A common condiment in the average household, great for pies and coffee, it is also extremely beneficial for your health. Various civilizations around the world have been using cinnamon medicinally for centuries. Cinnamon is derived from the bark of Cinnamomum trees. Studies have shown that the health benefits of cinnamon can be found in all forms: pure bark, essential oils, ground spice and extract. It has been shown that even just 1/2 a teaspoon a day of cinnamon can be enough to regulate blood sugar levels, help digestion, boost the immune system and more. Higher daily doses can lower your risk for heart disease as well as diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Cinnamon is extremely high in antioxidants like polyphenols, phenolic acid and flavonoids. These antioxidants are known to reduce free radical damage and reverse the unwanted effects of aging. Similar to other superfoods containing antioxidants, cinnamon works to reduce oxidative stress, which is the body’s ability to counteract/detoxify free radicals. High levels of oxidative stress have been known to increase chances of brain disorders, cancers and other severe health conditions. The antioxidants in cinnamon are also anti-inflammatory. Dangerous levels of inflammation in the body are linked to many diseases. Because cinnamon is anti-inflammatory it can also be used as an effective remedy for pain management. Ailments such as muscle soreness, PMS, and some allergic reactions can benefit from cinnamon. The antioxidants present can also protect the brain against diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Cinnamon also is helpful in fighting/treating diabetes by lowering blood sugar and even improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin. The spice does this by blocking certain enzymes called alanines, which are what allows glucose (sugar) to be absorbed by the bloodstream.
In addition the antioxidants, this “super spice” is great for protecting heart health. Cinnamon has been shown to reduce several of the most common factors that contribute to conditions like heart disease. There is evidence that suggests cinnamon can lower cholesterol, lower triglyceride levels as well as lower blood pressure. While cinnamon lowers total levels of cholesterol, it primarily lowers LDL or “bad” cholesterol while HDL or “good” cholesterol remains the same. Other studies have shown that cinnamon is great for blood circulation and improves the body’s ability to heal itself. It is also a good blood coagulant and in turn helps the body to stop bleeding by stimulating the production of blood clots.
There are many other benefits of adding cinnamon to your daily diet. It also freshens breath and protects against bacteria that can cause tooth decay, cavities and other oral infections. Cinnamon is similar to peppermint in that it can be used as a natural breath refresher in gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. Plus, because it actually removes bacteria, cinnamon freshens breath completely naturally. Cinnamon can also be used to preserve food, due to its antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties. As you can see, cinnamon is great for all components of health.