What are the health benefits of cinnamon?
10 Scientifically proven health benefits of cinnamon!
What is cinnamon?
The word cinnamon comes from the Latin word canella, which means baton. Cinnamon, one of the best-known and most tempting spices, originates from Ceylon; current Sri Lanka. It has been appreciated for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. Modern science has now confirmed what people have thought instinctively for centuries.
Cinnamon is a delicious spice.
Is cinnamon healthy for you?
Here are 10 health benefits of cinnamon that are supported by scientific research.
1. Cinnamon has powerful medicinal properties
Cinnamon is a spice made from the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum.
It has been used as an ingredient throughout the centuries and dates back to ancient Egypt. It was rare and valuable and was considered a gift suitable for kings.
Nowadays, cinnamon is cheap, available in every supermarket and can be found in all kinds of foods and recipes.
There are two types of cinnamon. Besides the more expensive and better quality Ceylon Cinnamon there is another variant: the Cassia Cinnamon. Cassia is less sweet, stronger and sharper in taste. This latter type is most commonly used in the kitchen.
Cinnamon is made by cutting the stalks of the Cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts are removed from it. When it dries, it forms strips that roll on rolls, the so-called cinnamon sticks. The sticks can be ground to form the cinnamon powder.
The clean smell and taste of cinnamon are due to the oily part, which is very high in a compound called cinnamaldehyde. That gives the delicate aroma and taste to cinnamon. This substance has medicinal properties and that is why cinnamon has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. It is this compound that is responsible for the most powerful effects of cinnamon on health and metabolism.
In short: Cinnamon is a popular spice. It contains a high content of cinnamaldehyde, which is responsible for most health benefits.
2. Cinnamon is full of antioxidants
Antioxidants protect the body against oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
Cinnamon contains many powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols. These are antioxidants that protect your body against free radical damage. Antioxidants play an important role in the prevention of aging of the body. They repair damaged cells and activate enzymes in the body that help the cell
In a study in which the antioxidant effect of 26 spices was compared, cinnamon could be won as the clear winner, even superior over ssuperfoodssuch as garlic and oregano.
It is even so powerful that cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative. One more reason to add cinnamon to your dishes. Food that has been mixed with cinnamon will last longer
In short: Cinnamon contains large amounts of very powerful polyphenol antioxidants.
3. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation in the body is incredibly important.
It helps the body to fight infections and repair tissue damage.
However, inflammation can become a problem when it is chronic (long-term) and is directed against the body’s own tissues.
Cinnamon can be useful in this respect, as some studies show that the antioxidants it contains are powerful anti-inflammatory activity. Particularly if you suffer from sensitive intestines, laryngitis or colds, cinnamon can give relief.
In short: the antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects that can help reduce the risk of disease
4. Cinnamon can reduce the risk of heart disease
Cinnamon has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, the world’s most common cause of premature death.
In people with type 2 diabetes, 1 gram of cinnamon per day has beneficial effects on blood markers. It reduces levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while HDL cholesterol remains stable. This characteristic was already known in Chinese medicine. That made modern researchers curious.
A more recent study concluded that a cinnamon dose of only 120 milligrams per day can provide these effects. In this study, cinnamon also increased HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. It is important that your cholesterol ratio (the ratio between different types of cholesterol: LDL, HDL and triglyceride) is good.
In animal studies, cinnamon has been shown to lower blood pressure.
In combination, all these factors can drastically reduce the risk of heart disease. Cinnamon is a powerful natural sweetener that can balance and keep your cholesterol ratio in balance
short: Cinnamon can improve some important risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.
5. Cinnamon can improve the sensitivity to the hormone insulin
Insulin is one of the most important hormones that regulate metabolism and energy use.
It is also essential for the transport of blood sugar from the bloodstream to the cells.
The problem is that many people are resistant to the effects of insulin.
This condition, known as insulin resistance, is a characteristic of serious conditions such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Well, the good news is that cinnamon can drastically reduce insulin resistance and this incredibly important hormone can help to do its job.
In order for insulin to work, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels, leading us to the next point …
In short: Cinnamon has shown that it significantly increases the sensitivity to the hormone insulin.
6. Cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels and has a powerful anti-diabetic effect
Cinnamon is known for its blood sugar lowering effects.
In addition to the beneficial effects on insulin resistance, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels through various other mechanisms.
First, it has been shown that cinnamon reduces the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal.
It does this by mixing with numerous digestive enzymes, which are the breakdown of slowing down carbohydrates in the digestive tract.
Secondly, a compound in cinnamon can work on cells by mimicking insulin.
This significantly improves the uptake of glucose by cells, although it works slower than insulin itself.
Numerous human trials have confirmed the anti-diabetic effects of cinnamon, demonstrating that it can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 10-29%.
The effective dose is usually 1-6 grams of cinnamon per day (about 0.5-2 teaspoons).
In short: Cinnamon has shown that it both reduces fasting blood sugar levels and has a powerful anti-diabetic effect of 1 to 6 grams per day.
7. Cinnamon can have beneficial effects on neurodegenerative diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells.
Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common types.
Two compounds in cinnamon appear to inhibit the build-up of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
In a study on Parkinson’s disease, cinnamon helped to protect neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function.
These effects must be further studied in humans.
In short: Cinnamon has led to various improvements in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in animal studies.
8. Cinnamon can be protective against cancer
Cancer is a serious disease, characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells.
Cinnamon has been extensively studied because of its possible use in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
All in all, the evidence is limited to test tube experiments and animal studies, which suggest that cinnamon extracts may protect against cancer.
It works 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.
A study in mice with colon cancer revealed cinnamon as a powerful activator of detoxifying enzymes in the colon, which protects against further cancer growth.
These findings were supported by experiments with test tubes, which showed that cinnamon activates protective antioxidant reactions in human intestinal cells.
Whether cinnamon has any effect on humans should be confirmed in controlled trials.
In short: Animal experiments and test tube experiments indicate that cinnamon can have protective effects against cancer.
9. Cinnamon helps to fight bacterial and fungal infections
Cinnamon aldehyde, the main active ingredient of cinnamon, can help to fight various types of infections. Cinnamon is healthy
Cinnamon oil has been shown to effectively reduced infections by the airways caused by fungi.
It can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella.
The antimicrobial effects of cinnamon also help prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath.
In short: Cinnamaldehyde has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, which can reduce infections and help combat tooth decay and bad breath.
10. Cinnamon can help fight the HIV virus
HIV is a virus that slowly breaks down the immune system, which can eventually lead to AIDS if it is not treated.
Cinnamon extracted from the Cassia varieties is believed to contribute to the control of HIV-1.
This is the most common strain of the HIV virus in humans.
A laboratory study of HIV-infected cells indicated that cinnamon was the most effective treatment of all 69 examined medicinal plants.
Human trials are needed to confirm these effects.
In short: Test tube studies have shown that cinnamon can help fight HIV-1, the most important type of HIV virus in humans.
It is better to use Ceylon (“real” cinnamon)
Not all cinnamon is equal to each other.
The variety Cassia contains substantial amounts of a substance called coumarin and is believed to be harmful in large quantities.
All cinnamon must have health benefits, but Cassia can cause problems in large doses because of the coumarin content.
Ceylon (“real” cinnamon) is much better in this respect, and studies show that it is much lower in coumarin than the variety Cassia.
Unfortunately, most cinnamon in the supermarkets is the cheaper Cassia variety.
Cinnamon is one of the tastiest and healthiest herbs that exists.
It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce risk factors for heart disease and has an abundance of other impressive health benefits.
Make sure you get Ceylon cinnamon or keep it in small quantities if you use the Cassia variety.
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