Health Benefits Of Limes

What is a lime?

Limes are an edible citrus/ acidic fruit derived from numerous species and hybrids of the genus Citrus, belonging to the rue family (Rutaceae). They are typically round in shape, green in colour, and widely grown in tropical and subtropical regions. The top producers of limes are Mexico, Florida, Egypt, and the West Indies. The most commonly known lime is the C. Aurantifolia Swingle, also referred to as Key limes in the Florida Keys. These types of limes are relatively seedy, with a thin rind and very juicy flesh, highly acidic, and have a distinctive floral aroma.

Another common lime is the C. Latifolia Tan, or Persian lime, which has a large, oblong shape. At maturity, it is a light to dark green and 2-5 times larger than the small-fruited limes. Persian limes are thought to be a hybrid of the citron and or the lemon; however, the parentage and the true source are unknown. Persian limes are predominantly grown in South Florida due to their tolerance to cold temperatures and low heat requirement to reach maturity.

Different types of limes include:

  • Makrut limes (C. Hystrix) - also referred to as Kaffir limes/ Thai limes, are native to Southeast Asia. They're distinguished by their small size and bumpy green exterior and ripen to yellow.
  • Sweet lime (C. limetta) - Native to the southern regions of Iran, this citrus fruit is a cross between a bitter orange and citron. This lime is dark green and oval when raw, turning bright yellow when ripe. 
  • Finger limes (C. Australasia) - an elongated fruit with a hint of grapefruit flavour, with the most famous variety found in the Australian coastal region of Southeast Queensland and New South Wales

Health benefits of limes

Today, limes are often associated with their use in cocktails or as a zesty garnish; however, historically, lime juice was well recognised for its health benefits. As a citrus fruit rich in dietary fibre, Vitamin. C (L-ascorbic acid naturally found in some foods) and flavonoids (pigments that are usually present in the genus Citrus and are responsible for the flower and fruit colour), limes are thought to have some health-promoting benefits:

Skin health

Limes are one of the best food sources of Vitamin. C plays an integral role in building and maintaining collagen, rejuvenating, and contributing towards healthy skin in both young and aged skin.1  In 1747,, Dr Lind became the first person to prove the efficacy of citrus juice as a treatment for scurvy. For years, sailors carried Vitamins. C-rich citrus fruits like limes on long journeys to avoid scurvy, which is characterised by bleeding gums and widespread connective tissue weakness caused by impaired collagen synthesis.

Reducing inflammation

Lime juice has potential anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with conditions like acne vulgaris, promote wound healing, and prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 

Reduce the risk of heart disease

Lime juice and lime peels have been shown to have antioxidant properties. Constructed on the basis of vitamins'  role as an antioxidant, higher Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin. C of 75 mg for persons assigned female gender at birth and 90 mg for persons assigned male gender at birth have been put into place.3 In vitro experiments have demonstrated the antioxidant effects of Vitamin. C, cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis may occur in part from oxidant damage to tissues. Studies have been conducted to show the protective role of antioxidants in the progression of atherosclerosis, with results demonstrating that lime juice can decelerate the atherogenesis process.4

Supports immune function

Limes may be able to prevent and or treat respiratory and systemic infections by boosting different immune cell functions. This citrus fruit contains micronutrients like Vitamin. C, which supports the protective activities of our immune cells. Therefore, maintaining a sufficient Vitamin. C intake through diet should aid in improving immune function and resistance to infections, especially in individuals susceptible to Vitamin. C deficiencies.

Assist with iron absorption

Beyond functioning as an antioxidant, this citrus fruit is known to increase the absorption of inorganic nonheme iron and plays an essential role in the metabolism of folic acid and some amino acids and hormones. Reduced absorption of nonheme iron resulting from low Vitamin. C intake can lead to anaemia. 

Potential role in preventing hypertension

There are numerous mechanisms by which potassium might control our blood pressure (BP). Diets such as the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), low in sodium and rife with potassium, calcium, and magnesium, are being proposed as a lifestyle modification for high blood pressure control in hypertensive patients, suggesting a potassium daily intake of 4.7g.6 

Kidney stone prevention

Consuming lime water can help in preventing kidney stone formation. Concentrated urine results in the crystallisation of waste products in the fluid. Lime juice contains citrate; therefore, consumption increases urinary citrate levels and urine volume, preventing the formation of crystals. Furthermore, people with low urinary citrate must be encouraged to increase their consumption of foods high in citric acid, and drinking lime water will also play a key part in combating dehydration.7

