Cinnamon, which is derived from the inner bark of an evergreen tree that is native to Sri Lanka, has been in use for centuries. Egyptians used it for embalming; European people used it for cleansing during the bubonic plague, and it was one of the most popular spices during times of exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its uses have grown since then in folk medicine, with many cultures using it to cure everything from dandruff to heartburn, with researchers eventually studying the remarkable qualities of this spice. Here are the top six reasons why you should be incorporating one teaspoon of cinnamon into your diet daily.
There has been a plethora of research done on the health benefits that cinnamon brings to your body, and the heart has not been left out of the equation. Cinnamon is packed with 38% of your daily requirement of manganese and 10% of both your fiber and iron needs. Cinnamon helps to reduce the release of fatty acids that causes internal inflammation within the bloodstream, helping to keep your blood to the appropriate thickness. When your blood becomes too thick, you have an increased risk of blood clots as well as help to keep blood pressure down.
The nutrient content in this spice is enough to be helpful for your body as it aids in flushing toxins from your system while providing the needed vitamins and minerals for your body to survive. There is also research that suggests that cinnamon may be able to reduce high cholesterol levels, which can help to prevent the development of heart disease and atherosclerosis.
Research has shown that this spice is able to help people with type two diabetes lower their blood glucose levels. A study in 2003 that was published in the journal Diabetes Care showed that participants blood glucose levels dropped between eight and twenty nine percent when taking one gram of cinnamon daily. It also showed that cinnamon could help to lower triglycerides (a blood lipid) as well as LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels.
Cinnamon is metabolized in our bodies and turns into sodium benzoate, which is primarily found in the brain. A report in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology has found that high levels of sodium benzoate have an important role in brain function as well as the prevention of different age-related neurological disorders.
The offshoots that cinnamon creates in your body increase the level of different chemicals in our brains that are called neurotrophic factors. These factors help to stimulate the growth and birth of new neurons in the brain while encouraging the longevity of existing neurons. These processes are imperative to maintain a healthy brain; in fact, the neurotrophic factors may greatly slow the progression of diseases such as Parkinson and Alzheimer’s.
In addition, research showed that this spice reduced levels of oxidation in the brain while providing a powerful boost of antioxidants. Finally, a small study posits that the scent of cinnamon may improve your performance in several memory tasks and improve your cognition levels.
Reduces Fungi and Viruses
Different studies have released information showing that cinnamon oil and extract have amazing anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and anti-bacterial function. It may be able to decrease or eliminate symptoms caused by Candida albicans (the cause of yeast infections and thrush), the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, as well as head lice. Research has also suggested that internally treated external fungi with cinnamon can reduce the fungal infection on your body without damaging your liver.
This spice is also effective against inflammation and muscle soreness, especially when combined with ginger. Researchers at Iran’s Isfahan University of Medical Sciences found that those who took ginger or cinnamon supplements showed a marked improvement in muscle soreness after strenuous activity. Those who took the two together showed greater improvements.
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties have also shown to be helpful for joint conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. A 2008 study published in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry showed that cinnamon could slow down the bone damage from rheumatoid arthritis to ease the pain of the patient.
There are two main oils within cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde that offers flavor, and eugenol, which has analgesic, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties. Eugenol can be used to treat gastrointestinal disorders such as gas and diarrhea as it has antibacterial abilities and might be able to treat infections caused by viruses or bacteria. Some research has shown that cinnamon may also be useful for:
- Morning sickness
- Poor digestion
In addition, studies have shown that food with cinnamon tends to be digested slower in your system, which lowers your blood sugar and keeps you full for longer. There are reports that state that daily consumption of cinnamon can be used as a weight loss aid as long as it is not combined with sugar.
As you can see, the health benefits of cinnamon are great and it is an easy spice to add to your daily diet without any fuss. You can sprinkle in on your oatmeal or yogurt, eat in soups, or add it to a cup of toddy at night for easy sleep. For those who are seeking to add more cinnamon to their diet for its health properties, you should seek to buy “Ceylon Cinnamon,” which is more difficult to find and more expensive but has more of the nutrients that will boost your health. Most of the cinnamon that you can purchase regularly has had much of the fiber, iron, calcium, and magnesium processed out of it.
While there are many positive benefits of cinnamon, there are some individuals who are sensitive to this spice who should avoid eating it daily, as it causes liver toxicity. If you experience a burning of your lips or pain in your abdomen after ingesting cinnamon, seek help. There are also numerous ways in which cinnamon can react with other medications that you are taking, so check with your primary care physician before starting any program that centers on daily cinnamon ingestion.