Lime or Lemon? Which one is the best?

Are you confused about the best option for you when it comes to lime or lemon?

Well, worry no more! By the end of this article. you will be fully equipped on the best option for you moving forward.

Are lemons and limes the same fruit

Lemons and limes are two kinds of fruit that though genetically different, are closely related.

Both lemons and limes, as well as oranges, tangerines, citron, and grapefruit,  belong to the broader category of citrus fruit.

Limes are not small unripe lemons.

Even though they have a lot in common, they are distinctly different.

If you’re here for the shocking effect of lime on sperm and ovulation, skip to the frequently asked question at the bottom of this post. If you want to learn about the health benefits of lime and lemon before you get there, keep reading!


Though lemons and limes are distinctly different fruits, they share many of the same characteristics — especially when it comes to their nutritional value and potential health benefits.

Lime or Lemon? Nutritional Information

A 100-gram serving of either fruit provides the following nutrients

Nutritional information of lemon per 100g

Calories – 29kcal

Protein – 1.1g

Fat – 0.3g

Carbs – 9.3

Fiber – 2.8

Sugar – 2.5

Vit C – 53mg

Calcium – 26mg

Potassium – 138mg

Iron – 0.60mg

Nutritional information of lime per 100g

Calories – 25kcal

Protein – 0.42g

Fat – 0.07g

Carbs – 8.42

Fiber – 0.4

Sugar – 1.69

Vit C – 30mg

Calcium – 14mg

Potassium – 117mg

Iron – 0.09mg

As shown above, lemons offer a slightly greater quantity of protein, fat, carbs,  vitamin C, Calcium as well as other minerals, including potassium, folate, and vitamin B6.

Lime or Lemon? Differences

Physical Differences

Perhaps one of the most obvious differences between lemons and limes is their appearance.

Lemons are usually bright yellow, while limes are typically a bright shade of green. However, certain types of limes will turn yellow as they ripen, making the distinction a little more difficult.

Limes are also smaller and rounder than lemons. They can vary in size but are usually 1–2 inches (3–6 centimeters) in diameter.

In comparison, lemons tend to be 2–4 inches (7–12 centimeters) in diameter and have a more oval or oblong shape.

Flavor Differences/ Lime and Lemon taste

In terms of flavor, these two citrus fruits are similar. They’re both tart, and eating either fruit by itself is likely to result in the same puckered facial expression.

However, lemons tend to be slightly sweet, whereas limes are usually more bitter.

Limes are sometimes described as being sourer than lemons, but this may have more to do with its bitterness.

This perception also varies depending on your individual taste.

Culinary Uses! Lime or Lemon?

When it comes to cooking, both citrus fruits are used in similar ways. In fact, a lot of people use them interchangeably.

Both make excellent additions to salad dressings, sauces, fish/chicken marinades, beverages, and cocktails.

Which one you choose will likely be based on what the dish requires and your personal preference.

But generally speaking, you’re more likely to see lemons in sweet dishes rather than limes because limes are more bitter

Lime or Lemon – Which one is better?

  • Lemons seem to be better in terms of nutrients, taste, and versatility in cooking and beverages.
  • Though limes have a lesser concentration of vitamin C  and Calcium, they can also be used in many ways in cooking.

While both of these fruits are very good for overall health, As shown above, lemons win the nutritional battle fair and square!

Lime or Lemon: Health Benefits

These two fruit varieties share many of the same health benefits, as outlined below, making them some of the most popular and important citrus fruits you can add to your diet.

Boost Immunity

Lime and lemon are rich in vitamin C, which is also known as ascorbic acid and it helps strengthen the immune system.

This critical vitamin stimulates the production of white blood cells.

White blood cells are the first line of defense for the body when it is attacked by an illness or infection.

Speed up Healing

Vitamin C, present in lemons and limes, plays a critical role in the production of collagen.

Collagen is required for growth and development of muscles, skin cells, tissue, and bones throughout the body.

Without vitamin C, the recovery rate of illnesses and injuries would be much slower.

Aids Digestion

They both contain high levels of dietary fiber.

Lemon especially contains about 3g of fiber per 100g.

