Use of cinnamon dates back as far as Ancient Egypt when it was considered a rare and valuable gift fit for kings. Today cinnamon is inexpensive and widely available and with its long list of scientifically validated health benefits, should become a regular ingredient in your diet!
Cinnamon is a spice that is made from the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum. What you may not know is there are actually two main types of cinnamon:
- Ceylon cinnamon: Also known as “true” cinnamon.
- Cassia cinnamon: This is the more common variety today, what people generally refer to as “cinnamon.”
Both varieties exhibit the health benefits outlined below, however the benefit of choosing the Ceylon variety is that it contains significantly lower levels of a compound called coumarin, which is believed to be harmful in large doses.
Unfortunately, most cinnamon found in supermarkets is the cheaper Cassia variety. Just make sure to stick to small doses (no more than 1-6 grams or 1/2 – 2 teaspoons a day) if you’re using the Cassia variety.
You may be able to find Ceylon in some health food stores, and there is a good selection on Amazon.
Check Out These 6 Incredible Health Benefits of Cinnamon
1. Cinnamon is Loaded With Antioxidants
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.
2. Cinnamon Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of disease.
3 Cinnamon Has Powerful Anti-Diabetic Effects
Insulin resistance, is a hallmark of serious conditions like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon has been shown to significantly increase sensitivity to the hormone insulin. By helping insulin do its job, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon has also been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar levels, having a potent anti-diabetic effect at 1 to 6 grams per day. Cinnamon also decreases 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
4. Cinnamon May Cut the Risk of Heart Disease
Type 2 Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. Cinnamon has been shown in human studies to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (the ‘bad’ guys) and increase HDL (‘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.
5. Cinnamon May Protect Your Brain Health
Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells.
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.
6. Cinnamon Helps Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Cinnamaldehyde, the main active compound in cinnamon, has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which may reduce infections and help fight tooth decay and bad breath.