Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon is used in both sweet and savoury foods. The term “cinnamon” also refers to its mid-brown colour. Cinnamon is a powerful spice that has been used medicinally around the world for thousands of years. It is still used daily in many cultures because of its widespread health benefits, not to mention its distinctly sweet, warming taste and ease of use in recipes. According to researchers, out of twenty-six of the most popular herbs and medicinal spices in the world, cinnamon actually ranks #1 in terms of its protective antioxidant levels!
The unique smell, color, and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part of the tree that it grows from. The health benefits of cinnamon come from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree. This bark contains several special compounds which are responsible for its many health promoting properties- including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, and cinnamate.
Researchers have concluded that the health benefits of cinnamon can be obtained in the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in ground spice form (which is bark powder), 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, cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities:
1. High Source of Antioxidants
Cinnamon is packed with a variety of protective antioxidants that reduce free radical damage and slow the aging process; in fact researchers have identified forty-one different protective compounds of cinnamon to-date.
The different antioxidants present in cinnamon help to reduce a multitude of symptoms and diseases as they are free-radical-scavengers. The health benefits of cinnamon include its ability to reduce many forms of oxidative stress, including the ability to limit nitric oxide build up in the blood and lipid (fat) peroxidation, which can both add to instances of brain disorders, cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.
2. Anti-inflammatory Properties
The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, brain function decline, and more. Researchers have identified over seven kinds of flavonoid compounds alone in cinnamon, which are highly effective at fighting dangerous inflammation levels throughout the body.
Because cinnamon lowers swelling and inflammation, it can be beneficial in pain management, with studies showing that cinnamon helps to relive muscle soreness, PMS pains, severity of allergic reactions, as well as age-related pain symptoms.
3. Protects Heart Health
Studies have shown that another health benefit of cinnamon is that it reduces several of the most common risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure.
The special compounds in cinnamon are able to help reduce levels of total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, while HDL “good” cholesterol remains stable. Cinnamon has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure, which is another threat for causing heart disease or stroke. As well as these benefits, cinnamon has even more heart health benefits. Research shows that cinnamon is a helpful blood coagulant and prevents bleeding by helping the body to form blood clots. Cinnamon also increases blood circulation and advances bodily tissue’s ability to repair itself after it’s been damaged. This includes heart tissue which is in need of regeneration in order to fight heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.
4. Fights Diabetes
Cinnamon is known to have an anti-diabetic effect. It helps lower blood sugar levels and also can improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is the vital hormone needed for keeping blood sugar levels balanced.
Diabetes is formed when insulin resistance occurs and poor glycemic control takes places, or someone develops the inability to manage how much sugar (glucose) enters the blood stream. The same problem with insulin resistance is also associated with other conditions like metabolic syndrome and weight gain.
These benefits from cinnamon exist because it plays a part in blocking certain enzymes called alanines, which allow for glucose (sugar) to be absorbed into the blood. Therefore, it has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a high-sugar meal, which is especially important for those with diabetes.
5. Defends Against Cognitive Decline & Protects Brain Function
Research also shows that another benefit of cinnamon’s protective antioxidant properties is that they can help defend the brain against developing neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
One way that cinnamon protects cognitive function and brain health, is it activates neuro-protective proteins that protect brain cells from mutation and undergoing damage. This further reduces the negative effects of oxidative stress by stopping cells from morphing and self-destructing.
Because cinnamon contains so many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce the effects of aging on the body and brain, in the future we may see it being used as a possible natural therapeutic treatment or prevention for age-related neuro-degenerative diseases.
6. Lowers Risk of Cancer
Because of its antioxidant abilities, cinnamon can protect against DNA damage, cell mutation, and cancerous tumor growth. Studies have revealed that the health benefits of cinnamon come from a compound called cinnamaldehyde include its ability to inhibit cancer tumor growth and protect DNA from damage, while also encouraging cancerous cells to self-destruct (called cell apoptosis).
This is especially true in the colon; studies show that cinnamon can improve the health of the colon, thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer. Cinnamon is now being investigated as a natural anti-cancer agent because of its strong antioxidant abilities, so in the future it may be useful to supplement with cinnamon extract for those who are at higher risks for cancer.
7. Fights Infections & Viruses
There are many benefits of cinnamon when it comes to defending the body from illnesses. 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.
Cinnamon is used in many cultures to naturally help fight harmful infections and viruses. Cinnamon oils also have protective abilities against various bacteria which can cause negative symptoms in the digestive tract, on the surface of the skin, and can lead to colds or the flu.
Cinnamon is so powerful at boosting immunity that some studies even show that it may be able to reduce the risk of contracting the HIV virus.
8. Helps Fight Allergies
Studies have concluded that those with allergies can find relief thanks to the benefits of cinnamon’s compounds. Cinnamon has been shown to be helpful in fighting common allergy symptoms because it reduces inflammation and fights histamine reactions in the body. For the same reason it can also help to reduce symptoms of asthma attacks.
Cinnamon also has immune boosting abilities and is beneficial for digestive health, which helps to cut down on auto-immune reactions that can take place after consuming common allergen foods.
You can incorporate cinnamon into your diet by trying some of these cinnamon recipes:
Honey and cinnamon to lose weight fast
This honey and cinnamon to lose weight recipe is claimed to help you shed pounds fast in a natural way. Please remember any kind of store-bought appetite suppressant can be dangerous and may not necessarily help you with your weight loss goals.
There are so many weight loss recipes out there and it can be very misleading. Many of you may not think of eating honey and cinnamon to lose weight, but when combined they can reduce food cravings.
1 tbsp of organic honey
1 tsp of organic cinnamon
1 cup of filtered water
To make it simple: One part cinnamon and two parts honey is what is required for this weight loss recipe.
Put the cinnamon in a bowl
Boil 1 cup of filtered water
Pour the hot water over the cinnamon
Steep for 15 minutes
Add honey to the cooled liquid
Always add honey to the cooled liquid – hot liquid will destroy the enzymes in the raw honey.
Note: Drink this twice a day: 1/2 cup in the morning and 1/2 cup before going to bed. Take on an empty stomach.
Secret Detox Drink Recipe
This first recipe is one of my favorite ways to use cinnamon’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties…in a detox! Combined with these other powerhouse cleansing ingredients you can bring down any inflammation and get your body on track fast!
Total Time: 2 minutes
1 glass of water (12-16 oz.)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 dash Cayenne Pepper(optional)
stevia to taste
Blend all ingredients together.
Enjoy your healthy drink!!