May protect against some cancers

Some studies have demonstrated associations between citrus fruits such as limes and their chemo-preventive potentials alongside purified flavonoids. Citrus peel, in particular, is a potential source of medicinal compounds. Epidemiological studies have suggested that high consumption of fruits and vegetables could decrease cancer risk by ≥20% with diets such as 'The Mediterranean diet', which is rich in fruit pulp and juice highly recommended.8

Can support weight loss

Limes are low in calories and provide an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals. Due to limes' strong flavour, we tend not to eat the fruit raw like we would other citrus fruits like oranges. However, they provide nutrients that can be enjoyed in different ways depending on your preparation method. Citrus polyphenols (a naturally occurring compound found in fruits and vegetables) suppress weight gain and body fat accumulation. Studies with cell cultures have suggested that citrus polyphenols might assist with obesity management, as they cause a decrease in adipocyte differentiation. However, due to the variety of methodologies, further research is required to better understand the role that citrus fruit may play in promoting healthy weight loss.

Nutritional facts

Citrus fruits are a great source of distinctive elements and vitamins that the human body needs. A single raw lime weighing 67g contains 22.1 mg calcium, 68.3 mg potassium, 8mg Magnesium, and 30mg Vitamin. C/ total ascorbic acid, 5.36 mcg folate, 90.8g water, 25 kcal, 0.4g fibre.9

Side effects and other concerns

  • Excessive consumption of lime juice can be harmful, and the intensity and type of flavonoids, lime juice and peel can also have different effects.
  • The citrus juice from limes can cause skin irritations if topical exposure occurs.
  • Induced Phytophotodermatitis is a non-immunologic skin reaction triggered by topical exposure to furocoumarin compounds in sunlight. Limes contain furocoumarin, and this can irritate the skin when exposure to both limes and sunlight occurs (this is particularly common among bartenders).10
  • Drinking lime juice in large quantities will not cause any serious adverse effects. However, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal cramps, and other gastrointestinal disturbances are the most commonly reported complaints.11


Lime juice can be added to water, creating lime water and adding extra flavour to water, promoting hydration and offering additional nutritional benefits. It is always important to note that these health benefits may be more likely in individuals with a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Furthermore, few clinical trials have been developed to thoroughly examine the role of this citrus fruit and its nutritional benefits. Due to their acidity, excessive consumption of lime juice is not recommended as it can cause irritations to the digestive system.


  1. Boyera N, Galey I, Bernard BA. Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts. Int J Cosmet Sci. 1998 Jun;20(3):151–8.
  2. Office of dietary supplements - vitamin C  [Internet]. [cited 2023 Mar ]. Available from:
  3. Jacob RA, Sotoudeh G. Vitamin C  function and status in chronic disease. Nutrition in Clinical Care [Internet]. 2002 Apr [cited 2023 Mar ];5(2):66–74. Available from:
  4. Boshtam M, Asgary S, Moshtaghian J, Naderi G, Jafari-Dinani N. Impacts of fresh lime juice and peel on atherosclerosis progression in an animal model. ARYA Atheroscler. 2013 Nov;9(6):357–62.
  5. Carr A, Maggini S. Vitamin C  and immune function. Nutrients [Internet]. 2017 Nov 3 [cited 2023 Mar ];9(11):1211. Available from:
  6. Staruschenko A. Beneficial effects of high potassium: contribution of renal basolateral k channels. Hypertension [Internet]. 2018 Jun [cited 2023 Mar ];71(6):1015–22. Available from:
  7. Penniston KL, Nakada SY, Holmes RP, Assimos DG. Quantitative assessment of citric acid in lemon juice, lime juice, and commercially available fruit juice products. Journal of Endourology [Internet]. 2008 Mar [cited 2023 Mar ];22(3):567–70. Available from:
  8. Cirmi S, Ferlazzo N, Lombardo G, Maugeri A, Calapai G, Gangemi S, et al. Chemopreventive agents and inhibitors of cancer hallmarks: may citrus offer new perspectives? Nutrients [Internet]. 2016 Nov 4 [cited 2023 Mar ];8(11):698. Available from:
  9. Fooddata central [Internet]. [cited 2023 Mar ]. Available from:
  10. Fitzpatrick JK, Kohlwes J. Lime-induced phytophotodermatitis. J GEN INTERN MED [Internet]. 2018 Jun [cited 2023 Mar ];33(6):975–975. Available from:
  11. Office of dietary supplements - vitamin C  [Internet]. [cited 2023 Mar ]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Samantha Kamema

MSc – Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, University of South Wales

Samantha is a Cardiac Physiologist with a passion for health, research and educating/ empowering the public into making informed decisions about their health and wellbeing. She has over 11 years of experience in healthcare having worked in both the NHS and private sector covering various fields. Currently exploring medical writing and medical communications. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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