Surprising Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon - a Delicious and Healthy Ingredient

Cinnamon is a spice which is enormously popular for adding great flavors to so many entrees and desserts. What most of us are not aware of are the potential health benefits of cinnamon. Over the years, scientific research has shown that cinnamon is a highly effective supplement in the management of type II diabetes mellitus. In addition, the USDA in Maryland has found cinnamon to be helpful in reducing levels of LDL (referred to as 'bad cholesterol'). High levels of LDL have been shown to have an association with increased cardiovascular disease.

Did you know that down through history cinnamon has been used in the treatment of the common cold and toothaches? Some studies have shown that cinnamon helped type II diabetes patients reduce their blood sugar levels by 18 to 29 percent as well as reducing the risks for cardiovascular disease. Patients in this same study also saw a reduction of triglycerides by as much as 30 percent and total cholesterol by up to 26 percent. It has also reduced LDL or 'bad cholesterol by as much as 27 percent. So the next time you have a cup of coffee or a smoothie, add a tablespoon of cinnamon. You'll love the taste and it might just be good for you!

There are numerous reasons to use cinnamon – far more than a simple dash for your morning tea or coffee. In Ayurveda, nearly every part of the Cinnamon tree – the bark, leaves, roots, fruits and flowers, has some culinary or medicinal benefits.

In Asia, where most people regularly consume dishes rich in spices, the prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases are much lower compared to the US. Such study only suggests that cinnamon and other spices such as ginger, turmeric, garlic and red pepper target certain inflammatory pathways which helps prevent chronic degenerative disease.

Below are some of the potential health benefits of cinnamon powder.

  1. Help control diabetes: Cinnamon is known to help improve fasting blood glucose and glycemic status for people with Type 2 diabetes. In fact, many experts has even thought of cinnamon as a potential insulin substitute due to its bioactive substance that behaves similar to an insulin.
  2. Anti-inflammatory action: cinnamon exhibits anti-inflammatory activity partly due to its cinnamaldehyde content. Chronic inflammation plays a crucial role in the development of different neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, meningitis and even brain tumor, according to a research published in Molecular Biology journal.
  3. Enhance brain function: the scent of cinnamon is believed to boost brain function, according to a research from the Association for Chemoreception Sciences. Participant who chewed cinnamon-flavored gum got improved scores on tests associated with virtual recognition memory, attentional processes, visual-motor response and working memory.
  4. Promotes weight loss: cinnamon may improve insulin sensitivity and reduce glucose concentration in the blood. For obese and overweight individuals, ground cinnamon has been found to be effective in regulating the amount of sugar present in the blood after a meal, also called as post-prandial glucose response.

While there are differences in terms of taste, texture and color between Cassia, Korintje, Ceylon and Saigon cinnamon, the difference when it comes to health benefits are minor. In terms of nutrients, a teaspoon of cinnamon powder contains up to 5 % of the daily recommended allowance for fiber, 16% for manganese, 3% for calcium and 3% for iron.