The latest recipe we shared with you contains cinnamon as one of the ingredients. Me and my Owner are a big fan of this wonderful spice, both of its taste and scent. Besides, it is very good for your health. Let’s see why~!
Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the branches of wild trees that belong to the genus “Cinnamomum” – native to the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia.
There are two main types of cinnamon:
- Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon cinnamon), most commonly used in the Western world
- Cinnamomum aromaticum (Cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon), which originates from southern China, is typically less expensive than Ceylon cinnamon.
Cinnamon has been consumed since 2000 BC in Ancient Egypt, where it was very highly prized (almost considered to be a panacea). In medieval times doctors used cinnamon to treat conditions such as coughing, arthritis and sore throats.
Modern research indicates that this spice may have some very beneficial properties.
1. Cinnamon is Loaded With Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols.
In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon wound up as the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano.
In fact, it is so powerful that cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative.
2. Cinnamon Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation in the body is incredibly important.
It helps the body fight infections and repair tissue damage.
However, inflammation can become a problem when it is chronic (long-term) and directed against the body’s own tissues.
Cinnamon may be useful in this regard, because some studies show that the antioxidants in it have potent anti-inflammatory activity.
3. Cinnamon May Cut the Risk of Heart Disease
Cinnamon has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease, the world’s most common cause of premature death.
In people with type 2 diabetes, 1 gram of cinnamon per day has beneficial effects on blood markers.
It reduces levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while HDL cholesterol remains stable.
More recently, a big review study concluded that a cinnamon dose of just 120 milligrams per day can have these effects. In this study, cinnamon also increased HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.
In animal studies, cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
When combined, all these factors may drastically cut the risk of heart disease.
4. Cinnamon Can Improve Sensitivity to The Hormone Insulin
Insulin is one of the key hormones that regulate metabolism and energy use.
It is also essential for the transport of blood sugar from the bloodstream and into cells.
The problem is that many people are resistant to the effects of insulin.
This condition, known as insulin resistance, is a hallmark of serious conditions like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Well, the good news is that cinnamon can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, helping this incredibly important hormone to do its job.
By helping insulin do its job, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels, which brings us to the next point…
5. Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar Levels and Has a Powerful Anti-Diabetic Effect
Cinnamon is well known for its blood sugar lowering effects.
Apart from the beneficial effects on insulin resistance, cinnamon can lower blood sugar by several other mechanisms.
First, cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal.
It does this by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract.
Second, a compound in cinnamon can act on cells by mimicking insulin.
This greatly improves glucose uptake by cells, although it acts much slower than insulin itself.
Numerous human trials have confirmed the anti-diabetic effects of cinnamon, showing that it can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 10-29%.
The effective dose is typically 1-6 grams of cinnamon per day (around 0.5-2 teaspoons).
6. Cinnamon May Have Beneficial Effects on Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells.
Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common types.
Two compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
In a study looking at mice with Parkinson’s disease, cinnamon helped to protect neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function.
These effects need to be studied further in humans.
7. Cinnamon May Be Protective Against Cancer
Cancer is a serious disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells.
Cinnamon has been widely studied for its potential use in cancer prevention and treatment.
Overall, the evidence is limited to test tube experiments and animal studies, which suggest that cinnamon extracts may protect against cancer.
It acts by reducing the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumors, and appears to be toxic to cancer cells, causing cell death.
A study in mice with colon cancer revealed cinnamon to be a potent activator of detoxifying enzymes in the colon, protecting against further cancer growth.
These findings were supported by test tube experiments, which showed that cinnamon activates protective antioxidant responses in human colon cells.
Whether cinnamon has any effect in living, breathing humans needs to be confirmed in controlled trials.
8. Cinnamon Helps Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Cinnamaldehyde, the main active component of cinnamon, may help fight various kinds of infection.
Cinnamon oil has been shown to effectively treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi.
It can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella.
The antimicrobial effects of cinnamon may also help prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath.
9. Cinnamon May Help Fight The HIV Virus
HIV is a virus that slowly breaks down the immune system, which can eventually lead to AIDS if untreated.
Cinnamon extracted from Cassia varieties is thought to help fight against HIV-1.
This is the most common strain of the HIV virus in humans.
A laboratory study looking at HIV infected cells found that cinnamon was the most effective treatment of all 69 medicinal plants studied.
Human trials are needed to confirm these effects.
10. Cinnamon Improves Brain Function
Research shows that just smelling cinnamon enhances cognitive processing, but consuming it significantly ups brain function.
Scientists at Wheeling Jesuit University asked volunteers to complete computer-based tasks while chewing no gum, plain gum, or gum flavored with cinnamon, peppermint, or jasmine. Cognitive processing was boosted the most in those given cinnamon, which sped up visual-motor responses and improved attention scores.
This aromatic spice may also help the brain heal. One study from scientists at the Agricultural Research Service found that cinnamon extract prevented brain cells from swelling in the ways typically seen after a traumatic brain injury or stroke.
10 Ways To Use Cinnamon
To take advantage of cinnamon’s potential benefits, incorporate it into more meals. One of the things I love about this spice is how versatile it is. I use it in both sweet and savory dishes, and I feel like I’m always finding new ways to add it to meals, snacks, and beverages. Here are 10 easy ideas:
- Sprinkle cinnamon into your coffee, or add it to your coffee grounds before brewing.
- Add a dash or two of cinnamon to hot oatmeal, overnight oats, or cold whole grain cereal.
- Fold cinnamon into yogurt, along with cooked, chilled quinoa, fresh cut fruit, and nuts or seeds.
- Freeze cinnamon in ice cubes to add zest and aroma to water or cocktails.
- Season roasted or grilled fruit with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Stir cinnamon into almond butter, or any nut or seed butter, and use as a dip for fresh apple or pear wedges or a filling for celery.
- Add a pinch of cinnamon to lentil or black bean soup, or vegetarian chili.
- Season roasted cauliflower, sweet potatoes, spaghetti, and butternut squash with a pinch of cinnamon.
- Sprinkle a little cinnamon onto popped popcorn.
- Stir a little cinnamon into melted dark chocolate and drizzle over whole nuts to make spicy ‘bark’ or use as a dip or coating for fresh fruit.
NOTE: While cinnamon is healthful, just be sure not to overdo it. Don’t take cinnamon supplements unless they have been prescribed by your physician, and check out this info from the National Library of Medicine about the potential risks for some of consuming too much cinnamon.
It is Better to Use Ceylon (“True” Cinnamon)
Not all cinnamon is created equal.
The Cassia variety contains significant amounts of a compound called coumarin, which is believed to be harmful in large doses.
All cinnamon should have health benefits, but Cassia may cause problems in large doses due to the coumarin content.
Ceylon (“true” cinnamon) is much better in this regard, and studies show that it is much lower in coumarin than the Cassia variety.
Unfortunately, most cinnamon found in supermarkets is the cheaper Cassia variety.
You may be able to find Ceylon in some health food stores, and there is a good selection on Amazon.
Thank you, authoritynutrition.com, news.health.com and medicalnewstoday.com~!