Hydration is crucial for regulating your body temperature, protecting and cushioning vital organs, transporting nutrients and oxygen to the body's cells and converting food into energy. Even mild hydration can cause ill effects, including reduced cognitive function, mood disruptions and fatigue. Dressing up your water with lime juice is a low-calorie way to add flavor. Lime juice is also a rich source of nutrients and may even help prevent harmful plaque buildup in the arteries.
The average American gets 21 percent of his daily calories from beverages, according to the Providence Health & Services website. Sugary beverages such as soda, sweetened tea and fruit juices provide hydration, but they also supply a lot of calories, which can lead to weight gain if you drink too much. On the other hand, 3 ounces of fresh-squeezed lime juice mixed with 8 ounces of water only provides 23 calories and less than 2 grams of natural sugars. Even if you drank eight glasses of of water with lime juice each day, you would still only be getting 184 calories from your daily beverages. If you follow a typical 2,000-calorie diet, that's only 9 percent of your daily calories from beverages.
Plain water may provide trace nutrients, but it isn't a good source. Adding lime juice to your water boosts its nutrition content. Three ounces of lime juice provide 3 percent of the daily value for potassium, an electrolyte mineral that supports nerve and muscle function. That same amount of lime juice provides nearly half of the DV for vitamin C, which is necessary for the growth and repair of all your body's tissues. Three ounces of lime juice also supplies almost 7 percent of the DV for vitamin B-6, which your body needs to break down proteins in food and regulate your blood sugar.
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries, causing them to narrow. This makes it more difficult for blood and oxygen to travel to your organs and other parts of your body. Atherosclerosis can cause heart attack, stroke and death and is related to several other serious conditions including coronary heart disease. Lime juice and peel contain antioxidants that may slow the progression of atherosclerosis, according to an animal study published in ARYA Atherosclerosis in November 2013. Researchers fed rabbits a high-cholesterol diet for two months. Some rabbits were given daily doses of lime juice in addition to the diet. At the end of the study, the rabbits supplemented with lime juice exhibited significantly lower levels of plaque buildup.
If lime juice is a little too tart for your taste buds, you can add other fruits for natural sweetness. Muddle a couple chunks of watermelon at the bottom of your glass before you pour in the lime juice and water, or squeeze a slice of orange into your glass for sweetness and a little extra vitamin C. When you're finished with your drink, make a zest of the lime peel to use in cooking and smoothies; the ARYA Atherosclerosis study reported that lime peel was more effective than the juice for reducing plaque buildup.
- Texas State University: The Importance of Hydration
- Nutrition Reviews: Water, Hydration and Health
- Providence Health & Services: Ask an Expert: How Many Calories Should I Drink Each Day?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Lime Juice, Raw
- FDA: Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients)
- MedlinePlus: Potassium
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin C
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin B6
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: What Is Atherosclerosis?
- ARYA Atherosclerosis: Impacts of Fresh Lime Juice and Peel on Atherosclerosis Progression in an Animal Model