Lime juice cleanse

Access to clean drinking water is still a major issue around the world. It is estimated that globally, half of all hospital beds are occupied by people suffering from a water-related illness. That is why the healing potential is immense if we can find accessible ways to make drinking water clean and it is why new research regarding the humble lime is so exciting.

At the moment in low-income countries one of the ways to make drinking water safe is the SODIS method (Solar Water Disinfection). This method is recommended by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and involves filling a plastic bottle with water and exposing it to sunlight for at least six hours on a sunny day or for 48 hours if it is cloudy.

In this new study researchers added lime juice to the water at the concentration of 30 millilitres of lime juice per two litres of water. That 30 mls equates to about half a lime. They also added to the water either E. coli bacteria, MS2 bacteriophage (a virus that infects bacteria), or murine norovirus (the most common cause of gastrointestinal infection in humans).

The results showed that compared to disinfecting with sunlight alone, the lime juice led to significantly lower levels of E. coli and MS2 bacteriophage. In fact, lime juice reduced E. coli levels in just 30 minutes which puts it on a par with boiling as a water treatment method.

Unfortunately, lime juice had little effect on the noroviruses so it is not the perfect solution.

Nevertheless, these researchers say that the amount of lime juice used is not prohibitive and the taste is not unpleasant so it might be a viable option for water treatment in areas where limes are plentiful. They also recommend testing other citrus fruits like lemons to see if they have similar benefits.

On the home front, if you have any reason to doubt your water quality, it means a twist of lime or lemon would be no bad thing. A twist of lemming however, would do neither you nor the rodent any good.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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