The lime is the sweeter cousin of the lemon with a distinctive flavour that’s reminiscent of the Caribbean. Have you ever wondered why a person, especially a sailor from Britain, used to be called a Limey? In 1493, the passion for this fruit began to spread. British explorers dominated the world trade routes with their steady supply of limes from the West Indies. When many ships fell to scurvy (a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C), the British survived because of their constant supply of this diminutive citrus.
Here are five other amazing feats these green superheros can perform for you:
1. Limes are good for women’s health. These citrus gems contain calcium and folate, two nutrients that are important for post-menopausal women and women of child-bearing age. One fresh lime contains 22 milligrams of calcium and over five micrograms of folate. Not bad for a tiny little fruit!
2. Lime peels can combat aging skin. The peels of citrus fruits contain an inhibitor of melanin production. With age and UV ray exposure, melanin, which gives skin its pigment, can build up and deposit itself as spots on your skin. Treating skin to a mask with bits of lime peel in it could reduce this hyperpigmentation.
3. Limes are anti-carcinogenic. The limonoid compounds in limes have been shown to prevent cancers of the colon, stomach and blood. Though the exact mechanism is unknown, scientists have observed that antioxidant limonoids also cause cancer cell death. Lime limonoids also stay active longer in your bloodstream, mopping more free radicals than green tea or dark chocolate.
4. Lime juice can help prevent formation of kidney stones. Fresh or from concentrate, lime juice contains more citric acid than orange or grapefruit juice. Citric acid is a natural inhibitor of kidney stones made of crystallized calcium. Go for fresh lime juice squeezed into water, as opposed to commercial limeades, for maximal benefits.
5. Limes may lower cholesterol. The primary flavonoid found in the limes, known as hesperidin, has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in animals fed a high-cholesterol diet. Get the most hesperidin out of heart-smart limes by eating as much of the white pith as possible.
Detox lentil-lime soup recipe
The trick of a truly amazing lime soup is to use fresh lime juice and add it right at the end to preserve its incredible flavour. This soup contains the juice of almost 10 limes, which makes it a true detox aid. Springtime is perfect to cleanse and lentils provide needed protein that assists in phase-two liver detoxification. Limes will produce more juice when warm, so consider storing them on the counter or putting them in hot water before juicing. Lentils are one of the easiest legumes to digest and have been shown to help reduce belly fat. This soup freezes well so make a double batch and take it to work for lunch!
6 cups (1.5 L) broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 bay leaf
3 cups (750 mL) dried organic red lentils
3 tbsp (45 mL) water
2 cups (500 mL) onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp (45 mL) whole cumin seed
1 tbsp (15 mL) turmeric
2 cups (500 mL) kale, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) fresh lime juice
Sea salt to taste
1. Rinse dry red lentils in cold water, over and over until water runs clear. In a large pot, combine broth, bay leaf and lentils. Bring to boil.
2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
3. In skillet over medium heat add onion, garlic and sea salt with bit of water and sauté until translucent (about 10 minutes).
4. Break the shell of the whole cumin seeds by lightly grinding them in a mortar and pestle. The seeds should still be visible when you are done.
5. Add turmeric and ground cumin seed into the onion mixture and sauté for 5 more minutes.
6. Mix sautéed onion spice mixture and chopped kale into the cooked lentils. Simmer for 15 minutes over a medium heat to blend flavors.
7. Turn off heat. Add lime juice and olive oil at the last minute to preserve the taste and nutrients.
8. When reheating, gently warm over a low heat.
Makes 10 cups.
Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet (OWN), a reality cooking show that highlights the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation (Random House) is now available and will help people enjoy allergy-free foods that taste great and assist the body in the healing process.