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4 health benefits of limes

As one of the citrus fruits with the lowest amount of calories (20 calories each!), this small fruit packs big benefits.

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Three limes sitting on a table, one sliced

(Photo by Masterfile)

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 to 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 four other amazing feats these green superheros can perform for you:

1. Limes are rich in vitamin C. One lime provides 32% of your daily value for vitamin C. It’s also a good source of fibre, most of which is contained in the peel and pith.

2. 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.

3. Limes may help prevent certain types of cancer. The limonoid compounds in limes have been shown to prevent pancreatic cancer. Though the exact mechanism is unknown, scientists have observed that antioxidant limonoids also cause cancer cell death.

4. Lime can help against foodborne illnesses. As a common ingredient in sauces especially Latin American, Southeast Asian and Caribbean cuisines, lime juice has been shown to inhibit the growth of cholera virus.

Lentil lime soup

(Photo by Julie Daniluk)

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. 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. This soup freezes well so make a double batch and take it to work for lunch!

Ingredients
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

Directions:

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 is a Toronto-based nutritionist and author of
 Meals That Heal Inflammation.

Try this easy chili-lime pork recipe