There is a popular saying thus; "A blessing in disguise"
Literally meaning, "something good which is unrecognized at first". You might be pondering on the significance of this saying within the context of this article.
Well, Just A Flashback.............
While I was growing up, my family had more that one lime trees in our compound. Then, we would pluck the limes for several domestic purposes and sometimes for sale. I remember vividly how my mum would gather these limes and boil them together with certain leaves for medicinal purposes and sometimes for preparing special dishes.
But the most interesting part of this story is that my friends and I would stealthily pluck these fruits and play around with them. Then as a kid, I never knew that this particular fruit we regarded as so cheap and common, "is actually a blessing in disguise", and of tremendous importance to human health.
Lime is a greenish citrus fruit that is oval in shape and approximately 3-6 cm in size. This specie of citrus has a characteristics sour taste which is acidic in nature and they grow all year-round. Lime is of great benefits due to its vast nutritional and medicinal values to human beings. Studies suggest that lime and It's health benefits cannot be overemphasized, so let us then unravel these benefits.
10 Health Benefits of Lime
1) Treatment of gastric disorders
Lime is a rich source of flavonoids and vitamin C with detoxifying properties that prompt the digestive system to raise the secretion of digestive juices and acids. The flavonoids in lime are of four types namely; anthrocyanins, flavanones, flavanols and flavones and the antioxidant constituents of these substances make them anti-viral, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory.
These properties facilitate prompt healing of oral and peptic ulcers thus essential for treating gastric diseases such as peptic ulcer, constipation and indigestion. When an individual is faced with chronic constipation, studies suggest that an intake of lemon juice will boost the secretion of bile from the liver thereby stimulating intestinal sensitivity as well as easy breakdown of food molecules for proper digestion. Peptic ulcer inflicts lots of abdominal pain however, the acids in lime activate an alkaline reaction within the digestive system which greatly reduces the gastric acidity.
Piles are physically swollen blood vessels present within or around the anus and rectum mostly caused as a result of protracted constipation due to lack of fibre in the diet. In as much as lime is useful in treating ulcers and minimizing the effect of constipation, it is quite understandable that this fruit is also capable of eliminating bedrock of piles. The best method of preventing piles is by increasing the amount of fibre intake in one's diet of which lime is a good source.
3) Nutritional value
Lime is a rich source of dietary fibres, phosphorus, carbohydrates, vitamin A, vitamin C, citric acid, calcium, iron, and magnesium. The healthy nutritional contents of lime fruits make them very beneficial for the human body. The high content of vitamin C in lime fruits maximizes an individual's ability to resist diseases thus maintaining a healthy body. Lime is also good for blood purification.
4) Weight reduction
Lime is characterized by anti-oxidizing properties which makes it a suitable therapy for weight reduction. Studies suggest that a regular intake of at least a glass of lukewarm water mixed with squeezed lime juice helps in shedding excess weight. Interestingly, lime's ability to burn fat can be attributed to it's high constituent of citric acid.
5) Treatment of tonsillitis
Researchers agree that oral intake of lime juice mixed with lukewarm water and salt helps in treating tonsillitis.
6) Treatment of cold
The high content of vitamin C in lime fruits increases the ability of the human body to resist diseases such as cold.
Lime contains a high amount of soluble dietary fiber which increases it's ability to control the body’s retention of sugar in the bloodstream. To a larger extent, this greatly minimizes the incidence of irregular sugar spikes that pose a great threat to diabetic patients.
This is in support of American Diabetes Association belief that lime fruits are graded as diabetes super food because of their low glycemic index. Food products which have a low glycemic index greatly regulates the blood sugar and will not cause abrupt spikes in blood glucose levels.
Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of carbohydrate-containing food products in relation to their impact on the blood sugar level. Diabetic patients are highly recommended to consume more of food products that are with low glycemic index for a more regulated sugar level.
8) Treatment of skin diseases
Lime acts as a disinfectant and antioxidant thus helps to renew and protect the skin. Studies suggest that the addition of lime juice in bathing water greatly reduces body odour and this is attributed to lime's constituent of flavonoids and vitamin C. External application of lime juice on the skin is very helpful in treating skin rashes, dandruffs and bruises due to it's constituent of citric acid.
However, it is noteworthy that individuals, avoid exposing their skin to sunlight after treatment with lime to avoid a reaction known as phytophotodermatitis. Phytophotodermatitis otherwise known as Lime Disease is a chemical reaction caused as a result of skin contact with photosensitizing compounds present in some plants such as citrus fruits. These compounds instigate the skin to be susceptible to ultraviolet light. It's effects can be mistaken for chemical burns and can also cause the skin to darken and swell up with blisters.
9) Treatment of Scurvy
Lime contains a large amount of vitamin C hence highly recommended for treating scurvy. Scurvy is a disease condition caused as a result of lack of Vitamin C in our diets. Vitamin C otherwise known as ascorbic acid, on the other hand is highly important for the formation of collagen in the body.
Human body on it's own is incapable of making vitamin C unlike some other vitamins thus our vitamin C comes from our dietary intakes. The ideal approach to preventing scurvy is to consume a balanced and healthy diet that contains plenty amount of fruit and vegetables otherwise referred to as 5-A-DAY.
10) Stroke and cardiovascular Disease
The high constituent of soluble fiber in lime reduces the inflammation of the blood vessels thereby preventing heart attacks and heart diseases. Reddy and Katan (2004) agree that flavanoids are very beneficial in managing stroke risk of which lime is an example.
Studies also suggest that the consumption of citrus fruits exhibits positive impacts on cardiovascular disease due to the presence of phytonutrients, folate and potassium. Folate greatly reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases while potassium lowers high blood pressure thus giving maximum protection against stroke.
American Diabetes Association (2014) Diabetes Superfoods
Atkinson F. S., Foster-Powell K. and Brand-Miller J. C. (2008) International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values, Diabetes Care issue 31, vol. 12.
NHS (2014) Piles (haemorrhoids)
Reddy K. S. and Katan M. B. (2004) Diet, nutrition and the prevention of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, Public Health Nutrition publication, 7(1A) p.174
Subha G. (2013) Medicinal Properties of Lime and its Traditional Food Value, Research Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol. 2(4) P.19
Unnisa N., Tabassum H., Ali M. N. and Ponia K. (2012), Evaluation of Antibacterial Activity of Five Selected Fruits on Bacterial Wound Isolates, International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences, 3(4) p. 532
Wikipedia (2014) Lime (fruit)
Wikipedia (2014) Phytophotodermatitis