Are Limes Good For You

Are Limes Good For You
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Many readers are interested in the following topic: Is Lime Water Good for You. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

According to a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average adult only drinks 44 ounces of water a day. The findings were even worse for children and teenagers: They only average 23 ounces a day.

Limes: A Citrus Fruit with Powerful Benefits

Limes are high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients. They may help boost immunity, reduce the chance of heart disease, prevent kidney stones, aid iron absorption, and promote healthy skin.

Limes are sour, round, and bright green citrus fruits.

There are many species of limes, including the Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia), Persian lime (Citrus latifolia), desert lime (Citrus glauca), and makrut lime (Citrus hystrix).

Each of these species has unique characteristics. For instance, the Key lime is smaller, more acidic, and more aromatic than the more common Persian type.

In the United States, Persian limes are the most commonly available type.

This article provides an overview of the nutritional benefits of limes, as well as their uses and potential side effects.

Fresh Limes

Though small, limes are loaded with nutrients — particularly vitamin C.

One whole, medium lime (67 grams) provides ( 1 ):

Limes also contain small amounts of riboflavin, niacin, folate, phosphorus, and magnesium.


Limes are high in vitamin C, providing over 20% of your daily needs. They also contain small amounts of iron, calcium, vitamin B6, thiamine, potassium, and more.

Eating lime fruit or drinking lime juice provides a variety of health benefits.

Good source of antioxidants

Antioxidants are important compounds that defend your cells against molecules called free radicals. In high amounts, free radicals can damage your cells, and this damage has been linked to chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and many types of cancer ( 2 ).

Limes are high in active compounds that function as antioxidants in your body, including flavonoids, limonoids, kaempferol, quercetin, and ascorbic acid ( 3 , 4 ).

May boost immunity

Limes are high in vitamin C, a nutrient that may help boost your immune system.

In test-tube studies, vitamin C helped increase the production of white blood cells, which help protect your body against infections and disease ( 5 ).

In human studies, taking vitamin C helped shorten the duration and severity of colds ( 6 ).

Also, vitamin C could help wounds recover faster by reducing inflammation and stimulating collagen production. Collagen is an essential protein that aids wound repair ( 7 , 8 ).

Besides vitamin C, limes are a great source of antioxidants, which help strengthen your immune system by defending your cells against free radical damage ( 2 ).

Could promote healthy skin

Limes have several properties that may promote healthy skin.

First, they’re high in vitamin C. This vitamin is necessary to make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin firm and strong. A medium-sized lime (67 grams) provides over 20% of the DV for this nutrient ( 1 , 9 ).

For instance, one older study in over 4,000 women found that those who ate more vitamin C had a lower risk of wrinkles and dry skin as they aged ( 10 ).

Second, limes are high in antioxidants, which may help combat age-related skin changes.

Oxidative stress is a condition resulting from an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. It can lead to signs of premature aging.

A mouse study found that drinking a citrus drink positively affected some of these signs by reducing wrinkles and increasing collagen production, for example ( 11 ).

May reduce heart disease risk

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide ( 12 ).

Research shows that limes may reduce several heart disease risk factors.

For starters, limes are high in vitamin C, which may help lower high blood pressure, according to one older study ( 13 ).

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.

Also, vitamin C may protect against atherosclerosis — a disease in which plaque builds up in your arteries, making them narrow ( 14 ).

An animal study found that feeding rabbits lime peels and juice helped slow the progression of atherosclerosis ( 15 ).

May prevent kidney stones

Kidney stones are small mineral crystals that are often painful to pass.

They can form inside your kidneys when your urine is very concentrated or you have high levels of stone-forming minerals, such as calcium, in your urine ( 16 ).

Citrus fruits like limes are high in citric acid, which may prevent kidney stones by raising levels of citrate and binding stone-forming minerals in the urine ( 17 ).

One study found that people who ate more citrus fruits had a significantly lower risk of kidney stones ( 18 ).

Increases iron absorption

Iron is an essential nutrient needed to make red blood cells and transport oxygen around your body.

Low blood iron levels can cause iron deficiency anemia. Signs of iron deficiency anemia include fatigue, trouble breathing during exercise, paleness, and dry skin and hair ( 19 ).

People on a vegan or vegetarian diet are at a greater risk of iron deficiency anemia, as plant-based products contain a form of iron that isn’t as well absorbed as the iron in meat and other animal products ( 20 ).

