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Color Me Raw! The Health Benefits of Lemons and Limes


Although lemons and limes may not be what you would choose for an afternoon snack, they are considered powerhouses when bringing out the flavor of other foods. While both are available throughout the year, lemons are in the peak of their season around May, June and August while limes are at their peak from May through October.

While most lemons are tart, acidic and astringent, they are also surprisingly refreshing. The two main types of sour lemons are the Eureka and the Lisbon. The Eureka generally has more texturized skin, a short neck at one end and a few seeds, while the Lisbon has smoother skin, no neck and is generally seedless. In addition to these sour lemons, there are also some varieties that are sweet in flavor. One notable example is the Meyer lemon that is becoming more popular in both markets and restaurants.

There are several varieties of this small green citrus fruit…limes, but we will discuss two of the limes that are popular in the US: the Tahitian/Persian lime and the Key lime. The most common (and widely-available) is the Tahitian/Persian lime, which is about the size of a small lemon with thin green skin. The Key lime is much smaller, more acidic, and has a strong, citrusy aroma. Key limes have thinner skin, which tends to be yellow-green, or completely yellow when ripe.

What are some of the similarities of lemons and limes?

• Both are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A, folic acid, flavonoids and antioxidants.

• Both lemons and limes are high in potassium. Potassium is an important mineral that works with sodium for smooth electrical transmission in the brain and nervous system. Depression, anxiety, fogginess, and forgetfulness can often be traced to low potassium blood levels. The nervous system needs potassium to assure steady signals to the heart. So your heart health is improved from the lemon and lime water's potassium.

• Both lemons and limes contain many flavonoid compounds that have anti-cancer properties.

• Both contain compounds called limonoids, potent anti-carcinogens that are believed to help prevent the spread of cancer.

• Both lemons and limes have an alkalizing effect in the body to help neutralize excess acid wastes that cause cellular damage and inflammation.

• Both have amazing qualities that are similar to our digestive juices. Thus, they are both effective for optimal digestion and elimination.

• Both can be used in dental care also. If fresh lemon or lime juice is applied on the areas of toothache, it may assist in getting rid of the pain. The massages of lemon juice on gums may stop gum bleeding. It gives relief from bad smell and other problems related to gums.

• Both have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. For example, the anti-viral properties of both the lemon and the lime can help fight cold, flu and even cholera infections.

• Both are potent detoxifiers in the body, cleansing the blood, the liver, and all bodily tissues.

• heal up ulcers and wounds in the digestive system and excretory system

What are some of the differences of lemons and limes?

• Lemons are scientifically known as Citrus limon and limes are Citrus aurantifolia.

• Lemons contain nearly twice the amount of vitamin C than limes, 38.7mg to 30 mg per 100g of lemon/lime

• Lemons also contain slightly more folic acid than limes

• Limes contain over twice the amount of vitamin A than lemons

• Limes contain more protein and amino acids than lemons. Lemons doesn’t have any amino acids

• Limes have more niacin than lemons, 0.142mg to 0.91mg

Below are some of the ways you can clean with lemon and limes in your home. In most cases limes can be used in place of lemons or vice versa or even together. So where it says lemon juice in these cleaning recipes you can use lime juice or both; whatever way you want.

Spray disinfectant: Juice of 1/2 of lemon 1 cup vinegar to 1 cup water Add the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to mix thoroughly. Options: add 5 drops lemon essential oil and/or 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil.

Copper pot/Pot cleaner: Make a paste of lemon juice and salt and use to scrub your copper pots, let sit, Rinse and dry thoroughly. The citric acid in the lemon will remove any oxidation stains.

All Purpose Cleaner: 1 cup warm water, 1 cup white vinegar, 4 Tbsp. lemon juice, 10 Drops tea tree oil, mix in spray bottle.

Multi surface cleaner: 3 cups water, 1/2 cup of peroxide, 1 cup of lemon juice; mix in spray bottle.

To clean & disinfect a wooden cutting board: Simply cut a lemon in half, sprinkle salt on the cutting board, take the half lemon & rub the cut side on the cutting board using the salt as a scrubber & the juice as it comes out as a cleaner, scrub the whole surface & allow to sit 5 or 10 minutes, rinse off & allow to air dry.

To clean grout: make a paste of lemon juice & baking soda, scrub with an old toothbrush; allow to sit till dry & rinse off, for tough stains add peroxide to this mixture.

Lemon and lime juice and its oil are very beneficial for skin when consumed orally or applied externally. It rejuvenates the skin, keeps it shining, protects it from infections and reduces body odor due to presence of a large amount of vitamin-C and Flavonoids, both of which are class one antioxidants, antibiotic and disinfectants. When applied externally on skin, its acids scrub out the dead cells, cures dandruff, rashes, bruises etc. and gives you a refreshing bath if its juice or oil is mixed into your bathing water.

If you purchased lemons and limes in bulk and they are close to going bad, squeeze all the juice into a bowl, remove all seeds, and pour into empty ice cube trays. Freeze and wallah, when you need fresh lemon juice take the tray out and pop a cube. Let it melt and you've got fresh lemon juice! They're very refreshing in a glass of ice water.

In summary, lemons and limes appear to be quite similar nutritionally, with lemon water having a slight edge in benefits. However, limes have more minerals than lemons; therefore limes may have a slight edge in benefits…umm.

I drink both lemon water and lime water separately as well as together, and I prefer lemon/lime water for the taste and the superior digestive benefits I get with lemon/lime together in water. However, as with all foods, what works best for one person may not be the best for another.

Bottom line, drinking lemon water or lime water will provide numerous nutritional and health benefits. Lemon or lime? You decide!

For more nutritional facts on raw lemon and lime juice go to

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