Pirates and seafarers used to have very poor diets due to the inability to store fresh food on a boat for long periods. As a result they often contracted scurvy, caused by a serious vitamin C deficiency. To counteract this the boat would stock up on lemons and limes before a voyage which would provide vitamin C and last longer than other fruit.
Limes are still relevant for health today as a great source of vitamin C and drinking the juice of a lime can do wonders to clear up a cold or keep your colds at bay.
Obviously pure lime juice is a bit tart to drink straight! I tend to dilute it with hot or cold water and also like it mixed with some diluted cherry active for extra antioxidants. If you really can't take it without some sweetness add it to some freshly squeezed fruit juice or stir in a little honey or agave syrup, but it's worth noting that sugar competes with Vitamin C for uptake into the cells so don't oversweeten it.
Lime juice can also zing up your cooking - I use fresh lime juice in both pad thai (delia's recipe) and in this super easy Mary Berry coconut and lime chicken recipe:
Whisk together 200ml of coconut cream, 2 tbsp runny honey, 3tbsp thai red or green curry paste (whichever you prefer - I like Thai Taste curry paste which has no added sugar) and the juice and finely grated zest of 2 limes. Season well with salt and pepper and toss 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the marinate until evenly coated.
Cover with cling film and leave to marinate overnight (or for a minimum of 30 mins).
Preheat a non-stick frying pan to a high heat, add 2 tbsp sunflower oil (I prefer to use coconut fat) and brown the chicken thighs (leave the marinade in the bowl) for approx 3 mins on each side until golden brown. Lower the heat, cover and cook through for 10-15mins til the chicken is cooked through and then remove to a serving dish.
Pour the marinade into the same pan, bring to the boil and reduce for a minute to thicken the sauce, pour over the chicken. Serve hot with brown rice, lime wedges and stir fry pak choi or other veg,