11 Benefits of Cinnamon

Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cinnamon is best known as a spice, something that adds flavor to breakfasts, pastries, and teas, to name just a few, but there are great health benefits to cinnamon. It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors, and much more!

However, not all cinnamon is created equal. The Cassia variety contains significant amounts of a compound called coumarin, which is believed to be harmful in large doses. Unfortunately, most cinnamon found in supermarkets is this cheaper Cassia variety. On the other hand, Ceylon (true cinnamon) has shown that it is significantly lower in coumarin than the Cassia variety, making it safer. You can purchase organic ceylon cinnamon on Amazon here.

Therefore, make sure to get Ceylon cinnamon, or stick to small doses and perhaps avoid daily use if you’re using the Cassia variety.  This will help you take most advantage of the health benefits and minimize your risk.

Here are some of the amazing benefits of cinnamon:

1. Antioxidants/Cancer Fighting: Cinnamon contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. This is especially important for preventing cancer, for example. It also reduces the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumors, and appears to be toxic to cancer cells, causing cell death.

2. Anti-inflammatory: Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties helping the body fight infections and repair tissue damage, thus potentially lowering the risk of disease and pain.

3. Neurodegenerative Disease Fighting: 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 found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. In a study looking at mice with Parkinson’s disease, cinnamon helped to protect neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels, and improve motor function. It is also suggested that it is a cognitive enhancer.

4. Reduction of Heart Disease Risk: According to research, in people with type 2 diabetes, 1/5th of a teaspoon of cinnamon per day has beneficial effects on blood markers. Cinnamon reduces levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while HDL cholesterol remains stable. More recently, a review study concluded that a cinnamon dose of just 120 milligrams per day can have these effects. In this study, cinnamon also increased HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. And in animal studies, cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood pressure. When combined, all these factors could drastically cut the risk of heart disease, and it tastes so good to boot!

 5. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels/Metabolism: The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oil, which is very high in cinnamaldehyde. It is this that is responsible for most of the powerful effects on health and metabolism. Cinnamon can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, helping this important hormone to do its job. In this way, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels. It has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal. It does this by interfering with a number of digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates. Also, a compound in cinnamon can act on cells by mimicking insulin. This greatly improves glucose uptake by cells. Numerous human trials have confirmed the anti-diabetic effects, showing that it can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 10-29%. The effective dose is typically around 0.5-2 teaspoons per day.

 6. Antifungal/Antibacterial: Cinnamaldehyde has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which may reduce infections and help fight tooth decay and bad breath. Further, if you have a bad stomach bug or food poisoning, cinnamon can help!  In particular, viruses such as E-coli and salmonella can be cured using cinnamon. Further, a cup of cinnamon tea can help to prevent or speed up recovery from a cold.

 7. IBS Relief: IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating and constipation. Cinnamon can effectively kill the bacteria and infections that are a common culprit to those with IBS. On top of that, it can even reduce gas caused by IBS!

8. Increased Blood Flow/Weight Loss: Cinnamon can increase the circulation of your blood stream. This makes your metabolism more active, which is ideal when it comes to weight loss. Increased blood flow has more benefits beyond weight loss, including increased blood circulation, which is important for overall heart health.

9. Good Nutrients: A serving of cinnamon contains minerals such as manganese, iron, and calcium. In each serving, you’ll find almost 20% DV manganese. You’ll also find 2% of calcium and 4% of iron.

10. Insect Repellant: Cinnamon’s antibacterial properties can be used as an insect repellant! The leaf oil can be used for the treatment of head lice. The oils can also be used to get rid of bed bugs, black ants, and even keep mosquitos away! It may be time to keep some cinnamon oils available!

11. Reduce Odors: Effective at neutralizing odors, just a few drops of cinnamon bark oil and some water you have an all natural cleaning solution. Wipe down whatever is causing the odor and the nasty smell should disappear within an hour.