One of the spices we all consume for its distinct taste has been proven to benefit our health in thousands ways. No morning starts with a cup of coffee, and no coffee tastes best if it isn’t for cinnamon!
Cinnamon is a unique spice – it has a distinct smell, flavor, and color and all these wonders come from the part of the tree that is oily.
Cinnamon is used in the alternative medicine for thousands of years, not only because of its sweet, warming and loving taste, but also for its numerous health benefits we are about to mention. These benefits come from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree, which has special compounds that make wonders for the health. These include: cinnamic acid, cinnamate, and cinnamaldehyde.
Cinnamon is made from the brown bark and can be found in quills/sticks (in a dried tubular form) or powder (bark powder). There are about one hundred cinnamon varieties in the world. Researchers claim that it is number one anti-oxidant spice in the world, ranked in competition with 25 other spices.
Nutrition Benefits of Cinnamon
It is proven that cinnamon in little qualities can have great effect on you if you consume it on a daily basis. ½ of a teaspoon can regulate your blood sugar levels, improve your immune system and regulate your digestion. One tablespoon of ground cinnamon has:
– 68% manganese;
– 8% calcium;
– 4% iron;
– 3% Vitamin K;
– 4 grams of fiber;
– 0 grams of sugar, protein, or fat;
– ONLY 19 calories.
Now let’s see what the 10 proven benefits of this spice are:
- Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant
Antioxidants protect from oxidative damage caused to the body by free radicals. In one study that researched the antioxidant abilities of 26 spices altogether, cinnamon was proven to be number one of all the spices. In this study, cinnamon was better compared to other powerful spices, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, and garlic.
When cinnamon acts as an antioxidant, it lowers radical damage and slows the process of getting old. These antioxidants are the following: polyphenols, flavonoids, and phenolic acid and can also be found in the popular foods/drinks including dark chocolate, red wine, and berries. They eliminate oxidative body stress, particularly in the aging process.
- Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory
As we have mentioned above, cinnamon antioxidants provide a lot of health benefits and they also act in an anti-inflammatory way. In fighting inflammation, seven types of flavonoid compounds of cinnamon help throughout the body. Cinnamon helps in lowering swelling as well, so it could be used as a pain reliever. It relieves sore muscles, allergic reactions, age-related pain, or PMS pains.
- Cinnamon protects your heart
High cholesterol and triglyceride levels are a common issue, especially among older generations of people. This can be a potential risk for developing a heart disease, and high blood pressure is among the first in the list. The good news is that the compounds found in cinnamon can lower the total cholesterol levels, LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides. In this case, the so called “good” cholesterol (HDL) remains stable. Cinnamon also decreases high blood pressure, lowering the risk of getting a stroke.
Apart from these heart benefits, research also shows that blood coagulates better with the help of cinnamon. It prevents bleeding with forming blood clots in the body. After a tissue’s damage, cinnamon has the ability to speed up its recovery and it also increases blood circulation. The damaged tissues can be the heart tissues that are needed to recover from recent heart diseases, a stroke, or a heart attack.
- Cinnamon regulates blood sugar and fights diabetes
Diabetes is a serious issue that occurs when the body cannot accept insulin and it is unable to manage glucose entrance in the blood flow, i.e. insulin intolerance occurs. Cinnamon can improve sensitivity to insulin and can lower blood sugar levels. Cinnamon works by blocking the enzymes named alanines and this helps the glucose absorption in the blood. When people have a meal high in the amount of sugar, cinnamon lowers the sugar entrance. Studies show that patients with type 2 diabetes feel better after cinnamon extracts consumption.
- Cinnamon protects the brain and fights cognitive decline
Cinnamon can help you cope with or prevent developing one of the scariest diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This spice works by activating neuro-protective proteins protecting brain cells from damage. It also lowers the negative effect of oxidative stress and prevents self-destruction of the cells.
- Cinnamon may lower cancer risk
Cinnamon, especially because of its antioxidant abilities, can help against tumor growth. It comes from the compound named cinnamaldehyde, which inhibits tumor growth, leaves DNA undamaged, and causes cell apoptosis (self-destruction of cells). Studies have concluded that this is true about colon cancer in animals. In the future, cinnamon extracts might be used to control this type of cancer in the case of humans.
- Cinnamon acts against viruses and infections
Cinnamon has anti-biotic, anti-fugal, anti-viral, and anti-microbial abilities. It is all found in the cinnamon oils. Cinnamon also acts as an immunity booster and kills various bacteria connected to the digestive system, skin surface, or the ones that turn into a cold or the flu.
- Cinnamon might fight HIV
HIV attacks the human immune system and if left untreated, can cause permanent damage and death. A study proved that cinnamon extracts from Cassia type can be used against the most common type of HIV virus – HIV 1.
- Cinnamon does wonders for the skin
New studies reveal that if you apply essential oil directly to the skin can immediately reduce pain, swelling, redness, and inflammation. Also, if you mix it with honey, you can treat acne allergies, and rosacea.
- Cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative
This benefit is less-known among people, but a recent study showed that once cinnamon leaves extracts are applied to pectin from fruit, it keeps it fresh longer than usual. This is because of its anti-bacterial and antioxidant abilities.
It is important to note that form the two main types of cinnamon (Ceylon and Cassia), Ceylon is considered more beneficial. Ceylon (true cinnamon) grows in Sri Lanka and Thailand trees, and it is the best to look for organic Ceylon cinnamon powder/essential oil next time you go to the store. Both types have the above mentioned health benefits, so it is time to sweeten your life with this magic spice – whichever type you prefer.