Everyone deserves a trip to the tropics; sometimes the solution is to immerse yourself in a mental experience of self-reflection and imagination.
The Dietitian’s Choice this week are limes for $0.79 each. Grab a dozen and get ready for an experience!
There are a variety of different lime species. The ones you most often find in the grocery store of the produce department are Persian limes. Persian limes are picked and sold when they are a dark green color to which the most American consumer associate limes with. As Persian limes ripen, they start developing a yellow hue. The more ripe they are, the more juice they develop and the less acidic the lime juice becomes. The sugars were given the time to concentrate making limes sweeter and more delicious to eat as a bitable citrus fruit.
Lemons, limes, and many other citrus fruits including grapes (yes – grapes are considered citrus fruits) have similar anatomical structures.
Limes (and lemons) can be broken down to two main flavor components for cooking and beverage making – the juice and zest. The zest comes from the superficial layer of the rind. Zest contains oil glands that provide great aromatic notes to food and drinks. Zest is often used as a finishing touch at the end before serving or incorporated into batter of baked goods. Zest is very prone to burning, causing a strong bitter flavor that can ruin a dish.
The juice is often used to create beverages, provide tart undertones to baked goods, and act as a sauce base or meat marinade in recipes. Many cultures use limes as a way to not only add layers of flavor before taking a big bite (like a taco), but also help cut down the heaviness of fatty foods.
Health and Wellness Benefits of Limes
Iron is an essential mineral that allows hemoglobin, a protein in your blood, to attach to the oxygen you breath into the lungs and distribute to the rest of the body. In iron-deficiency anemia, there is either a lack of iron in the diet or a person may have poor absorption of iron. Iron-deficiency anemia can cause brittle nails or hair, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, pica (abnormal eating habits), and cold hands/feet. Iron requires Vitamin C to improve absorption in the gut. It requires an acidic environment which is why iron supplements usually contain Vitamin C. Pairing acidic foods or beverages like limes with iron-containing foods like spinach, chicken, broccoli, or beef helps improve airon absorption.
Kaempfernol is an antioxidant found in limes and has been researched in animal studies for its effects. These studies show kampfernol helped improve blood pressure and reduced the risk for certain cancers. In addition, studies show kampfernol reduced the risk for obesity in mice even when the mice overate their caloric recommendations. It is unclear if these same effects will occur in humans as limited human studies are available, but we can assume that it may be likely similar.
Brasilian Limemade by Amy, House of Nash, Jan 29, 2018
- 4 limes, washed and quartered
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- Wash limes thoroughly by, scrubbing the skin with hand or dish soap to remove any pesticides or wax. Slice off the ends of each lime, then cut them into ⅛ths.
- In a blender, combine half of the water, half of the sugar, and half of the limes, then pulse 5-7 times. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher, pressing the lime pulp with a spoon to help release juices, then discarding the remaining skins and pulp. Repeat with the other half of the water, sugar, and limes.
- Stir the sweetened condensed milk into the limeade and serve with lots of ice and thin slices of lime for garnish. If the drink tastes bitter at all, you can add a little extra sweetened condensed milk or sugar as needed.