Cinnamon is a highly delicious spice. It has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.
1. Cinnamon Is High in a Substance with Powerful Medicinal Properties
Cinnamon is a spice that is made from the inner bark of trees scientifically known as Cinnamomum. It has been used as an ingredient throughout history, dating back as far as Ancient Egypt. It used to be rare and valuable and was regarded as a gift fit for kings.
There are two main types of cinnamon:
Ceylon cinnamon: Also known as "true" cinnamon.Cassia cinnamon: The more common variety today and what people generally refer to as "cinnamon."
Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of cinnamon trees. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed. When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. These sticks can be ground to form cinnamon powder. The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon are due to the oily part, which is very high in the compound cinnamaldehyde.
2. Cinnamon Is Loaded with Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols. In fact, it is so powerful that cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative.
3. Cinnamon Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is incredibly important. It helps your body fight infections and repair tissue damage. However, inflammation can become a problem when it’s chronic and directed against your body's own tissues. Cinnamon may be useful in this regard.
4. Cinnamon May Cut the Risk of Heart Disease
Cinnamon has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, the world's most common cause of premature death. In people with type 2 diabetes, 1 gram or about half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood markers. It reduces levels of total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while “good” HDL cholesterol remains stable. When combined, all these factors may drastically cut your risk of heart disease.
5. Cinnamon Can Improve Sensitivity to the Hormone Insulin
Insulin is one of the key hormones that regulate metabolism and energy use. It’s also essential for transporting blood sugar from your bloodstream to your cells. The problem is that many people are resistant to the effects of insulin. This is known as insulin resistance, a hallmark of serious conditions like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. The good news is that cinnamon can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, helping this important hormone do its job. By increasing insulin sensitivity, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels, as discussed in the next chapter.
6. Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar Levels and Has a Powerful Anti-Diabetic Effect
Cinnamon is well known for its blood-sugar-lowering properties. Apart from the beneficial effects on insulin resistance, cinnamon can lower blood sugar by several other mechanisms. Cinnamon has been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar levels, having a potent anti-diabetic effect at 1–6 grams or 0.5–2 teaspoons per day.
7. Cinnamon May Have Beneficial Effects on Neurodegenerative Diseases
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 in mice with Parkinson's disease, cinnamon helped protect neurons, normalized neurotransmitter levels and improved motor function. These effects need to be studied further in humans. Cinnamon has been shown to lead to various improvements for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease in animal studies. However, human research is lacking.
8. Cinnamon May Protect Against Cancer
Cancer is a serious disease, characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. Cinnamon has been widely studied for its potential use in cancer prevention and treatment. Overall, the evidence is limited to test-tube and animal studies, which suggest that cinnamon extracts may protect against cancer. It acts by reducing the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumors and appears to be toxic to cancer cells, causing cell death. Whether cinnamon has any effect in living, breathing humans needs to be confirmed in controlled studies.
9. Cinnamon Helps Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Cinnamaldehyde, one of the main active components of cinnamon, may help fight various kinds of infection. Cinnamon oil has been shown to effectively treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi. It can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella. Cinnamaldehyde has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which may reduce infections and help fight tooth decay and bad breath.
10. Cinnamon May Help Fight the HIV Virus
In short: Test-tube studies have shown that cinnamon can help fight HIV-1, the main type of HIV virus in humans.
It Is Best to Use Gradely Estate’s Ceylon ("True" Cinnamon)
Not all cinnamon is created equal. The Cassia variety contains significant amounts of a compound called coumarin, which is believed to be harmful in large doses. All cinnamon should have health benefits, but Cassia may cause problems in large doses due to the coumarin content.
Ceylon ("true" cinnamon) is much better in this regard, and studies show that it’s much lower in coumarin than the Cassia variety. Unfortunately, most cinnamon found in supermarkets is the cheaper Cassia variety. You will be able to find Ceylon cinnamon at Park Street Gourmet Colombo and Negombo
The Bottom Line: At the end of the day, cinnamon is one of the most delicious and healthiest spices on the planet. It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors and has a plethora of other impressive health benefits.