Exploring The Many Cinnamon Benefits

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: October 13, 2023References

cinnamon sticks and meal close up on wooden table
Cinnamon sticks and meal close up on wooden table

Cinnamon, the aromatic and versatile spice, has been used for millennia not just as a seasoning but also in traditional medicine. Beyond its fragrant appeal in both sweet and savory dishes, cinnamon benefits have caught the attention of the medical and scientific community, particularly regarding blood sugar control and various other health benefits.[1]

1Origins of Cinnamon

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Farmer cutting pieces of a cinnamon tree

The cinnamon tree, native to Sri Lanka, has multiple varieties. The most common types found in stores are Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon. Cassia is typically the more commercialized variety, while many consider Ceylon to be the true cinnamon.

2Health Benefits of Cinnamon

glass cup of tea on a wooden table with sliced lemon and cinnamon
Glass cup of tea on a wooden table with sliced lemon and cinnamon

Cinnamon and Blood Sugar Control

One of the foremost cinnamon benefits is its potential to lower blood sugar levels. Research suggests that this multifaceted medicinal plant can help those with type 2 diabetes achieve better blood sugar control. The compounds in cinnamon may improve insulin sensitivity, a critical factor in transporting blood sugar from the bloodstream to the cells. By enhancing the action of the hormone insulin, cinnamon nutrition can play a pivotal role in blood glucose control, making it an attractive complementary and integrative health approach for many.

Cinnamon and Heart Disease

Studies indicate that cinnamon can address several heart disease risk factors. It has the potential to lower blood pressure, reduce levels of total cholesterol, and improve blood circulation by relaxing blood vessels. Consistent cinnamon consumption can be a part of a healthy diet aiming to reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Antioxidant Properties and Anti-inflammatory Effects

The antioxidant properties of cinnamon are noteworthy. These compounds help combat oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to several health issues, including cancer. Some research also indicates that cinnamon can have a protective effect against certain cancer cells. Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory effects further augment its protective qualities. Such effects can potentially inhibit tumour growth and protect against colon cancer, among other types of the disease.

Cinnamon and Alzheimer’s Disease

Research from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health suggests that cinnamon extracts can prevent the build-up of a particular protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. While more clinical trials are needed, the implications for cinnamon’s role in neurodegenerative diseases are promising.

Antibacterial Properties and Digestive Health

Cinnamon possesses antibacterial properties, making it an excellent natural food preservative. Moreover, in traditional medicine, particularly Chinese herbal medicine, it has been utilized for addressing digestive tract issues.

Cinnamon: A Natural Shield Against Bacteria

Cinnamon’s antibacterial properties, especially in cinnamon oil and cinnamon essential oil, can tackle a range of infections. Historically, it’s been used as a natural food preservative due to its ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Moreover, cinnamon may offer protection against bloodstream infections and bad breath.

The Neural Advantages

Remarkably, the health benefits of cinnamon extend to the brain. Research suggests that this spice can impede the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, proving its neuroprotective capabilities.

Other Health Benefits

Other potential health benefits from this spice range from improving skin health to serving as a toothpowder to combat bad breath. Additionally, for those looking to lower blood sugar, cinnamon might be a beneficial addition to their diet. The cinnamon oil, especially the cinnamon essential oil, derived from the cinnamon bark, is rich in essential oils and can be used for various medicinal properties. Similarly, cinnamon leaf extract is gaining prominence in health food stores for its potential benefits.

3Forms of Consumption and Use

aromatic hot cinnamon tea on wooden table
aromatic hot cinnamon tea on wooden table

From ground cinnamon, cinnamon powder, and cinnamon sticks, to cinnamon supplements and cinnamon tea, there are various ways to integrate this spice into your daily routine. Cinnamon extract and cinnamon essential oil can be potent forms to reap the spice’s benefits.

4Safety Considerations

While there’s a plethora of health benefits of cinnamon, moderation is crucial. Especially with Cassia cinnamon, which contains a compound called coumarin, which in large amounts can be harmful and potentially lead to liver disease. Ceylon cinnamon powder has much lower levels of coumarin, making it a safer choice for regular consumption.

5Ceylon Cinnamon vs. Cassia Cinnamon: A Note on Safety

chinese cassia and ceylon cinnamon bark sticks
Chinese cassia and ceylon cinnamon bark sticks

While there’s an abundance of health benefits of cinnamon, it’s essential to consider the type of cinnamon consumed. The compound coumarin, present in higher amounts in cassia cinnamon compared to Ceylon, can be detrimental to liver health in significant quantities. It’s advisable to opt for Ceylon cinnamon powder when incorporating it into a healthy diet.

6Wrapping Up

Cinnamon, a multifaceted medicinal plant, is more than a spice that adds flavor to our dishes. Its potential to regulate blood sugar, and reduce blood pressure, and its antioxidant and antibacterial properties make it a valuable addition to a balanced and healthy diet.

However, while the health benefits of cinnamon are substantial, it’s essential to consult with a professional before starting any form of cinnamon supplementation, especially if you’re considering it as a treatment for specific ailments.

By integrating cinnamon into our diets and understanding its potential benefits, we can harness its power as a natural remedy, enriching our diets and enhancing our overall health and well-being. Remember always to opt for high-quality sources, preferably Ceylon cinnamon, and consume in moderation to reap the maximum benefits this spice offers.

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Kaushik Jethva
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Updated: October 13, 2023
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