Cinnamon is one of the most popular herbs and medicinal spices that has been used for thousands of years by people all over the world, thanks to its unique sweet warming taste and its tremendous health benefits. It is made from the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed. When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. The sticks can be ground into cinnamon powder.
Cinnamon is loaded with phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and antioxidants. These compounds are responsible for most of cinnamon's tremendous health benefits, giving it anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting, cancer-preventing and heart disease-fighting abilities. As little as 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon daily can have positive effects on blood sugar levels, digestion, immunity, and more. Below we've compiled the 7 top health benefits of cinnamon:
1. Anti-aging benefits:
Cinnamon is packed with a variety of protective antioxidants that reduce free radical damage and slow the aging process; in a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon was found to be the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano. The health benefits of cinnamon are attributed to the type of antioxidants called polyphenols, phenolic acid, and flavonoids. These compounds work to fight oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to disease formation when uncontrolled, especially as someone ages.
2. Anti-inflammatory benefits:
The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, brain function decline, and more. Researchers have identified over seven kinds of flavonoid compounds alone in cinnamon, which are highly effective at fighting dangerous inflammation levels throughout the body. Studies have shown that cinnamon helps to relieve muscle soreness, PMS pain, severity of allergic reactions, and other age-related symptoms of pain.
3. Heart Health:
Special compounds in cinnamon are able to help reduce levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, while keeping HDL “good” cholesterol levels stable. Cinnamon has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure, another cause of heart disease and strokes.
Additionally, research shows that cinnamon is a helpful blood coagulant and prevents bleeding by helping the body to form blood clots. Cinnamon also increases blood circulation and aids in body tissue’s ability to repair itself after it’s been damaged. This includes heart tissue which is in need of regeneration in order to fight heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.
4. Fights Diabetes
Cinnamon helps block certain amino acids (called alanines) which allow for glucose (sugar) to be absorbed into the blood. Therefore it has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a high-sugar meal, which is especially important for those with diabetes. For this reason, many studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes can experience significant positive effects on blood sugar levels by supplementing with cinnamon extract.
5. Protects Brain Function
Cinnamon’s protective antioxidant properties can help defend the brain against developing neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. One way that cinnamon protects cognitive function and brain health is through its ability to activate proteins that protect brain cells from mutation and damage.
6. Fights Infections
Cinnamon is a natural anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-fungal, and anti-viral agent. The immune-boosting abilities of cinnamon are found in cinnamon’s essential oils. Cinnamon is used in many cultures to naturally help fight harmful infections and viruses. Cinnamon is so powerful at boosting immunity that some studies even show that it may be able to reduce the risk of contracting the HIV virus.
7. Natural Food Preservative
One of the less-known benefits of cinnamon is that it can be used to preserve food. Because cinnamon has anti-bacterial abilities and also acts as an antioxidant, it can be used as a preservative in many foods without the need for chemicals and artificial ingredients.
So there you have it... 7 benefits of cinnamon. Hopefully you've learnt something new! To add more cinnamon to your diet, try our Dawn - energizing Chai blend, or our Winter - warming Ginger blend. Both of these delicious organic loose leaf teas contain cinnamon, in addition to the super spice turmeric!
Blog post by Shooka Faye.