This represents about 10% of the daily recommended amount of fiber

How cool is that?

This can easily make you feel full for longer, bulk up the stool, reduce constipation, and eliminate excess gas and bloat.

Boost Circulation

Both of these citrus fruits contain significant levels of iron, which is an important element in hemoglobin.

Without proper iron levels, people may suffer from anemia, characterized by weakness, fatigue, cognitive confusion, and light-headedness.

Good Antioxidant Properties

Citrus fruits like lemons and limes contain high levels of other antioxidants, besides vitamin C, which can counteract the effects of free radicals. 

This study showed that Iron and Vitamin C helps to reduce oxidative Damage to DNA

Another study showed that a high intake of citrus fruits may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer.

The implicated bioactive components present in citrus fruits responsible for this include vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids, limonoids, folic acid, and dietary fiber.

Weight Loss

As shown in the nutritional information, lemon per 100g contains 29calories and 2.8g of fiber.

The low-calorie count and high fiber level make lemons and limes ideal for weight-loss.

Vitamin C also plays an important role in helping your body break down fat during exercise.

Some studies have shown that low levels of vitamin C may limit your body’s ability to break down fat when working out.

Helps Prevent Asthma

A lot of people swear by the fact that lemons/lime help with Asthma.

Well, the reason is not far fetched.

The high concentrations of vitamin C and anti-oxidants are the primary factor behind the juice’s benefits for asthma.

Vitamin C boosts the immune system, helping a person become more resistant to external factors that trigger an asthma attack.

Increase Iron Absorption

Iron is very important because it helps the blood carry oxygen to the cells and produces energy for regular cell function.

Both the citric acid and vitamin C found in lemons and limes facilitate your body’s absorption of iron absorption.

Better Skin Complexion

Lemons, limes, and oranges all contain collagen, a nutrient crucial to achieving younger, wrinkle-free skin.

Collagen delays the aging process and tightens your skin.

The vitamin C present in citrus also naturally brightens skin with regular intake

Just take caution when applying directly to the skin. It can permanently lighten the skin and can lead to brown spots with direct sun exposure.

Assists Nervous System:

Lemons and limes are high in potassium, which is crucial to nervous system health.

Low levels of potassium in the blood can cause anxiety and depression.

The nervous system also needs an adequate amount of potassium to send sustainable signals to the heart.

Helps Relieve Constipation

The citric acid in limes and lemons aid with digestion because it interacts with other enzymes and acids which stimulate the secretion of gastric juice and promote digestion.

Lemon essential oil is slightly different than lemon juice and is a much more concentrated version that has long been touted as alternative medicine, especially used with digestion and constipation.

The bile production that lemon induces can also increase intestinal peristalsis.

Other uses: Lemons are also used in many cleaning products and as an element in natural healing, whereas, limes are used in perfumes and aromatherapy.

How to select the best lemon when purchasing

One of the tricks to finding a good quality lemon is to find one that is thin-skinned.

Those with thicker peels usually have less flesh and therefore less juicy.

They should be fully yellow in color as those that have green tinges will be more acidic due to the fact that they have not fully ripened.

Signs of overmature fruit include wrinkling, soft or hard patches, and dull coloring.

How to store lemon

Lemons will stay fresh kept at room temperature, away from exposure to sunlight, for about one week.

This basically means that you can store in a basket on your kitchen counter for about one week.

If you will not be using them within this time period, you can store the lemons in the refrigerator where they will keep for about four weeks.

You can also juice the lemon to be stored for later use.

You can take it up a notch by putting freshly squeezed lemon juice in ice cube trays until frozen, then subsequently storing them in plastic bags in the freezer.

What about the zest? Dried lemon zest should be stored in a cool and dry place in an airtight glass container.

How to select the best lime when purchasing

Choose limes that are firm and heavy for their size, free of decay and mold.

They should have a glossy skin that is deep green in color.

Limes turn more yellow as they ripen but they are at the height of their lively, tart flavor when they are green in color.

While brown spots on the skin of limes may not affect their color, limes that are mostly brownish in color should be avoided.

