Scientifically known as Citrus aurantifolia, lime is a highly aromatic fruit belonging to the citrus family. Native to Asia, lime is considered by many botanists to be a natural hybrid of cedar with another species. Very sensitive to cold, it grows in tropical and subtropical climate areas.
In the past, lime was exported in huge quantities from Malaysia and India to the United Kingdom to meet the needs of sailors. The fruit was in fact considered a natural remedy equivalent to lemon for the prevention of scurvy, disease due to a deficiency of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. In memory of these historical customs, part of the English docks is still called "Limehouse".
Lime is a very robust citrus variety, similar to lemon, but much less sour. The taste is indeed pleasant, so much so that this fruit is usually used in the kitchen, to make cocktails and also as an ingredient in sweets and candies.
The acidity of lime is generally so light that it does not even reach 0.1%. The tree that produces it is small and has thorny twigs. The fruits are small, slightly oval and almost always green. The peel is rich in essential oils, while the pulp is very juicy.
Like all fruits belonging to the citrus family, lime also has a number of precious properties that make it an ally of the body's wellbeing, from many points of view.
Lime: properties and benefits
True concentrate of beneficial substances for the body, lime has numerous properties that help preserve our well-being. It is a fruit extremely rich in vitamin C, an indispensable substance that ensures various positive effects on the human body, including strengthening the immune system and that of bones and teeth. The lime also contains high amounts of mineral salts as well as possessing important antioxidant properties. The consumption of this type of fruit therefore helps to hinder the activity of free radicals, protecting cells from premature aging.
Alongside the juice, the pulp and peel of the lime also have beneficial substances for the body, such as i polyphenols and terpenes, also antioxidant molecules useful for counteracting the onset of tumors. The scientific literature has highlighted a number of additional positive properties possessed by this fruit. The grated and inhaled lime peel, for example, offers immediate relief in the presence of respiratory disorders.
Like other citrus fruits, lime is effective in lowering the level of cholesterol in the blood. The fruit also facilitates the digestive process, prevents urinary infections and is a panacea for sight, helping to counteract macular degeneration and aging of the eyes. A positive effect was also found in the treatment of cholera, linked to the antibacterial action of the high levels of acid contained in the lime juice.
Lime: nutritional values and calories
The lime has a energy density rather limited. Calories are provided especially by simple carbohydrates, followed marginally by proteins and lipids. Lime is cholesterol-free, provides a fair amount of fiber and it is a good source of water. If consumed regularly, it therefore promotes the body's state of hydration.
For 100 grams of lime, the calorie intake is equal to 14 Kcal, divided as follows:
- water, About 90 grams;
- Carbohydrates, About 8 grams;
- Proteins, less than 0.5 grams;
- Fiber, less than 0.5 grams.
Lime: how to use it
There are really many uses that can be made of lime in the culinary field and beyond. In the food sector, lime can be used for example for:
- Marinate the chicken;
- Prepare the guacamole;
- Flavor the extra virgin olive oil;
- Season fresh fish tartare, such as salmon and tuna;
- Season the fruit of the fruit salad, so that it does not turn black;
- Season the meat;
- Prepare ice creams, slushes and sorbets.
Preserved in a jar, the fruit is a typical Indian product. Lime is also an essential ingredient for the preparation of some cocktails, such as the famous Mojito of Cuban origins.
The strong aroma that distinguishes it, makes it a good remedy against mosquitoes, nightmare of hot summer evenings. It is therefore possible to apply the lime directly to the skin, in order to be able to ward off annoying insects.
Currently, lime is also widely used in the cosmetic sector. It is used, for example, as a natural ingredient in perfumes, creams and soaps. To be exploited is in particular theessential oil extracted from its peel, which is able to give a note of freshness to cosmetic products that see it as the protagonist.
Mixed with others natural substances like vinegar and lemon, lime finally proves to be an effective ingredient for making eco detergents and sprays for household cleaning. A compound made with these three green components can be used practically anywhere in the house: from the bathroom to the kitchen, passing through the glass windows. It is in fact an excellent natural disinfectant which, in addition to being economical, fills the home with a pleasant scent, offering a touch of freshness.
Differences between lime and lemon
Although similar to each other, lime and lemon still have some differences. The former are visible to the naked eye. The lemon is characterized by larger dimensions and is yellow in color. The lime, on the other hand, is smaller and basically green in color.
Further differences can be found at the time of tasting. Lemon juice is sweeter, as this fruit is richer in sugar. Lime, on the other hand, is more tart, as well as being less rich in vitamin C than lemon.
Although it is a fruit rich in beneficial properties, one must not exaggerate in the consumption of lime and its juice. The risk is to run into unpleasant side effects. Lime contains, for example, high levels of potassium, a mineral that if taken in excess could negatively affect correct functioning of the renthe.
If used in excessive quantities, lime juice may also be irritating to the oral mucosa.
Furthermore, it is best not to put human skin in direct contact with lime zest or pulp, subsequently exposing oneself to the sun. The fruit is rich in coumarins, substances that when under the influence of ultraviolet light cause an annoying reaction, known as phytophotodermatitis, manifested by symptoms such as burning, erythema, patches, blisters, blisters or hyperpigmented areas.