The Aromatic Lime and its Healthy Properties
The aromatic lime is a small fruit with a green rind. The pulp, like other citrus fruits, is divided into segments, very juicy and aromatic. Depending on the variety of lime, it can have a sour or sweet taste.
The acid lime, Citrus aurantifolia, was introduced into Europe from the Middle East after the Crusades. It belongs to the citrus family and the fresh fruit group. The world’s leading exporter of limes in Mexico. It is followed in importance by India and Argentina.
Features of Limes
It belongs to the family of citrus fruits, and its main component is water, which can reach 90% of its composition. It is a very low-calorie fruit.
Of all foods, the lime and the lemon are the fruits richest in vitamin C, followed by small amounts of B vitamins such as folic acid. It is abundant in flavonoids and essential oils.
Concerning minerals, the most abundant is potassium, followed by calcium and phosphorus.
Lime for Our Health
Being rich in vitamin C, lime is a powerful antioxidant. The vitamin C they contain is used to make collagen, a material that binds cells together, necessary to heal wounds.
Lime users are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, thanks to vitamin C, that also protects against inflammation.
When lime is added to the diet, thanks to this abundance of vitamin C and citric acid, it helps prevent infectious diseases by stimulating the immune system and increases the amount of iron absorbed in the body by promoting its intestinal absorption.
Its antioxidant properties protect the eyes from the aging process and macular degeneration.
Lime is considered an effective remedy to control diabetes mellitus for several reasons. Its high soluble fiber content makes it an ideal dietary supplement to regulate the intestinal absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This decreases the occurrence of sudden elevations of blood sugar, which is risky for diabetic patients.
The potassium in the lime is necessary for the transmission and generation of the nerve impulse. This mineral is needed for regular muscle activity. It intervenes in the water balance inside and outside the cell and favors the elimination of sodium.
The flavonoids of the lime stimulate the digestive system and increase the secretion of digestive acids. It has antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antibiotic, and detoxifying properties and stimulates peptic and oral ulcers’ healing process.
It contains essential oils that, besides having antioxidant properties and giving off a pleasant smell, also help block some cellular changes that can lead to cancer. This is due to the compound limonene.
These oils also increase the activity of proteins that help eliminate estradiol, a hormone related to breast cancer.
The consumption of lime facilitates the decrease of uric acid by promoting its elimination thanks to citric acid. This is why it has alkalizing and antiseptic properties. Very beneficial for those who suffer from kidney stones, gout, or increased uric acid.
The lime is ideal for including it in a slimming regime or for maintaining body weight. It is among the low-calorie foods, as 100 grams of this tasty fruit contains only 17 calories.
Due to its nutritional properties, it is recommended for children, adults, athletes, pregnant women, infants, and the elderly and smokers, alcohol addicts, stressed people, people with low defenses, and cancer, among others.
When buying limes, it is advisable to choose those that are heavy for their size, with smooth, firm, shiny, and intense green shells.
They are delicate fruits and should, therefore, be handled carefully. At room temperature, they last about a week and a little longer if kept in the refrigerator.
Juice and peel can be frozen, while dried or candied peel should be kept in a cool, dry environment.
Lime in Our Recipe Book
Limes have an irresistible aroma and are most often used to produce soft drinks, jams, or jellies. It is also used as an ingredient in the Brazilian drink called caipirinha.
Lime juice is an excellent aperitif. It is also used to season some dishes: to enhance the flavor of tropical fruits, such as mango or papaya; to flavor sorbets of other fruits, such as tangerine; or added to infusions.
It can be mixed with yogurt and honey to make a great sauce as an ingredient for fruit or salad.
Lime juice can also be used to make a low-calorie syrup by mixing it with sweeteners, mint, and water.
Cooking with Lime
One of the main lime applications in the kitchen is the preparation of salad dressings, as it is an excellent substitute for vinegar, thanks to its nutritional properties.
To take advantage of the lime qualities, you can also prepare delicious sauces, such as the red sauce made with lime juice and red pepper, or the Thai pesto made with lime, basil, and cilantro.
Lime juice can be mixed with lemon juice to make a dressing. It is ideal for enhancing white fish’s flavor and making marinades and pickles.
Non-Culinary Uses of Lime
The oil extracted from its shell is widely used in body oils, cosmetic products, hair oils, toothpaste, toilet and beauty soaps, disinfectants, mouthwashes, and deodorants.
Lime oil has antibacterial properties and is applied topically to treat conditions such as acne. Because it contains camphor, it is also used to make balms, vaporizers, and inhalers.
Healthy Recipes Prepared with Lime
Lime and Avocado Smoothie
1 medium-size avocado
2 cilantro leaves
- Wash the cilantro thoroughly.
- Peel the avocado. Chop it into pieces and place it in a blender.
- Add the juice of the lime and the cilantro.
- Beat everything and add water if necessary.
- Serve cold and season to taste, if desired, with a pinch of salt, pepper, or sweeteners.
Healthy and energizing.
Chicken Breasts in Lime Style with Tomato and Avocado
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon of mustard
1 pinch of paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 ripe avocado
2 ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion
Fresh parsley to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste
- Slice each chicken breast in half, removing the bones.
- Place the steaks on a deep plate.
- Mix the juice of the limes, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, parsley, a pinch of salt, black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Spread over the chicken, mix well, and cover.
- Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Then, grill with a little oil, over high heat on both sides, adding the remaining marinade halfway.
- Peel the avocado removing the seed and cut into small cubes.
- Cut the tomato and the red onion into slices, season with salt and pepper and add chopped parsley.
- Add the avocado, tomato, and onion to the breasts.
- Mix well with a pinch of salt and serve with the chicken still hot.
This dish can be enriched if served with brown rice.
Baked Fish with Lime
2 pounds of fillets from the fish of your choice
1 lime cut in half
3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 leaves of freshly chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the fish fillets in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle with the juice of the lime.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes, frequently stirring until soft.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Cover the base of a shallow, ovenproof dish with 1/3 of the fried onion, garlic, and cilantro.
- Place the fish on top and cover with the rest of the sauté.
- Bake the fish at 350º for 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly opaque and firm to the touch.
- Serve immediately.
Very tasty if served with roasted vegetables.