Foods high in vitamin C, such as limes, may help prevent iron deficiency anemia by improving the absorption of iron from plant-based foods.

For instance, one study in people following a vegetarian diet found that drinking a glass of lemonade (8.5 ounces or 250 mL) alongside a plant-based meal increased iron absorption by up to 70% ( 21 ).

May lower your risk of certain cancers

Cancer is a disease characterized by abnormal cell growth.

Citrus fruits have compounds that have been linked to a lower risk of certain cancers ( 22 ).

In particular, flavonoids — which act as antioxidants — may help stop the expression of genes that promote cancer progression ( 23 ).

Additionally, test-tube studies indicate that citrus fruits may suppress the growth or spread of colon, throat, pancreas, breast, bone marrow, lymphomas, and other cancer cells ( 3 , 24 , 25 , 26 ).


Limes may help improve immunity, reduce heart disease risk factors, prevent kidney stones, aid iron absorption, promote healthy skin, and lower your risk of certain cancers.

There are endless ways to use limes inside and outside your kitchen.

They’re valued for their juice and the floral aroma of their zest — which is one reason why they’re considered a staple ingredient in Southeast Asian and Mexican cuisine.

In other parts of the world like India, limes are often pickled to increase their shelf life and then added to dishes as a flavor boost.

Lime zest and juice are common ingredients in desserts and baked goods, such as Key lime pie, cookies, and ice cream.

This citrus fruit can also be used in savory dishes and to add flavor to both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

Outside your kitchen, limes are used as a natural cleaning agent and to neutralize odors. Some studies show that they have antimicrobial properties (27, 28 ).

Lime juice can be mixed with vinegar and water and used as a surface spray for a nontoxic cleaning option.

Limes are available at most grocery stores and often found next to lemons and other citrus fruits. Choose the citrus fruits that feel heavy for their size, are bright in color, and have minimal discoloration.


There are endless ways to use limes inside and outside your kitchen. They add flavor and zest to your meals and can be used as a natural cleaning agent.

Limes are generally safe to consume with little to no side effects.

However, if you’re allergic to other citrus fruits, avoid limes, as they can cause food allergy symptoms, such as swelling, hives, and breathing difficulties. If this occurs, seek medical help immediately.

Additionally, some people may experience acid reflux from eating limes or drinking the juice due to its acidity. Other digestive symptoms may include heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

Limes are very acidic and best enjoyed in moderation. Eating many limes can increase your risk of cavities, as the acid in limes — and other citrus fruits — can erode tooth enamel (29).

To protect your teeth, be sure to rinse your mouth with plain water after eating limes or drinking the juice.

In some cases, applying limes directly to your skin can make it more sensitive to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and cause inflammation. This is known as phytophotodermatitis ( 30 , 31 ).


Limes are generally safe to eat, drink, and touch, but some people may have an adverse reaction to eating them or applying them to their skin.

Is Lime Water Good for You?

Close up of lime slices floating in carafes filled with water.

You’ve no doubt heard that it’s important to drink at least eight glasses (64 ounces) of water every day. Some people actually need to be drinking even more than that, according to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

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But knowing it and doing it are two different things.

According to a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average adult only drinks 44 ounces of water a day. The findings were even worse for children and teenagers: They only average 23 ounces a day.

One of the CDC’s recommendations to improve water-drinking behavior is adding lemon or lime juice. It’s an acquired taste, but for those who enjoy that extra splash of flavor, it may be all the incentive they need to get to — and maybe even beyond — eight glasses a day.

The health benefits that come with staying hydrated are reason enough to make the switch, but the humble lime also packs quite a nutritional punch. As is true of any dynamic duo, the value of lime water may be even greater than the sum of its parts.

We talked to registered dietitian and nutritionist Carly Sedlacek RDN, LD, to find out why this small tweak to your daily hydration habits might be worth making.

What is lime water?

Lime water is exactly what it sounds like: water flavored with juice from a fresh-squeezed lime.

The ratio of lime juice to water doesn’t have to be exact — you can use as much or as little of the fruit as your taste buds dictate. If you’re not sure how much lime flavor you’d like, start by cutting the (thoroughly washed) fruit into quarters and squeezing a single wedge into your cup.

If you want to infuse still more citrus-y goodness into your water, drop the wedge into the water after you’ve squeezed it.

For an even deeper flavor, keep your lime water in the fridge overnight.

Limes vs. lemons

Both lemons and limes fall into the category of citrus fruits. Citrus fruits originate from the Rutaceae family.

