You’ve probably heard of adding a slice of fresh lemon to your water for extra flavor. But have you ever been offered a glass of water with lime? Prob not.
Lime water is a great alternative to sugary drinks, and (bonus!) it comes with plenty of health benefits. Here’s why it’s time for this citrus to step into the limelight.
Lime juice is full of important nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, and iron. Plus, it’s loaded with antioxidants. Here’s how it could help your health.
1. Provides antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that help keep you healthy by defending your cells against molecules called free radicals. When there are high amounts of free radicals in your body, they can damage your cells. Research shows this type of damage is linked to serious health conditions like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Limes contain antioxidants called flavonoids and limonoids. Studies suggest flavonoids may help decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes. Their anti-inflammatory effects may even help stop cancer cells from multiplying. Some research also suggests that limonoids can reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
2. Helps regulate blood sugar levels
Limes are low in carbohydrates. That means they aren’t likely to cause a spike in blood sugar, so they’re ideal for people with diabetes.
Limes are also a good source of vitamin C, and limited research suggests that vitamin C can help manage blood sugar levels in the morning and after meals. But we need more research to find out more about this possible effect.
Lime water makes a great substitute for sugary sodas. You can still enjoy a boost of citrus flavor while skipping the boost in your blood sugar. Plus, drinking lime water will help you stay hydrated, which also helps your body regulate its blood glucose levels.
3. May improve skin texture
Regularly incorporating lime water into your diet might help reduce or prevent wrinkles. Limes contain lots of vitamin C, which is essential for making collagen. A skin care favorite, collagen is a protein that naturally firms and brightens skin.
A 2007 study that looked at more than 4,000 women found that those who ate more vitamin C experienced fewer wrinkles and dry skin issues. Other research suggests that vitamin C can help heal wounds faster and reduce skin inflammation.
4. Might help prevent kidney stones
Kidney stones might be small, but they’re extremely painful. These small crystals form in your kidneys when there are high levels of minerals, like calcium, in your urine.
That’s where lime juice might help. Research shows that citrus fruits (including limes) are natural sources of dietary citrate, which can raise urine citrate levels and help prevent kidney stones from forming.
One 2014 study found that people who ate more citrus fruits had a much lower risk of developing kidney stones. And a 2014 research review noted that vitamin C and citric acid could help prevent or break up kidney stones.
5. Boosts immunity
All that vitamin C found in limes can also support your immune system. Test-tube studies have found that vitamin C can help your body produce more white blood cells to protect against infections and disease.
Human studies have found evidence that vitamin C can help make colds shorter and less severe. Other research suggests that a vitamin C deficiency can lower your immunity and increase your chance of getting infections.
This is promising, but we def need more research (especially in humans) to understand whether this works 10/10.
6. Might lower your risk of heart disease
According to a 2019 review, citrus flavonoids found in fruits may improve your heart health. These flavonoids can reduce oxidative stress, blood lipid levels, and inflammation. And all that goodness helps protect your bod from cardiovascular disease. (Just keep in mind that further studies are needed before we can know for sure.)
The vitamin C in limes might also help lower blood pressure. That’s important because high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease.
What else can limes do for your heart? One 2013 animal study suggests that vitamin C can slow down the progression of atherosclerosis, a condition that causes plaque to build up in your arteries. This is promising, but we still need more research to confirm whether it will work for humans.
7. Has anti-inflammatory properties
Chronic inflammation is associated with serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Lime water is a good source of vitamin C, and studies have shown that vitamin C can reduce inflammation in the body.
A small 2021 study in 24 women over 65 found that those who supplemented with vitamin C for 6 weeks experienced a decrease in inflammation.
8. May help fight foodborne illnesses
Citrus fruits such as limes may help prevent foodborne illnesses. A 2017 review concluded that citrus may help protect the body from Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria that can cause everything from stomach ulcers and salmonella to cancer.
9. Increases iron absorption
If you have anemia, it might be a good idea to incorporate lime water into your diet. Vitamin C (again, there’s a lot of it in lime water) might help improve how your body absorbs iron.
10. Might lower your risk of certain kinds of cancer
The antioxidants found in citrus fruits might help prevent the growth of some cancer cells. A 2015 review noted a possible link between citrus fruits and a substantially lower risk of esophageal cancer.
Test-tube studies also suggest that citrus fruits might suppress the growth or spread of cancer cells in the colon, throat, pancreas, breast, and bone marrow, as well as lymphomas. But, again, we really need human research to understand whether this actually works.
11. Could help you lose weight
Looking to reach a healthy-for-you weight by lowering your calorie intake? Lime water is very low in calories and sugar, so it can make a good swap for calorie-dense drinks like soda and sweetened fruit juices. This can help prevent unwanted weight gain that could come from consuming a lot of liquid calories.
If the flavor of lime water encourages you to drink more water, that’s also helpful. Research suggests that increased hydration is associated with weight loss.
Another advantage of lime water? It’s super easy to make. Here’s how to do it:
- Wash a fresh lime and cut it into quarters.
- Fill a glass with water and squeeze a lime wedge into the water. (Feel free to add as much lime juice as you want, depending on how intense you want the flavor to be.)
- Add the lime slice to the water for even more flavor.
Looking to make a large batch? Simply fill a pitcher with water, and then add the juice of one or two full limes. You can let this sit for a day to get even more flavor.
Not into the taste of limes? It’s certainly not the only way to enhance the flavor and nutritional benefits of water.
Add some sliced cucumbers to water for a crisp and refreshing drink. Cucumbers are a good source of antioxidants and are rich in vitamin C, beta carotene, and manganese. Cucumber water is also great for hydration.
Skip the fruits and vegetables and throw a few sprigs of mint into your water. Fresh spearmint contains vitamin A, iron, manganese, and folate. It can also help with digestion, among other benefits.
- Lime water tastes great, is easy to make, and has plenty of nutritional benefits.
- It’s packed with vitamin C, which can benefit your skin, lower your blood sugar, support immunity, and more.
- Lime water might help reduce your risk of heart disease, kidney stones, and certain types of cancer, and it can boost your iron absorption.