Cinnamon is probably the most favorite spice in every household. Fresh baked cookies, hot beverages, scented candles, you name it. Cinnamon is the inevitable ingredient in all kinds of recipes – the one that adds delicious flavor to foods and fills the kitchen with warm smells. However, what most people don’t know while enjoying cinnamon rolls during the winter holidays is how beneficial cinnamon is for our health.
For many centuries, cinnamon has been used as the medication for treating various medical conditions and enhancing overall health. We break down all the reasons for such wide use of cinnamon in the following article. In it, you’ll find the 10 benefits of cinnamon, information about proper use, and potential side effects.
What is Cinnamon?
The spice called cinnamon is made from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees. According to some records, cinnamon has been used since Ancient Egypt, when it was considered a rare and valuable gift. Today, the spice is widely used and incredibly cheap, which is why it’s present in all homes world-wide.
People often don’t know that there are several types of cinnamon. The two main ones are Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. The former is known as true cinnamon and has a light taste. The latter is the one we commonly use today. It’s stronger than Ceylon cinnamon and a little more bitter.
Cinnamon is derived from the inner bark of the tree. The bark dries and forms strips that curl into rolls. These rolls are called cinnamon sticks and can be used in their original form or ground to make cinnamon powder. Because cinnamon is high in an organic compound cinnamaldehyde, it is considered a natural herbal remedy. Here we listed the ten main health benefits of cinnamon:
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Loaded with Antioxidants
Cinnamon is full of powerful antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. According to some studies, it’s even more beneficial than garlic and oregano. Antioxidants play a crucial role in reducing the risk of conditions such as heart and liver disease. They prevent cell damage and ensure proper body functioning.
Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Another thing that makes cinnamon unique regards its anti-inflammatory properties. Although more trials are needed to prove the effectiveness of cinnamon in reducing inflammation, it seems that the spice works wonders when added to the regular diet for systemic inflammation treatment.
When it’s chronic, inflammation can contribute to the development or progression of conditions such as coronary heart disease. Cinnamon can help with that, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. The spice protects body tissues and treats systemic inflammation as well as specific inflammations such as arthritis and headache pain. By stimulating blood circulation, cinnamon helps with these and many other conditions, as you’ll see further on.
Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
People also use cinnamon to decrease the risk of heart disease. The spice reduces the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, and all these things are responsible for heart disease. Believe it or not, one gram or half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily can have a tremendous impact on blood markers.
Reduces Insulin Resistance
Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of glucose in the bloodstream and helps the body to store glucose in the liver, fat, and muscles. It also regulates the body’s metabolism, which is crucial for proper organism functioning. Without insulin, the body can’t store glucose nor make fat, which leads it to produce keto acids. That is extremely harmful to the body, so insulin needs to be at proper levels to ensure health to the body.
However, some people are resistant to insulin and need extra support. Cinnamon is that magical herb that naturally reduces insulin resistance and helps the hormone do its job in the body. By doing so, cinnamon is linked to treating type 2 diabetes. While this metabolic disease has no cure, it can still be treated and managed with proper medication and supplements.
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
By reducing insulin resistance, cinnamon proves to decrease sugar levels in the blood. However, the spice does that in several other ways as well. Firstly, it decreases the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream. Secondly, cinnamon tends to mimic insulin and thus, improve glucose uptake.
In general, the spice has powerful anti-diabetic effects and can lower blood sugar levels by 10-29%. This is highly beneficial for people who suffer from high blood sugar and have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Helps with Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Cinnamon is widely used as a weapon against various bacterial and fungal infections because of the cinnamaldehyde component. The spice treats respiratory tract infections caused by fungi while also preventing the growth of bacteria such as Listeria and Salmonella. It’s also known as one of the main natural medications for treating yeast infections and dangerous E. coli.
Positive Effects on Neurodegenerative Diseases
Cinnamon may also have a great impact on neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Although more trials are required to confirm its beneficial properties, cinnamon seems to have the ability to inhibit tau and amyloid-beta proteins, which are trademarks of Alzheimer’s disease. It also seems to protect neurons and improve motor function with Parkinson’s disease.
Many experiments have been performed to test the protective potential of cinnamon against cancer. They were limited to test-tube and animal studies but have shown promising results. Experts have found that cinnamon acts to reduce the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumors. It also appears to be toxic to cancer cells, which is why the spice is recommended as a cancer prevention supplement.
However, keep in mind that more human tests are needed to confirm these results. Cinnamon is not proven to cure and prevent serious diseases such as cancer.
Treats the Skin
Among all the other benefits, cinnamon proves to be good for the skin. Its anti-fungal, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties make it useful for various skin conditions, including eczema. Cinnamon may help remove and heal acne, add moisture to the skin, and enhance the skin’s complexion.
Cinnamon Side Effects
However, too much of a good thing can be bad. We have to warn you about the side effects of cinnamon because taking large amounts of this spice can cause health problems.
When consumed in large amounts, cinnamon can lower the blood sugar too much, cause mouth sores, interact with other medications, and more. The spice can also cause breathing problems because it’s quite dry and difficult to digest when consumed alone.
Therefore, if someone proposes the “cinnamon challenge” to you, don’t fall for its popularity. Eating a tablespoon of dry cinnamon without drinking water can irritate your throat and even permanently damage your lungs.
How to Use Cinnamon
In the end, it all comes down to adding a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon in your mounting oatmeal, yogurt, hot chocolate, coffee, or daily meal. The key is to make a perfect balance, and you’ll feel the benefits of cinnamon without experiencing any side effects.
On the other hand, you can also opt for taking supplements and avoid forgetting about your daily cinnamon intake. Greenbush Natural Products offers Ceylon cinnamon vegetarian capsules, the product made from “true cinnamon”. With these capsules, you can easily balance your doses and know that you’re taking what’s best for your body.
Greenbush Natural Products makes one-herb supplements that don’t contain any fillers or additives. Therefore, Ceylon cinnamon capsules are made from pure herbs and completely safe for human consumption. Even better, you’ll get advice on how to use them depending on your lifestyle and overall health condition.