract on activated human mononuclear cells. J Ethnopharmaco.l 2001;77(1):85-90.

  • Kawaii S, Tomono Y, Katase E, et al. Antiproliferative effects of the readily extractable fractions prepared from various citrus juices on several cancer cell lines. J Agric Food Chem.1999;47(7):2509-12.