And both lemons and limes contain a soluble fiber called pectin, which can be beneficial to heart health. They also have similar nutritional profiles, containing calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, B, C and D.

Although limes and lemons aren’t nutritionally different, limes — as part of the citrus family — can have health benefits such as boosting your immune system and helping with micronutrient absorption.

Health benefits

Like lemon water, lime water has a lot of health benefits. That’s because, according to Sedlacek, “Limes are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients.” Here, we’ve compiled a list of the common health benefits associated with lime water.

Boosts hydration

Our bodies are mostly water. It figures, then, that dehydration impacts all of our bodily functions. From digesting food to circulating oxygen throughout our bodies, we do everything a little better when we’re drinking enough water.

Adding lime to your water can encourage you to up your H2O consumption. It’s also healthier than most of the other ways (like artificial sweeteners) that we make our water more exciting.

Improves skin

Skin loves moisture, so drinking water is always a good idea. Fortifying that water with a fruit that’s high in vitamin C is an even better one.

Why? Because vitamin C — in addition to brightening your complexion — stimulates collagen production. Collagen naturally firms and tightens your skin.

Supports digestion

You probably already know that the acid in your stomach helps you break down the foods you eat. But did you know that acid levels tend to decline as we age? Limes can supplement that stomach acid.

It’s also worth noting that drinking water helps relieve constipation.

Boosts immunity

Have you been getting sick a lot recently? Your diet may be compromising your immune function.

Increasing your vitamin C levels (within reason — too much can cause stomach problems) can help you turn things around. Vitamin C can increase the number and quality of your white blood cells. Staying hydrated helps your body produce lymph, which, Sedlacek explains, carries those white blood cells throughout your body.

In addition, the antioxidants found in limes fight inflammation, which strengthens your immune response.

The result: shorter and more infrequent bouts of sickness.

Helps regulate blood sugar

Lime water could be especially useful to folks who are watching their blood sugar. Limes have a low glycemic index, which helps prevent wild sugar swings throughout the day.

Supports healthy weight loss

We all know that healthy weight loss strategies require you to eat your fruits and veggies and drink plenty of water. But did you know that a study conducted over 24 years found a correlation between increased consumption of citrus and weight loss? We can’t assume that increased consumption of citrus juice is similarly correlated with weight loss, but it’s certainly a good sign.

“Limes are low in calories, high in micronutrients and punch above their weight with regard to both water and fiber content,” Sedlacek says. “They’re really good for us, but most of us aren’t going to make a snack of them. The juice — without added sugar — is the best we can do.”

Improves iron absorption

If you struggle to get enough iron in your diet, or have an iron-deficiency anemia diagnosis, it’s important to get plenty of vitamin C.

When consumed alongside your iron-rich food of choice, the vitamin C in lime water helps your body better absorb those minerals. That’s great news because insufficient stores of iron can lead to hair loss, restless leg syndrome, fatigue and a host of other unpleasant symptoms.

May reduce risk of cancer, kidney stones and heart disease

If you have a tendency toward kidney stones, you’d benefit from drinking lime water every day. Citrate — which is found in lime juice — has been shown to dissolve kidney stones and prevent them from forming.

The vitamin C and antioxidants found in limes are also known to reduce stress on the heart.

While certainly less definitive than some of the other preventative properties of lime, a 2021 study found that the more citrus you consume, the less likely you are to develop lung cancer. Further studies are needed to know if those findings are generalizable to citrus juice.

“Limes aren’t a cure-all by any stretch of the imagination, but they are a welcome addition to a healthy diet,” Sedlacek notes.

Should you drink lime water every day?

You don’t need to restrict the amount of lime water you drink in a day any more than you do regular water. While hyponatremia is uncommon, it can happen, so make sure you monitor your water intake, regardless of flavoring.

In fact, you’re more likely to experience the health benefits if you’re drinking it every day. Your best bet is drinking lime water first thing in the morning, in lieu of fruit juice or a sugary coffee drink.

Sedlacek adds, “Starting your day with a sugary drink will make it harder to stay on track throughout the day. A glass of lime water will deliver on flavor without kicking off a craving.”

The bottom lime

Adding a spritz of lime juice to your water doesn’t just make it tastier — it adds to the already significant health benefits we enjoy when we’re properly hydrated. Squeezing this new habit into your daily routine is a quick, affordable and easy way to improve your nutrition.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy