Lime vs Lemon: How To Tell The Difference? All-inclusive Answers

Lime vs lemon, can you tell the difference? I know you are here to find the answer and here I am with lame questions. So, lime vs lemon is one of those questions that many people ask as both these fruits have a lot of similarities to tell them apart. 

Although limes and lemons are both regularly used in our daily diet, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between them. Both these fruits are some of the most popular citrus fruits in the world with high nutritional value and their similarities are what bring you to read this article. 

So, in this article we will discuss about lime vs lemon, how different and similar they are from each other along with their health benefits. Let’s get started. 

 

What Is Lime?

lime vs lemon
southernliving.com

To understand lime vs lemon, let’s first see what lime is. Lime is nothing but a fruit filled with citrus. These fruits are round in shape and can be green or yellow in color. Their size lies in the range of 3 to 6 cm in diameter. As we see, lime is a citrus fruit and it is rich in vitamin C. They are sour to sweet in taste and are used to add an extra flavor to the dishes. 

Limes are fruits that are grown around the year. Studies have shown that India is the leading country in growing limes and the number goes to 3.1 million tons per year. Mexico is followed by India and is the second most lime growing country with 2.5 million tons per year and next is China also with 2.5 million tons of limes per year. 

Other than these three, the countries which are leading in lime production are Argentina, Brazil, and Turkey. The rest of the world grows only 19.4 million tons of limes per year. These statistics are according to 2018. 

If you dive into botany, you will find that the lime family runs pretty deep and long. There are a lot of species and hybrid trees and shrubs that belong to this family. Limes normally grow in tropical and subtropical climates and the Persian lime is the most commonly stored. 

One of the types of limes is the wild lime which holds its origin in Mainland Asia. It was the Indian traders who spread the wild limes in Africa and Mediterranean. Later, it spread in other parts of the world as well. 

Let’s now move on and look at what is lemon before we hop on to lime vs lemon. 

What Is Lemon? 

lime vs lemon
britannica.com

Coming to our second contender in lime vs lemon, lemon is another fruit that is rich in citrus and hence rich in vitamin C. They grow on small trees or bushes. These trees can adapt to any type of soil except for heavy clay. However, the most ideal soil type for these trees is sandy loam. 

Lemons are yellow in color and I don’t need to specify that they are used to enhance the flavor of any dish. They are not exactly round in shape but are oval. These trees are evergreen compared to lime trees and can be found in climates that are comparatively cooler. 

It is not surprising but the countries that lead in growing lemons are the same as lime. The same studies have shown that India is the leading country in growing limes and the number goes to 3.1 million tons per year. Mexico is followed by India and is the second most lime growing country with 2.5 million tons per year and next is China also with 2.5 million tons of limes per year. 

North Africa and Spain were the ones that introduced lemons to the world in 1000 CE. As all things don’t take long to spread, even lemons were spread to the rest of the world pretty soon and now we all use them in our daily diets. 

#Fun Fact: Lemons are botanically berries. 

Your wait is over, we will now move forward to the comparison of lime vs lemon. 

 

Lime vs Lemon 

Let’s now discuss the similarities and differences in lime vs lemon. It’s not a competition but just a distinctive piece of information to help you classify lime and lemon differently. Although lemon and lime are similar, they have good enough distinguishing features as well. So let’s begin with the similarities. 

 

Similarities 

The very first similarity that comes to mind when we think about lime vs lemon is nothing but vitamin C. The amount of vitamin C may differ but both are great sources of the same. Well, yes they sound similar too but let’s not be so lame. So other than that there are more similarities as they are from the same kingdom and genus. Below is a table showing the similarities. 

Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Rutaceae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Citrus
Calories:29(lemons)/ 30(limes)
Fiber:3 grams
Fat:0 grams
Iron:0.6 grams per 100 grams
Protein:1 gram
Potassium:4%(lemons)/ 3%(limes)
Other minerals:Traces of manganese, copper, selenium, and zinc

These are the similarities that limes and lemons share in terms of nutrient content and botany. Now, I know that a couple of values are slightly different but the amount by which they differ is as good as negligible and so they are up there on the table. Let us now look at the most common similarities. 

Flavor

Although both lime and lemon have a pretty distinctive flavor, both share one flavor in common and that is sour. There is this similarity in their sour taste because both of them are citrus fruits and belong to the same family and genus. Other than that the zest of both the fruits is used in various dishes for a fairly similar flavor. 

Appearance

Talking about appearance, usually, they differ in shape and color. However, sometimes limes are ripe and yellow and that is when you may have trouble telling the difference between the two. Another factor that is similar in appearance is the inside of the lime and lemon. If you cut both the fruits in circles, you can hardly tell the difference unless you taste it or the lime is green in color. 

lime vs lemon

Differences 

One of the main factors to consider in lime vs lemon is the differences between the two. As we just saw, both the fruits have a lot of similarities, there are also some distinguishing features that clearly classify them as two different fruits. 

One of the major differences is their shape which we will talk about more when we talk about appearance. Below I am putting together a table with the possible differences between lime and lemon. 

