Today I want to talk about a Spice I love, because it is tasty, because it smells good, because I can mix it to whatever I am eating, and because it has so many health benefits, I wouldn’t want to miss it!
It is Cinnamon.
1. What is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a spice that has been used for thousands of years throughout history. It is mentioned in Chinese botanical books from 2700 B.C., in biblical references and in Ancient Egypt scripts. It was so rare and valuable that it was often regarded as a gift for Kings.
Today, you can easily find it in almost every food and/or health store. There are 2 types of Cinnamon:
- Ceylon Cinnamon, or “True” Cinnamon: this one is from Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil or Caribbean Regions. This is considered the most powerful form of Cinnamon
- Cassia Cinnamon, or “Cinnamon”: this one is from China, Vietnam or Indonesia. This one contains more coumarin than the Ceylon Cinnamon, and because it can become toxic at high doses, it is better not to have more than 2 tsp per day.
It is always better to store Cinnamon sticks or powder in a glass container, in a cool and dry place (the fridge is good for that).
Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems from the Cinnamomum tree. The inner barks are then extracted, we remove the woody parts from it and when dried, the strips curl into rolls: those are the Cinnamon sticks you have at home. You get the Cinnamon powder by grounding those sticks.
2. Rich in Minerals and Fibers
Cinnamon is particularly rich in Fibers, Calcium and Manganese.
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon contains 22% of the Daily Recommended Value in Manganese.
Manganese is a trace mineral that is essential to the body. It helps:
- strengthen the bones, the connective tissues
- regulate sex hormones
- coagulate blood properly
- metabolize fats and carbohydrates
- regulate blood sugars
Manganese also helps absorb Calcium, and is essential for your brain and nervous systems. It works with antioxidants by neutralizing free radicals that damage cells membranes and DNA.
Healthy levels of Manganese decrease the risk of Diabetes, Arthritis, Epilepsy and even PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome).
So this already explains why cinnamon can be so beneficial on a daily basis.
3. Cinnamon increases sensitivity to Insulin
And this is an important reason to take it, especially nowadays! Many people become resistant to Insulin today because of their poor food choices, and an unhealthy lifestyle overall. Their body doesn’t respond to the Insulin as much anymore, and produces more and more Insulin in order to get over that, and this is how chronic diseases like the Metabolic Syndrome or Type 2 Diabetes start.
Cinnamon is recognized today for its Anti-Diabetic effects:
- It decreases the amount of glucose in the bloodstream after meals by slowing down the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract
- One cinnamon’s compound mimics Insulin in cells and improves glucose uptake by cells, and in a much more slow way than Insulin does.
This is how Cinnamon can help your body regulate the blood sugar levels in a more efficient way. People can see the benefits with just 0.5 to 2 tsp per day.
4. Cinnamon boosts your neural and brain activity
Just the smell of Cinnamon is very powerful. It boosts brain activity, memory, visual recognition and motor speed.
2 compounds in Cinnamon inhibit the build-up of tau (a protein) in the brain, which is one characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
More generally, Cinnamon is believed to have many beneficial effects on Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer or Parkinson diseases. This is because it helps strengthen the structure and function of the brain cells. Some studies made on mice with Parkinson disease showed that Cinnamon helps protect the neurons, normalize the neurotransmitter levels and improve their overall motor function. Further studies still need to be done for humans but the future looks bright I think.
5. Cinnamon is antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic
Cinnamon Oil treats respiratory tract infections very well. Whether they are caused by fungi, microbes, viruses…. Cinnamon helps inhibit the growth of certain bacteria (like listeria, salmonella) and therefore strengthens your Immune System. The most common oral or respiratory tract symptoms that Cinnamon helps fight are:
- Sore throat
- Tooth decay
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
Soak Cinnamon sticks into water and drink it. The warming properties of this water will increase your blood flow, increase blood oxygen and help fight infections.
6. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
Cinnamon is very rich in antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Therefore, it helps protect from premature ageing and premature stress and age-related diseases.
Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a strong Immune system booster that helps the body fight infections and repair tissue damage. This decreases the risk of diseases in the future.
7. Decreases the risk of Heart disease
- have beneficial therapeutic health benefits on blood makers for people with type 2 diabetes
- improve cholesterol ratios by decreasing LDL and triglycerides levels (with just 120mg a day)
- decrease blood pressure
Therefore, Cinnamon has many beneficial effects on Heart health and can help prevent and decrease the risk of heart disease.
8. Anti-Cancer properties
Both Calcium and Fibers in Cinnamon bind to bile salts and help your body remove them. Certain bile salts can cause some damage to colon cells. Therefore, by removing them, Cinnamon Fibers help decrease the risk of colon cancer.
Some animals studies also show that Cinnamon helps decrease the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumor cells. Cinnamon is therefore toxic to cancer cells, accelerating their death.
9. Other Cinnamon health benefits
Cinnamon is a great everyday help for:
- Weight loss: because it regulates blood sugar spikes, it has a favorable impact on hunger and weight gain
- Attention and Focus: it enhances motivation and performance and decreases sensations of frustration and anxiety
- Gastro-Intestinal issues: loss of appetite, indigestion, bloating, flatulence…. Have some cinnamon and experience the benefits!
Again, it is very important to choose a good quality of Organic Cinnamon. Ceylon Cinnamon, or “True” Cinnamon, should be your first choice. You can’t find it in all food stores, but it is easily ordered online or in some of your health food stores. You can have as much as you want from it. As for the usual Cinnamon, Cassia Cinnamon, I wouldn’t exceed 2tsp a day.
Mix it with your meals, your smoothies or juices, your coconut kefir…. Or have some Cinnamon Oil drops topically or under your tongue. And enjoy the benefits….:-)
In Health and Happiness,