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19 Interesting Facts About Limes

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Limes are one of the most versatile citrus fruits, used extensively in cooking and beverage-making around the world. Their tangy, sour juice and zesty peel add vibrant flavor to both sweet and savory dishes.

Though small, limes pack a lot of punch when it comes to unique nutrients and health benefits. They have been used medicinally for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. Today, science is discovering more about the powerful compounds found within limes that make them so good for us.

Below are 19 fascinating lime facts that highlight everything from their history, nutritional profile, health impacts, culinary usage, and more!

19 Interesting Facts About Limes

Interesting Facts About Limes
  1. Limes originated in Southeast Asia, specifically the area that is now Indonesia and Malaysia. Early cultivation of limes spread to regions like India, the Middle East, and North Africa over many centuries.
  2. There are several main varieties of limes, each with its own unique size, flavor, and level of acidity. Some common types are Persian limes, Key limes, kaffir limes, and Rangpur limes.
  3. Limes were vital for preventing scurvy, a disease caused by severe vitamin C deficiency, in British sailors during the age of exploration in the 1800s. This earned them the nickname “limeys.”
  4. Lime trees thrive in tropical and subtropical climates. Mexico and Brazil now lead the global production of limes, together accounting for over half of the total output.
  5. On average, there are around 175 seeds inside each lime fruit. Once pollinated, it takes limes 6-13 months to fully develop and ripen on the tree.
  6. Limes contain diverse antioxidants like flavonoids, limonoids, kaempferol, and quercetin that combat free radical damage and inflammation underlying chronic diseases.
  7. The compound limonene, which gives limes their citrusy aroma, has been shown in research to help fight cancer by triggering programmed cell death in malignant cells.
  8. Vitamin C is the most abundant nutrient in limes, providing over 30 mg per fluid ounce of juice. That’s close to half of the recommended daily amount.
  9. Limes aid iron absorption when paired with iron-rich foods, making them a smart addition to meals centered around beans, meat, spinach and other good plant/animal sources.
  10. Applying lime juice and oil directly to your skin helps clear acne, age spots, wrinkles and even skin tone thanks to the high antioxidant content.
  11. Limes are very low in calories and sugar compared to other fruits, with only 20 calories and 1.7 grams of sugar per medium-sized lime.
  12. The essential oil extracted from lime peels contains antimicrobial compounds called limonoids that fight viral, bacterial and fungal infections.
  13. Lime juice functions as a powerful natural cleaner and disinfectant, and can be used to clean countertops, floors, cooking surfaces and more.
  14. Limes heighten the flavor of both sweet and savory dishes. They are a defining ingredient in cuisines like Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian food.
  15. Mixing lime juice with baking soda creates an all-natural homemade cleaner. The acidity of the juice reacts with the base to make the grime-fighting solution.
  16. Limes were once used as currency in parts of the Middle East and Egypt, including to pay taxes. This is where the term “paying through the nose” comes from.
  17. Lime trees can live over 100 years with proper care and growing conditions. Their productivity peaks at around 15-20 years old.
  18. There are over 1000 patented lime varieties created recently through selective breeding programs looking to enhance yield, shelf life, hardiness and more.
  19. Lime juice not only adds bold flavor, but also tenderizes meat. The acids break down tough collagen fibers, making cuts like chicken and pork more succulent.

FAQ about Limes


What are limes?

Limes are typically round, green citrus fruits known for their acidic juice and sour flavor. They are used to enhance the flavors of various foods and beverages and are a rich source of vitamin C.

Which species of limes are most commonly produced?

The Key lime, Persian lime, and Makrut lime are among the most widely produced limes globally. The Persian lime is the most widely produced lime, with Mexico being the largest producer.

Are limes used in cooking?

Yes, limes are valued for their juice and zest in cooking. They are key ingredients in Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai dishes, and more, used in recipes like guacamole, ceviche, and various cocktails.

What nutritional value do limes provide?

Limes are predominantly water but also provide carbohydrates and a significant amount of vitamin C. They contain various phytochemicals, including polyphenols and terpenes.

Can limes cause any skin reactions?

Contact with lime juice or peel followed by exposure to sunlight can lead to phytophotodermatitis, a skin reaction that may result in blistering or pigmentation. This is due to compounds called furanocoumarins found in limes.


As you can see, limes offer far more than just tart juice for cocktails and stir fry. They have a rich history of medicinal and culinary usage spanning various cultures worldwide.

Modern research continues to uncover unique health benefits ranging from cancer prevention to heart disease protection. Their versatility and nutrient density earn lime’s status as one of the most useful fruits on earth.

So next time you’re shopping for produce or figuring out a recipe, don’t underestimate the mighty lime! This little green fruit packs a lot of punch.

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