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12 Health Benefits Of Kaffir Lime Which Will Surprise You

Kaffir lime, scientifically termed as Citrus hystrix is a citrus fruit widely cultivated in Southeast Asian countries, including India where it is widely used in Bengali and South Indian cuisines. Not only are the fruits of kaffir lime plants, but their peels and leaves have great importance in flavouring dishes, preparing fragrance and treating various ailments.

Kaffir lime, like other limes, looks dark green when raw and yellow when ripen. It has wrinkles on the surface of the fruit or say, have a bumpy surface which gives it a different look from the regular limes available in the market.

The leaves of the plant are dark green and glossy. They are mainly crushed for their intense citrus aroma and added to flavour dishes like fish and curries. As kaffir lime produces very little juice, its rind or outer skin is also finely grated to be used in various cuisines for the citrus flavour. Take a look at the details on kaffir lime.

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Nutritional Profile Of Kaffir Lime

According to a study, the main constituents in kaffir lime peel are limonene, beta-pinene and sabinene while the leaves contain citronellal as the main compound. The leaf and peel of the fruit are packed with phenolic compounds and antioxidants. However, the main part of the fruit is its juice which is full of flavonoids and possess a very strong antioxidant activity. [1]

Apart from that, kaffir lime is a good source of vitamin C, dietary fibre, calcium, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin B1, magnesium, riboflavin, phosphorus and pantothenic acid.

Health Benefits Of Kaffir Lime

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1. Protects heart

A study has shown that kaffir lime has naringenin and hesperidin which are potent flavonoids. They possess strong antioxidant activity that helps enhance cardiovascular health and protects it from damage by free radicals. [2]

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2. Has anti-cancer properties

The antileukemic activity of kaffir lime was investigated in a study. It was found that the organic compounds named phytol and lupeol in the fruit decrease the proliferation of leukemic cells and thus, prevent the onset of cancer. The type of cancer it may help prevent are colon cancer, cervical cancer, blood cancer and many more. [1]

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3. Relieves cough

Kaffir lime is an excellent cough reliever. It may help loosen the phlegm when taken with honey. A study talks about the anti-inflammatory effect of kaffir lime against fever and cough. A compound named coumarins found in the peel of the fruit also demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity and may help relieve the cough. [3]

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4. Good for oral health

This pear-shaped green lime possesses anti-microbial effect against Streptococcus bacteria which are responsible for most of the dental diseases. The bacteria tend to cause biofilm formation on the teeth and multiply to cause tooth decay. Kaffir lime prevents the formation of oral biofilm and also prevents the growth of bacteria. [4]

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5. Boosts immunity

Kaffir lime fruit and its leaves have strong antioxidant activity due to the presence of various polyphenols including flavonoids, phenolic acid, carotenoids and alkaloids. Together, they contribute to the immunomodulatory activity and help boost the immunity to fight against various diseases. [5]

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6. Prevents liver toxicity

Patients on chemotherapic drugs such as doxorubicin for a long time are at increased risk of liver function abnormalities. Kaffir lime possesses hepaprotective effects and may help reduce liver toxicity by reducing the inflammation and promoting cellular functions which are damaged due to free radicals. [2]

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7. Prevent infections

Kaffir lime juice contains potential bactericidal agents. When used as a disinfectant, it can effectively kill various types of bacteria such as P. aeruginosa and prevent the spread of infections. It is mainly added to cleaning products meant for hospitals. [6] In this way, kaffir lime can contribute to good health.

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8. Eases anxiety

Essential oils extracted from citrus fruits such as kaffir lime have great anti-anxiety and anti-depression effects. They help rejuvenate the mind the body and provide a calming effect. Kaffil lime oil also has a sedative effect that helps induce sleep and lessens mental tensions.

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9. Promotes digestive health

Kaffir lime is widely used as a digestive stimulant. It helps treat various digestive problems such as gastric, flatulence and indigestion. Flavonoids in kaffir lime juice also protect the stomach cells from various injuries and promote its health.

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10. Acts as anti-ageing

The oil extracted from kaffir lime or its juice is good for the skin. It may help prevent pimples, refresh the skin and reduce signs of ageing such as scars, acne or wrinkles. Also, the free radical scavenging activity, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties of the fruit are beneficial for the skin health.

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11. Good for hair growth

Not only is kaffir lime good for the skin, but beneficial for the hair health. In Thailand, it is used as a natural remedy for dandruff, baldness and hair loss. Kaffir lime is also used in many hair care products for its citrus aroma and hair growth-promoting activity.

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12. Detoxifies blood

Kaffir lime is a natural detoxifier and help cleanse the liver, kidneys and blood. The high levels of polyphenols in the juice help flush out harmful toxins or fats from the body, providing enough energy simultaneously by keeping the body hydrated for longer.

Story first published: Thursday, December 31, 2020, 15:30 [IST]