12 Science-Based Health Benefits of Lime Water
Limes are commonly used as an accent to meals and are often used in Thai, Vietnamese and Mexican cuisine. They are cultivated year-round in warm climates and are usually slightly smaller and more sour than lemons. The Persian lime is most commonly used for savory dishes while the key lime is favored for desserts such as the key lime pie.
Adding citrus fruit, such as lemon or lime, to water has become a common occurrence lately. This may cause some who have noticed to ask why this is. Lime is not just added to water for extra flavor.
There is evidence that adding citrus fruits, particularly lime, to water can provide a host of health and beauty benefits. This is because of both the independent nutrients in the lime itself, and the beneficial nutrients that are created from infusing the lime with water.
12 Health Benefits of Lime Water
1. Lime water can provide be better for hydration than water alone.
Because lime contains electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which help to maintain water in the body and improve hydration, this provides a synergistic effect to lime water which delivers both a high amount of fluid and electrolytes compared to water alone. (1)
Also, both sodium and potassium are excreted heavily through sweating. This makes lime water an ideal drink to take during exercise or on hot days, as water alone will not provide the electrolytes required for replenishment and water retention. Simply chugging water in the hopes that this will completely rehydrate you, is not the best approach. The right balance of fluids and electrolytes to maintain performance should also be taken into account.
2. Lime water can help fight infections.
As well as being high in electrolytes, limes are also a good source in vitamin C. (1) This can help with fighting infections and helping the immune system to fight off harmful viruses or bacteria. (2) This is due to the flavonoids contained within limes, which have been shown to have disinfectant and antibacterial properties. (3)
As such, instead of supplementing with Vitamin C when sick, or during winter months, adding lime to a glass of water regularly can provide just as much benefit, while providing a range of other perks.
3. Lime water can help regulate blood sugar and hunger.
Due to the sugars in lime and the high amount of fluids in water, lime water can be effective in lowering blood sugar. (4) Also, it is a very low calorie beverage which can help decrease appetite without causing weight gain.
This makes lime water a useful beverage for diabetics or those struggling with weight gain or looking for weight loss to improve their health. Often times thirst may be mistaken for hunger, so proper hydration also plays a part in weight management.
4. Lime water can contribute to heart health.
Also, while sodium has gotten some bad press recently for having a potentially negative effect on cardiovascular health if consumed in excess (7), failing to consume enough sodium can also be hazardous for heart health. (8) As such, including lime water into the diet can provide an easy and low cost way of helping maintain a healthy heart without taking in too much salt.
5. Lime water can help maintain oral hygiene.
High levels of vitamin C combined with the high amount of water can also be beneficial to the teeth and mouth, with vitamin C protecting against diseases like scurvy and frequent water intake helping to protect against plaque buildup. (9,10)
With a rising risk of gum disease from increased sugar intake, lime water can be a useful beverage in helping protect and contribute to oral hygiene, which can mean less trips to the dentist over a lifetime. If you know anyone who is having a hard time cutting out sugary drinks, lime water with some natural sweetener like stevia, can help curb the sweet tooth cravings.
6. Lime water has anti-inflammatory properties.
The high amount of antioxidants that lime contains also crossover to lime water, meaning this beverage can be helpful in fighting inflammation. This is particularly useful in individuals like elderly or rehabilitating populations, as they can suffer from low-grade chronic inflammation, where persistent inflammation is present and can lead to slowed recovery, healing and be damaging to health in the long-term. (11)
If you’re suffering from chronic inflammation of any kind, incorporating lime water into your diet may be an effective form of treatment instead of using NSAIDS.
7. Lime water may improve digestion and absorption of nutrients.
The high fluid content and vitamin content in lime water can help improve digestion, improving the amount of nutrients absorbed in the intestines and speeding up stomach emptying. (12) This is beneficial for individuals who want to gain weight, such as those who have a low BMI or have trouble eating due to lack of appetite.
Lime is also high in insoluble fiber, which further helps improve nutrient absorption and digestion, helping nutrition and preventing constipation (13), a benefit which further makes lime water an ideal choice for elderly individuals or those with problems with bowel movement.
8. Lime water can help fight aging.
One of the primary elements of aging is inflammation and the breakdown of collagen, which is a primary protein used to build and maintain the skin, hair and nails. (14, 15) The creation of this protein also slows down over time.
The high vitamin C and antioxidant content in lime has been shown to help both reduce inflammation, as explained above, and increase collagen synthesis in the body. (16) This gives lime water powerful anti-aging potential and could be a useful beverage to include if looking to maintain healthy skin and hair throughout life. Topically, it may be used in a 2:1 ration with water as a natural toner and skin whitener for brighter, more youthful looking skin.
9. Lime water may have anti-cancer properties.
Lime contains a flavonoid called flavonol glycosides, which have been shown to stop cell division in harmful cancer cell lines. Also, in West Africa, lime juice taken once a day with a meal provided protection against the contraction of cholera. Though lime juice is not recommended as a substitute for traditional cancer treatments, it may be worth exploring as a natural supplement to the diet in support of the treatment/s. (17)
11. Lime water may improve iron absorption.
Iron deficiency is common in developed countries, and is one of the leading causes of anemia. When paired with foods that are high in vitamin C, lime water can help the body maximize the body’s ability to absorb iron through supplementation and iron-rich foods. For example, a chickpea and quinoa salad with spinach topped with a squeeze of lime juice as dressing is a good meal choice for those who are deficient in iron. (18)
12. Lime water may reduce your risk of stroke.
Eating citrus fruits more often may lower risk of ischemic stroke in women. According to a study conducted by the American Heart Association, those who ate the most citrus fruits showed at least 15% lower risk of stroke than those who consumed lesser amounts of citrus fruits. (19)
How to Infuse Water with Lime
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, infusing lime into water requires a simple technique to ensure all of the nutrients are maintained and available through the water.
This can be done easily through the following steps:
- Slice 2-3 slices of lime.
- Slightly mash or soften the slices until tender.
- Add slices to a jug of water.
- Add a slight pinch of herbs of choice for added flavour (optional).
- Leave overnight to allow limes to soak and nutrients to infuse.
- Enjoy the next day alone, with a meal or as a morning drink to start the day.
Lime water can be used for a wide range of health and beauty benefits, and is especially useful for those who either don’t enjoy the relatively strong taste of lime, or who have difficulty taking in solid foods. However, because the lime juice is diluted in water, it is necessary to drink a large volume of lime water to reap the benefits.