This may be an indication that they have “scald” which may cause them to have an undesirable moldy taste.

Unlike lemons, Limes are available in the marketplace throughout the year.

Limes storage tips

Limes can be kept out at room temperature where they will stay fresh for up to one week.

Make sure to keep them away from sunlight exposure since it will cause them to turn yellow and will alter their flavor.

Limes can be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a loosely sealed plastic bag, where they will keep fresh for about 10-14 days.

While they can be kept longer than that, for several weeks, they will begin to lose their characteristic flavor.

Lime juice and zest can also be stored for later use.

Lime juice can be kept in an airtight container for a few weeks.

Similarly, freshly squeezed lime juice can be placed in ice cube trays until frozen, and then subsequently stored in plastic bags in the freezer.

Dried lime zest should be stored in a cool and dry place in an airtight glass container.

Losing Weight With Lime Water

Limes do not hold any magical powers for weight loss, but they do offer nutritional benefits to those following a reduced-calorie diet for weight loss.

As I shared in my post on portion control tips to help you lose weight fast, water should always be your first choice when you’re choosing a drink to quench your thirst.

If you don’t like drinking ordinary water because of its taste, adding lime juice may help you drink more.

And drinking more water may help you lose weight by helping you feel full.

Lime Water Nutrition

Lime water also help you lose weight fast due to the low-calorie content.

Rather than drinking carbonated drinks with over 200 calories and 40 grams of carbs, lime water with only about 25calories and 8grams of carbs is an amazing alternative.

Lime water is also an excellent source of vitamin C, with the juice of one lime providing 22 percent of the daily value.

How to make lime water

Lime water is easy to make:

  • Wash a fresh lime before cutting it.
  • Fill a glass with 500mls of water and squeeze the juice from a piece of the lime into the water.
  • To make lime water ahead of time, fill a pitcher with 500mls water and squeeze in the juice of a whole lime.
  • Add lime slices to the pitcher for added flavor.
  • Drink the water within 1 day for best flavor

Making Lemon Water for Weight Loss

The process is similar to how to make lime water.

The only difference is that you’re adding half a lemon to the 500mls of water.

For each whole lemon, you squeeze into your water, you get 20 to 25 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

You can add a natural sweetener like stevia or xylitol to your drink without increasing the caloric content.

If you want to go the old school way though, adding 1 tablespoon of sugar increases the number of calories by 45kcal while 1 tablespoon of honey increases it by 64kcal.

Lemon and Honey for weight loss

You’ve probably heard that drinking a mixture of warm water, lemon, and honey first thing in the morning will help you lose weight fast.

Maybe you’ve even tried it at one point or the other.

It’s a very common belief that to lose weight, you should drink hot water (or warm water) with natural lime juice first thing in the morning.

Maybe put a pinch of honey in it. Not only does honey make it sweet naturally, but honey is also even commonly believed to have fat burning properties.

There are plenty of people who swear by drinking lemon water for weight loss.

Have you ever wondered why drinking warm lemon water would help in weight loss?

Is lemon water good to lose weight?

Keep reading to find out.

Role of ingredients in lemon water

The key ingredient here is the water

A lot of studies agree that drinking water as soon as you wake up in the morning raises your metabolism significantly.

Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories to perform its God-given functions.

Through the night, your body is deprived of water.

Since many of your body processes use water to function, your body’s machinery slows down through the night.

When you drink water in the morning, it helps to rev up the machinery back into gear, so it kicks up the metabolic rate.

The other key ingredient is Lemon

As earlier stated, lemon is packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants.

Vitamin C is said to have potent weight loss properties as earlier explained.

Additionally, Lemon contains some active natural metabolites such as polyphenols which have been shown to suppress weight gain and improve insulin resistance.

This study revealed that the levels of serum insulin, glucose and leptin were significantly improved by lemon polyphenols, thereby improving the insulin resistance.

Lemons even contain flavonoids that have many weight-related benefits, including a decrease in the production of cholesterol and triglycerides by your liver.

The authors of the article in the Journal basically say that these properties of lemon not only help in weight loss but even help in the prevention and control of diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases.

