Most people have heard of lemon juice to help kick start the day as well as overall health. From inhaling the invigorating citrus scent in an effort to help beat mid-day slumps to squeezing some in water to help flush out toxins, it’s been touted as an incredible addition to diets. However, could it be that so much emphasis has been placed on lemons that its popular green grocery store neighbor, the lime, has been forgotten?
Sure, limes are often squeezed in alcoholic drinks and associated with drizzling over calorie-rich Mexican foods, but if it’s improving health we’re after, using a lime in those ways doesn’t do much good. The lime offers a host of health benefits. So push that margarita aside and read on.
1. Disinfects Water
It’s been found that lime can help disinfect water, killing both norovirus and E. coli.
Norovirus has been in several headlines over the past few years, most notably for outbreaks that have occurred on cruise ships. It typically affects people living or working in close quarters such as hospitals, restaurants and nursing homes and includes symptoms like diarrhea, cramps, chills and fatigue.(1)
Lime has also been found to kill the cholera pathogen, which has been thought to be responsible for up to 130,000 deaths annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this bacterium is typically found in water or food that has been contaminated by feces from a person infected with cholera. Most often, it’s found in areas where poor sanitization and less than ideal water treatment and hygiene measures are in place.(2,3)
2. Helps Kill Pancreatic Cancer
Studies have found that the bioactive compounds in limes play a role in killing pancreatic cancer cells. Since this type of cancer is especially hard to treat, this finding provides hope for those willing to explore avenues other than traditional cancer treatments.(2)
According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 39,590 deaths every year due to pancreatic cancer.(4)
3. Can Help A Person Stop Smoking
The harms of smoking are widely known; from lung cancers, respiratory problems and circulatory issues, smoking is detrimental to health. In fact, the CDC notes that about 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking and even from secondhand smoke exposure every year.(5)
However, a study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, “Efficacy of fresh lime for smoking cessation,” discovered that fresh lime juice was a more effective smoking cessation aid than nicotine gum.(6)
4. Helps Those with Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA), which involves an abnormality in red blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen, affects about 95,000 Americans and is diagnosed in 1 in every 500,000 African-American births. A clinical study uncovered lime juice’s benefits when it comes to SCA; it was linked with preventing SCA-associated pain and in lessening related hospital admission rates among children.(2)