Health Benefits of Cinnamon
5 truths about cinnamon that every healthy person should know
By: Robert Eilers | NightOwl.FIT Community | November 13th 2017
It is my favorite time of year once again, with it bring cooler temperatures (for some of us) and, of course, spectacular foliage. It is the time of year for fall festivals, hay rides, and of course pumpkin spice lattes. Everyone runs to Starbucks this time of year when they roll out their spectacular fall drinks just to get their fix. It seems in stores as well every brand of food is also jumping on the pumpkin spice wagon. But behind all the craze, and the delicious goodness, is a very well known, and very beneficial seasoning, cinnamon. There are many health benefits of cinnamon, beyond the sugar bomb Starbucks drinks, which can be used year round as a nice addition to any healthy eating plan.
Be sure to check out last weeks post Healthy Golden Milk for Better Sleep which goes great with cinnamon.
Origins of Cinnamon
Before cinnamon was the convenient spice in our spice rack it was so much more. Cinnamon has been in use by humans for thousands of years—as early as 2,000 B.C. Egyptians employed it, as well as the related spice cassia, as a perfuming agent during the embalming process, and it was even mentioned in the Old Testament as an ingredient in anointing oil. Because of access problems and cumbersome land routes, cinnamon at one point was known as a luxury good only available to nobles and the more wealthy. Imagine that in today’s day and age we can simply walk into a store and find a multitude of spices simply sitting on shelves. But before grocery stores, shelves spices had to be transported by traders.
Cinnamon was particularly desirable as it could be used as a preservative for meats during the winter. Despite its widespread use, the origins of cinnamon were the Arab merchants’ best-kept secret until the early 16th century. To maintain their monopoly on the cinnamon trade and justify its exorbitant price, Arab traders wove colorful tales for their buyers about where and how they obtained the luxury spice.
Today, we typically encounter two types of commercial cinnamon: Ceylon and cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is primarily produced in Indonesia and has the stronger smell and flavor of the two varieties. This cheaper variety is what we usually buy in grocery stores to sprinkle on our apple pies or French toast. The more expensive Ceylon cinnamon, most of which is still produced in Sri Lanka, has a milder, sweeter flavor popular for both baking and flavoring hot drinks such as coffee or hot chocolate.
5 Health Benefits of Cinnamon
High Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
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 (4).
In fact, it is so powerful that cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative (5).
Contains Anti-inflammatory Properties
Cinnamon possesses a number of anti-inflammatory properties which may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, brain function decline, and more. Because cinnamon lowers swelling and inflammation it can be beneficial to deal with muscle soreness, even for those simply wishing to recover from a workout, also with PMS Pains, severe allergic reactions, and some age-related pains as well.
Inflammation is the body’s response to stress and can make people feel uncomfortable especially chronic inflammation. It could even prevent them from engaging in the activities that they enjoy. Cinnamon may be useful in this regard because some studies show that the antioxidants in it have potent anti-inflammatory activity (6)
Great for Heart Health
Studies have shown that another health benefit of cinnamon is that it reduces several of the most common risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure. (7)
Moderate and regular cinnamon consumption has interesting benefits for your cardiovascular health.
This spice, which is rich in essential oils and antioxidants, helps control cholesterol levels and helps prevent high blood pressure.
The anti-inflammatory compounds support the processes that repair your intestinal tissues and reduce your risk of a heart attack.
Control of Insulin and Diabetes
Cinnamon is known to have an anti-diabetic effect. It helps lower blood sugar levels and also can improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is the vital hormone needed for keeping blood sugar levels balanced. (8)
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.
Improve Brain Health
Studies have shown that moderate consumption of cinnamon can stimulate brain function in old age. This is good for your memory, attention span, and visual acumen.
The aromatic power of this spice strengthens your cognitive health and helps improve concentration when performing daily tasks.