The final and optional ingredient is honey

Honey has amazing health benefits. That is a topic for another day but for this drink, they add vitamins, minerals, natural flavor, and sweetness.

So, will lemon water help you lose weight?

Assuming that your diet, exercise, and activity level are the same, and you start drinking lemon water as soon as you wake up, it is likely to increase your metabolic level.

The other benefits of lemon such as high levels of vitamin C, better calcium absorption, etc will improve the functioning of the body and this might further increase fat burn.

With an increase in your metabolic level, your body will burn more calories for the same activity. The same number of calories going in, more calories going out (from your raised metabolic rate).

So you will lose some weight from drinking lemon water in the short term.

But once your body gets used to lemon and hot water, the weight loss might slow down or stop.

The magic happens when you balance it with healthy eating in the right portion and exercise.

Your lemon water may help a little bit with your weight-loss efforts, but the only way to lose weight successfully is to make a concerted effort to eat better and be more active.

Weight loss is about creating a negative calorie balance so your body burns more than you feed it.

Filling your diet with low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fat in the right portion may help you limit calories to create that deficit.

Finding ways to add activity to your day helps you burn more calories to widen the deficit.

Ideally, you should engage in 30 minutes of aerobic exercises, such as swimming or fast-paced walking, most days of the week.

That extra activity can include both planned exercise, such as a daily run, and moving more doing everyday things, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.


  • The highest content of limonene is found in the white spongy inner parts of the lemon. When juicing a lemon, put in the whole fruit together with the peel, to get the most nutrition out of it (be sure to wash and brush the dirt off the skin before doing so.)
  • Make it a habit to put in cut limes/lemons (together with peel) into your drinking water or juices, to enjoy all its medicinal properties. With lemon juice in your drink, the absorbability of the other nutrients in your drink is increased up to five times!
  • Juice a glass of either lime or lemon juice and make ice cubes out of it. When you have a drink, pop a few lime/lemon cubes into your drink for a refreshing taste while enjoying its immense health benefits.
  • Do not make it in advance because the beneficial enzymes will disappear with time.
  • Need a time-saver? Cut up lemons and freeze them for future use.
  • Don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking lemon water. The reason is that the acid is still sitting on the enamel of your teeth. Rinse it off, if you have to brush.
  • You may want to drink your lemon water with a straw to prevent the acidity in the lemon juice from affecting your tooth enamel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take lime when trying to conceive is a common question I get nearly every day.

Usually, I respond that there’s no study to prove that lime affects fertility in women so anybody can take lime/lemon in moderation.

The truth is that a lot of people strongly advice women trying to conceive to stay away from lime in Nigeria because, in the past, a lot of women relied on unconventional and unproven emergency contraception such as lime, lime and potash, Ampiclox, “Alabukun”, Saltwater solution, etc and perceived them to be effective in preventing unplanned pregnancies.

Today, let’s answer with studies carried out in Nigeria.

Effects of lime on sperm

Researchers at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, collected semen samples from 7 healthy men 25-30 years old who had abstained from sex for at least 5 days in order to examine the spermicidal action of 4 soft drinks (Krest bitter lemon, Afri-Cola, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi-Cola).

All soft drinks with an acid pH, except Coca-Cola, had a significantly lower percent of sperm motility than those with an alkaline pH.

In fact, Krest bitter lemon in its factory form (acid pH) completely immobilized all spermatozoa within 1 minute after the researchers diluted the semen with the soft drink.

Other than Krest bitter lemon, the significant decreases in sperm motility were not enough to prevent pregnancy.

What does this mean?

This means that if you’re a man trying to conceive, don’t even ask the question lime or lemon? It might be good advice to just stay away.

Effect of lime on ovulation

According to this study, drinking lime juice causes irregularity of the estrous cycle, partially blocks ovulation, and may possibly prevent pregnancy — at least in rats.

Lime or Lemon? Take home message

If you’re trying to conceive, you might want to stay away from lime.

Even if you’re not, despite all the goodness that limes/lemons provide as mentioned above, remember always to take only in moderation.

More is not always better.

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lime vs lemon - difference and health benefits

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