Cinnamon is a powerful and versatile spice that is found in most every kitchen worldwide and is second only to black pepper in the United States.
Frequently used to add a punch of flavor to breakfast oatmeal, fruit or yogurt, cinnamon also finds its way into baked goods, flavored teas and a variety of home remedies.
Used for centuries around the globe for medicinal purposes, cinnamon is highly prized for its health benefits as much as its prized for its unique warm, spicy flavor.
The healthy spice comes from the bark of a cinnamomum verum (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) tree that is native to the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia.
The aromatic, flavorful tree bark contains several special compounds which are responsible for its many health-promoting properties, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid and cinnamate.
1. Powerful Antioxidant
Antioxidants reduce the damage done to our body cells by free radicals. The more antioxidants we have fighting against cell damage, the slower we age. Researchers have documented 41 different protective compounds in cinnamon, making it the most powerful antioxidant out of all the spices and herbs.
Cinnamon health benefits are attributed to the type of antioxidants called polyphenols, phenolic acid and flavonoids, which work hard to fight oxidative stress in the body to prevent disease formation as we age.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Cinnamon reduces swelling and inflammation throughout the body, making it a potent weapon to use in managing chronic pain. Those with arthritis and joint pain may be able to reduce their pain by regularly consuming cinnamon.
The anti-inflammatory properties also help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, brain function decline and other health conditions that are directly related to inflammation in the body. Researchers have identified over seven kinds of flavonoid compounds in cinnamon, which are highly effective at fighting dangerous inflammation levels throughout the body.
3. Allergy Relief
Cinnamon contains beneficial compounds that fight off common allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation and histamine reactions in the body. This also helps reduce symptoms of asthma attacks for those who suffer with asthma and upper respiratory problems.
For those who suffer with food allergies, cinnamon also has immune boosting abilities and is beneficial for digestive health. Including cinnamon in the daily diet will cut down on auto-immune reactions that can take place after consuming common allergen foods and bring allergy relief.
4. Defends Against Viruses
Cinnamon is a natural anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-fungal and anti-viral agent. The immune-boosting abilities of cinnamon are found in cinnamon’s essential oils. The oil helps to fend off digestive disorders, colds and flu naturally without any side effects.
Cinnamaldehyde, the main active component of cinnamon, may help fight various kinds of infection. It can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella.
Cinnamon oil has been shown to effectively treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi.
5. Heart Health
Cinnamon reduces the most common risk factors of cardiovascular disease: the spice reduces blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol and lowers triglyceride levels while helping to maintain the level of ‘good’ cholesterol.
Cinnamon also increases blood circulation and improves the body’s ability to repair soft tissue after it’s been damaged. This includes heart tissue, which must be regenerated in order to help fight off heart attacks, heart disease and stroke.
6. HIV Fighter
Cinnamon is showing promising results in the treatment of HIV. While more research and human trials are needed for confirmation of the results, cinnamon is the most effective medicinal plant in the fight against AIDS so far.
HIV is a virus that slowly breaks down the immune system, which can eventually lead to AIDS if untreated. Compounds derived from the cinnamon bark have been shown to reduce the activity of the HIV virus in lab tests, preventing the virus from leading to full blown AIDS.
7. Improves Brain Function
The protective antioxidant properties of cinnamon help defend the brain against developing neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The spice activates neuro-protective proteins that protect brain cells from mutation and undergoing damage as we age.
An extract found in the spicy tree bark, called CEppt, may be used in the near future for developing new therapies to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
8. Lower Blood Sugar
Cinnamon helps block certain enzymes called alanines, which allows glucose (sugar) to be absorbed into the blood. The spice reduces the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a high-sugar meal, which is especially important for those with diabetes. Also important for the prevention of the development of the disease.
Cinnamon has been shown to both reduce fasting blood sugar levels, having a potent anti-diabetic effect when only a minimal amount of 1 to 6 grams per day are consumed. A compound in cinnamon can act on cells by mimicking insulin and slowing down the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract.
9. Reduces Cancer Risk
The powerful antioxidants in cinnamon protect against DNA damage, cell mutation and cancerous tumor growth, reducing the risk of cancer. The compound called cinnamaldehyde found in cinnamon inhibits the growth of cancerous tumors while encouraging cancerous cells to self-destruct. The antioxidants found in cinnamon appear to be toxic to cancer cells and seem to be especially potent in reducing the risk of colon cancer.
10. Protects Dental Health
Extracts found in cinnamon have been shown to fight against harmful bacteria living in our mouth that could cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease or mouth infections. The extract acts like a natural anti-bacterial mouthwash that protects dental health. The anti-inflammatory properties also help prevent gum inflammation and tenderness. Protect dental health without the use of chemicals by using dental products that contain cinnamon extract.
Researchers have discovered that cinnamon health benefits can be obtained in the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in ground spice form, capsule or in extract form when its special phenolic compounds, flavonoids and antioxidants, are isolated.
These compounds make cinnamon one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting and potential cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities. The choices of form make it possible to reap the health benefits of cinnamon without tasting the actual flavor of the spice for those who find it distasteful.
One tablespoon of ground cinnamon contains:
* 19 calories
* 0 grams of fat, sugar, or protein
* 4 grams of Phosphorus
* 2 milligrams of Potassium
* 11 milligrams of Vitamin C
* 8 IU of Vitamin A
* 0.1 milligrams of fiber
* 68 percent daily value manganese
* 8 percent daily value calcium
* 4 percent daily value iron
* 3 percent daily value vitamin K
A little bit of cinnamon provide a lot of health benefits. The antioxidant abilities of the spice are what makes it especially beneficial enough to include in your daily diet.
As little as one-half teaspoon of cinnamon daily can have positive effects on blood sugar levels, digestion, immunity and more. However, consuming larger amounts of the spice are also extremely beneficial for reducing heart disease risk and cutting your risk of diabetes, cancer and age-related brain disorders.