Cinnamon is one of the most delicious spices and it has been prized for the medical properties and benefits for thousands of years. The scent of cinnamon reminds people of fall, one of the most beautiful times of the year, one when leaves fall and we get cozy and comfortable in the warmth of our home.
The flavor and the aroma of cinnamon are more than enough reasons to include this spice in your daily diet. Once you take in consideration the benefits of cinnamon as well, there is no reason to ignore and avoid this spice, no matter if you like or not the taste of it. For starters, just a teaspoon of cinnamon has as many antioxidants as half a cup of blueberries (considered the gold standard for antioxidants).
To understand the benefits of cinnamon, one must look first at the nutritional breakdown of the spice. Many of the benefits of cinnamon come from the substance called cinnamaldehyde. The nutritional breakdown of cinnamon shows that one tablespoon of cinnamon contains:
- 19 calories
- 4g of fiber
- 68% manganese
- 8% calcium
- 4% iron
- 3% vitamin K
- Zero fat, sugar or protein
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of cinnamon consumption.
1. Cinnamon improves heart health
Consuming cinnamon on a daily basis helps negate the effects of fatty meal and diet rich in unhealthy fats. It is almost impossible to cut all unhealthy fats from your diet, as every now and then, everyone reaches for a fast food meal.
But what you can do to protect your heart health is consume cinnamon as well. Aside from protecting your heart, cinnamon reduces the level of cholesterol in your body, as well as triglycerides.
2. Regulates Blood Sugar
A study by the US Department of Agriculture showed that cinnamon extract can reduce the factors linked with heart disease and diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels. Thanks to its richness in antioxidants, cinnamon reduces the blood sugar level in your body, essentially regulating blood glucose and preventing sugar cravings.
3. Protects from Diabetes
Not only does cinnamon regulates blood sugar levels, the spice helps in many other ways to protect yourself from diabetes. Essentially, cinnamon slows down stomach emptying, which triggers a rise in blood sugar levels after meal.
Cinnamon also improves your sensitivity to insulin. With blood sugar at bay, your body is protected. When sugar levels are high, on the other hand, sugar bonds with protein, forming compounds that activate the immune system and trigger inflammation in the gut.
4. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Even those not suffering from diabetes should include cinnamon in their daily diet because the spice lowers LDL or bad cholesterol. In addition, cinnamon raises HDL or good cholesterol, making it double bonus. Keeping a healthy balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol is the key to leading healthy life.
5. Antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties
Cinnamon can help fight off bacteria, viruses and fungus thanks to its highly healthy properties. Thanks to its antiviral and antibacterial properties, cinnamon can be used for fighting the common cold, cough, flu and during sinus season.
Any lung problem can be solved with a sprinkle of cinnamon. And most importantly, some studies have shown that cinnamon can protect even from the deadliest viruses, such as HIV virus, preventing the virus from entering our cells.
6. Anti-carcinogenic properties
Many superfoods, cinnamon included carry anti-carcinogenic properties. However, do not get carried away. While cinnamon can help, the spice won’t protect you from cancer 100%. The research so far is limited only to animal studies. However, the results clearly show that cinnamon slows the growth of cancer cells and can also kill cancerous cells.
7. Anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation is in the core of all illnesses, diseases and conditions. Fighting inflammation is essential for leading healthy life, and prevention of chronic diseases. By reducing inflammation, cinnamon effectively helps with pain and headaches, most notably arthritis pain. In addition, cinnamon boosts blood circulation which effectively cures headaches and migraines.
8. Improves Brain Function
Some studies show that a simple sniff of cinnamon and smelling cinnamon can improve cognitive processing. That being said, consuming cinnamon improves the brain function even more, as evidenced by a study at the Wheeling Jesuit University. According to the study, the cognitive processing was boosted in people consuming cinnamon, with results showing quicker visual and motor responses as well as improved attention.
9. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
By improving brain function and cognitive processing, cinnamon essentially protects us from diseases like Parkinson and Alzheimer. Both are neurological conditions that cannot be cured at the moment.
However, both can be prevented, and their symptoms can be managed and reduced. An addition of cinnamon to your diet helps neurons improve their motor function, which is key to preventing and reducing symptoms from the diseases.
10. Candida and Yeast Infections
The spice has the ability to stop many yeast infections thanks to its antiviral and anti-bacterial properties. Aside from candida, cinnamon also protects from Escherichia coli.
When it comes to candida, cinnamon protects your body from three strains of candida. Even if you have yeast infection, you can use cinnamon oil in combination with carrier oil and apply topically.
11. Stomach Bug Prevention
There is no better remedy for stomach bug than cinnamon because of the spice’s anti-bacterial properties. Salmonella and similar bacteria go away in a matter of minutes when consuming cinnamon. Aside from helping kill of bacteria, cinnamon can also be used as preventive measure.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a digestive issue that often results in bloating. Cinnamon helps by killing bacteria and infections in the intestine tracts that cause IBS. By consuming cinnamon on a regular basis, you are allowing your gastric juices to flow normally.
13. Weight Loss
Cinnamon is one of the spices along with ginger that can vastly improve your weight loss regime. By improving blood circulation, cinnamon naturally increases your fat burning and metabolic rate, causing your body to burn more calories than usually. One thing to note is that cinnamon should not be combined with other blood thinning medications.
14. Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
The anti-bacterial properties of cinnamon again come in play, as the spice can help with tooth decay and prevent gum disease. Consuming cinnamon helps you get rid of all bacteria in your mouth. In the same time, there is no damage to the gums or teeth. If you want more proof, just look at the ingredients and label of mouthwashes and toothpaste. You’ll find cinnamon oil used in most of them.
We mentioned previously that cinnamon helps with inflammation and acts as natural pain killer. And with high levels of manganese, cinnamon mitigates most of the effects and pain caused by PMS. Mood swings and cramps are thing of the past with regular cinnamon consumption.
A clinical study by the University of Maryland proved that women consuming manganese rich food (cinnamon) had fewer mood swings and cramps when compared to those who consume little to no manganese.
16. Depression and Mood Enhancement
As mentioned, cinnamon vastly helps with mood swings, which is also a reason why the spice can help fight off depression. Cinnamon instantly boosts your mood. Another reason why cinnamon helps is by killing bacteria in your guy. By killing the cause for inflammation, cinnamon is eliminating the root of depression.
17. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
A study has shown that children with the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can vastly reduce the symptoms by receiving cinnamon aromatherapy. Because cinnamon enhances performances and motivation, all while decreasing depression, children with ADHD can have their disorder under control.
How to add more Cinnamon to Your Diet
With so many benefits of cinnamon, there is really no reason not to add the spice in your daily diet. Some think it is hard to incorporate cinnamon in your daily diet, but let’s take a look at 10 easy ways to use cinnamon.
- Sprinkle cinnamon into coffee
- Mix cinnamon and water, and then freeze the solution in ice cubes. Add the ice cubes to cocktails for some cinnamon zest
- Add a teaspoon of cinnamon in oatmeal, cereal or any other breakfast
- Sprinkle cinnamon onto popcorn as a salt alternative for sweet popcorns
- Melt dark chocolate, add some cinnamon to the mixture, and stir together. Pour the melted chocolate over nuts for tasty snack
- You can also add cinnamon to almond butter, or any other seed butter and stir them together
- Cinnamon can be used for seasoning roasted or grilled fruits
- You can also season roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and cauliflower with cinnamon
- Add cinnamon to lentils soup, bean soup or any vegetarian chilli
- Add cinnamon into yogurt, and then mix with chilled quinoa, fresh fruit, nuts or seeds for a healthy breakfast
That being said, despite the numerous benefits of cinnamon, do not overdo it. In large doses, cinnamon can be toxic, so if you want to integrate into your diet, use it in one or two ways, not all 10.