Lime Lemon
Species:Citrus x latifoliaCitrus x limon
Vitamin C:48% of the RDI88% of the RDI
Carbs:11 grams9 grams
Calcium:33 mg per 100 grams26 mg per 100 grams
Vitamin A:50 IU per 100 grams22 IU per 100 grams
Magnesium:6 mg per 100 grams8 mg per 100 grams
Phosphorous:18 mg per 100 grams16 mg per 100 grams
Folate(vitamin B9):8 mcg per 100 grams11 mcg per 100 grams
Potassium:102 mg per 100 grams138 mg per 100 grams
Vitamin B62% of the RDI4% of the RDI

 

Flavor

To begin with, lemons have a distinctive sour taste and whether they are ripe or raw, their taste is mainly always sour. On the other hand, limes can be bitter and sweet as well. IN general, the limes which are raw have a sour-bitter taste which makes them different from lemons. And when limes are ripe and yellow they also have a sweet-sour taste. 

There may be instances when limes are sour than lemons but that moreover depends on everyone’s individual taste. Other than that lemons don’t have that bitter flavor and that is what makes them different from limes. So when it comes to lime vs lemon, now you know that if it tastes a little bitter then it’s lime. 

Appearance

As I even mentioned earlier, one of the major differences in lime vs lemon is that both of them have different shapes. Now, some of you may say that they are identical, so about that, yes they do look similar but we can’t call them identical. I say this because limes are round in shape and lemons are more on the oval side. 

If you look closely you can easily tell the difference in their shape. Other than the shape, another distinguishing characteristic is the color. Limes are generally green in color and when ripe they are yellow, while even lemons are yellow, so this is what causes the confusion. 

So, you can tell the difference by their shape and often also by color. If you see a fruit that is round and small then it is lime. Whereas, lemons are more ovalish and are generally yellow in color. 

 

Health Benefits 

Talking about health benefits in terms of lime vs lemon, both fruits mostly share common health benefits. Both limes and lemons have been used for medicinal purposes for a long time. As we saw in the tables above, both these fruits have an amazing nutritional value. 

The first thing that comes to mind when we say the health benefits of lime vs lemon, is vitamin C. Both fruits are a rich source of vitamin C and also great antioxidants. Despite the fact that both contain different amounts of vitamin C, both fruits are a rich source of citrus. 

Let’s talk about the common health benefits one by one: 

 

Vitamin C 

The most common factor in lime vs lemon is vitamin C and it is one of the essential nutrients in our body. Vitamin C helps to protect the cells in our body from any damage. Well, I guess I don’t need to tell you how important vitamin C is for our immune system because ever since we are in this pandemic everyone’s focus is on improving immunity. 

Anyways, vitamin C supports our immune system and helps to increase metabolism. It also helps in the absorption of iron content from food. Not only that but it also helps in the wound healing process as it supports collagen production.

lime vs lemon

Weight Loss 

Many of you must have heard of drinking lemon juice in lukewarm water in the morning, rather, some of you may be even drinking it. So, lemon is a part of many weight loss diets and has proven to be effective in some studies. However, there is no scientific proof of lemon aiding the weight loss process. 

It can surely be part of a healthy diet that helps to reduce weight when matched with adequate exercise or work out as required. Well, not just lemon but even lime is said to help for the same as it helps increase metabolism. 

 

Flavonoids 

Flavonoids are nothing but phytonutrients that are present in plants as pigments for coloration. These flavonoids have a lot of health benefits for us humans and it is one common benefit of lime vs lemon. 

Flavonoids are very rich in antioxidants and help our body to get rid of toxins. When we include flavonoid rich food supplements in our diet, it helps to keep our body healthy and away from potential risks of chronic diseases. 

They are very good for heart health and help in metabolic disorders. Also, they help to reduce inflammatory reactions in our body and hence reduce those symptoms. Flavonoids are said to have antibacterial, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties. 

Some research and studies have also found that flavonoids have cancer-fighting properties. Not only that but they are also said to help in managing high blood pressure. So, flavonoids are one of the common factors of lime vs lemon that have amazing health benefits. 

lime vs lemon

Antioxidants

The final health benefit we will be talking about in lime vs lemon is antioxidants. Both fruits have vitamin C, they are rich in antioxidants and that proves as one of the best health benefits. Antioxidants are nothing but molecules that help our body to fight free radicals. 

These molecules help to protect our body from damaging cells and also play an important role in diseases like cancer, dementia, heart problems, and diabetes. So, even antioxidants are one of the best benefits of lime vs lemon. 

 

Closure | Lime vs Lemon

Coming to the end of this article, I hope now you are aware of the most basic similarities and differences in lime vs lemon. Both these fruits are widely used in cooking, cosmetics, and also in the medical field. 

So, lemons are oval in shape, while limes are round. Limes are green in color and ripe ones may be yellow, they can taste bitter, sour, and sweet, while lemons are sour in taste. I hope after reading this article, now you can differentiate between lime vs lemon. 

Lastly, if you have any queries or suggestions, do not hesitate to mention them in the comments section below. Also, do check out other articles

Till then, When life gives you lemons, check if it is a lime first! 

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