Cinnamon, aha! basically a household name. You’ve probably sprinkled cinnamon on foods like toast, rolls, and desserts. However, cinnamon has uses other than for topping sweets. It is a powerful spice that has been used medicinally around the world for centuries. Even today, it is still used in many parts of the world because of its amazing health benefits. And the fact that it is sweet and easy to use in recipes is a huge plus.
Ever wondered why cinnamon smells like food heaven? Well, its unique smell, color, and flavor come from the oily part of the bark of the Cinnamomum verum (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) tree. The Cinnamomum verum tree is just another name for Cinnamomum zeylanicu. There are two main types of cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia. Cassia is the more accessible of the two and is probably the type of Cinnamon you would likely find at the grocery store. However, Ceylon is kind of hard to get since it grows primarily in Sri Lanka.
Cinnamon contains special phenolic compounds like cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, and cinnamate. It also contains flavonoids and antioxidants which give it its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting and anti-heart disease properties.
Just to prove how beneficial Cinnamon is to general well being, let’s take a look at its nutritional content. A tablespoon of Cinnamon contains;
Vitamin K 3%
Amazing, isn’t it? Wait until you learn all the cool stuff cinnamon does in the body when taken. It will literally blow your mind!
Cinnamon Protects your Heart
Cinnamon contains special compounds that help reduce cholesterol. It has also been observed to be effective at reducing high blood pressure. Cinnamon is known to help in blood coagulation and prevent bleeding by helping the body to form blood clots. Cinnamon also regulates blood circulation within the body and aids the repair process of tissues in the body, including heart tissues. This can help ward off strokes and heart diseases. Whew! What a relief!
Boosts Immunity and Fights Infections
Cinnamon is a champ when it comes to defending the body from illnesses. Cinnamon is a natural anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-fungal and anti-viral agent. No wonder Cinnamon’s essential oils are great for fortifying immunity.
Cinnamon naturally protects the body from harmful infections and viruses. Cinnamon also has protective abilities against various bacteria which can cause negative symptoms in the digestive tract, on the surface of the skin, and can lead to colds or the flu. Best to keep the cold away, right?
Cinnamon Prevents Diabetes
Cinnamon is known to have anti-diabetic properties. It lowers blood sugar levels and also regulates the insulin hormone in the body. Insulin is a vital hormone needed for regulating blood sugar level and keeping it balanced.
Oh, and it gets better, as cinnamon also blocks alanines; these are enzymes that aid the absorption of sugar into the blood. Cinnamon is known to reduce the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream. Some studies even suggest that cinnamon may lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. I bet this is good news for diabetic patients!
Cinnamon Aids Weight Loss
Dealing with obesity? Be calm! Cinnamon has been shown to ameliorate the effects of eating calorie loaded foods. This can help manage your weight and help your weight loss plan. The effect of Cinnamon on blood glucose level can also contribute to weight loss. Cinnamon contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which can help speed up the weight loss process, help your body process food better and promote general fitness.
Cinnamon is Great for a Flawless Skin
Cinnamon contains anti-biotic and anti-microbial properties that protect the skin from irritations, rashes, allergic reactions, and infections. It is also great for treating wrinkles, breakouts and aging skin. It can also help in reducing inflammation, swelling, pain, and redness. For that supple, flawless skin, grab a cinnamon! No wonder cinnamon essential oil is used in many beauty products, shampoos, serums, facial cleansers, and perfumes.
All the Goodness of Antioxidants!
Cinnamon is enriched with loads of protective antioxidants that aid general well being and are necessary for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Cinnamon is said to contain more antioxidants than other herbs and spices such as garlic, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, brain function decline and more. These antioxidants called polyphenols, phenolic acid and flavonoids are similar antioxidants to those that can be found in other “superfoods” including berries, red wine, and dark chocolate. These nutrients fight stress and infections, thereby reducing the chances of brain disorders, cancer, heart disease and other conditions. Cinnamon is also known to decrease swelling and inflammation; this makes it a key component in pain management. It helps relieve muscle soreness, PMS pains, allergic reactions and age-related pains. Wow! That’s a lot to be thankful for.
Cinnamon Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Cinnamon contains antioxidants that can help protect against DNA damage, cell mutation and the growth of cancerous tumor. The cinnamaldehyde present in Cinnamon helps stop cancer tumor growth and protect DNA from damage. Cinnamon can also improve the health of the colon, thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer.
Great for your Oral Health!
Cinnamon contains extracts that deal with bad breath, tooth decay, cavities or mouth infections. The essential oil from cinnamon has been shown to be more potent than other tested plant extracts and can be used to naturally combat bacteria in the mouth, acting like a natural anti-bacterial mouthwash.
Reminds you of peppermint, right? Well, one of the health benefits of cinnamon is that it can also be used as a natural flavoring agent in chewing gums due to its mouth refreshing abilities. Because it removes oral bacteria, cinnamon has the ability to naturally remove bad breath without adding any chemicals to the body. No wonder Cinnamon has been used as tooth powder and to treat toothaches, dental problems, oral microbiota, and mouth sores for centuries!
Bye Sugar, Hello Cinnamon!
So, the gist is, since cinnamon is naturally sweet; adding cinnamon to your meals and recipes can help you cut down on the amount of sugar you normally ingest, thereby lowering the glycemic bulk of your meal. As you already know, Cinnamon possesses anti-diabetic effects that can reduce the rate at which sugar is released into the blood stream. This can help manage food cravings and aid weight loss. But did I mention that using cinnamon for its awesome taste alone comes with tons of benefits?
One of the benefits of cinnamon over sugar is that it contains no sugar and no calories. This makes it the perfect healthy addition to many recipes, especially considering its many nutrients. This can help you to reduce inflammation-causing sugar, extra calories, and to fight weight gain, infections, diabetes and low energy
Apart from all these amazing health benefits, cinnamon has also been known to improve certain health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, HIV, multiple sclerosis and chronic wounds.
So how about using cinnamon in coffee, tea, pastries, yogurt, on fruit, or in oatmeal instead of adding extra sugar and calories? Or you can try out some amazing cinnamon recipes such as Cinnamon twists, cinnamon-roasted almonds or cinnamon rolls and enjoy the cinnamon goodness!