5 Surprising Reasons Why Cinnamon Is Amazing
Cinnamon, due to its exotic flavour and aroma, is a key ingredient in the kitchen of every home. Its use can be back dated to 2800 BC. Our ancestors used it for various purposes such as anointment, embalming and various ailments, and this has instigated the interest of many researchers over time. Most recently many trials have explored the beneficial effects of cinnamon in Parkinsons, diabetes, blood, and the brain.
Bit of history…
The use of cinnamon goes back to roughly 2800 BC where it was initially referred to as “Kwai” in Chinese language. It is mentioned in the Bible, referring that Moses used it as an ointment and The Romans used it for its medicinal properties for ailment of the digestive and respiratory tract.
Cinnamon is exported as cinnamon quills from four main countries: Indonesia, China, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. The quills are made by pealing the bark and then rolling it into pipes.
This exotic spice is a rich source of magnesium, iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamins C and B1.
Over time there has been many suggestions as to cinnamon’s amazing health benefits. However, a lot of these trials have either come up with conflicting data or their results were too insignificant to publish.
Because I enjoy reading through scholar articles, I have attempted to sift through the internet’s pool of ‘garbage’ and find out what the true evidence says.
I have complied a list for you below, with some added addition’s of some more ‘fun facts’ and some of my own personal opinions.
Ps. I love cinnamon.
#1.Cinnamon In Diabetes
Insulin is one of the key hormones that regulate metabolism and energy use.
It is also essential for the transport of blood sugar from the bloodstream and into cells.
The problem is that many people are resistant to the effects of insulin.
This condition, known as insulin resistance, is a hallmark of serious conditions like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
When you eat more than your body needs, the pancreas overcompensates to produce more insulin. That extra insulin tells your body there’s a lot more energy available for it. But once your energy needs are met, the insulin stores all the extra glucose, or sugars, in your body for use later.
The role of cinnamon in regulating the glucose levels in the body has been implied in numerous small randomized control trials.
10 randomized controlled trials including 543 patients has established that cinnamon, when taken in a dose of 120 mg/day to 6 g/day for approximately 4 months leads to a statistical decrease in levels of fasting plasma glucose along with an improvement in the lipid profile.
Meaning, that cinnamon can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, helping this incredibly important hormone to do its job. By helping insulin do its job, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels.
So this right here ^^ is the main reason why I have a love affair with cinnamon. Because it helps to regulate insulin levels, causing them to ‘flatine’, means you’re less likely to reach for the sweet stuff than when they’re spiking all over the place. I highly recommend cinnamon if clients ask me about their sugar cravings.
#2. Cinnamon is Loaded With Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols.
In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon wound up as the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano.
In fact, it is so powerful that cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative.
This anti-oxidant effect has also been recently extended to its application in liver disorders.
#3. Cinnamon Is A Cognition Enhancer
This point in particular hits close to home for me, I found it most insightful, as will my mum too I’m sure. (Yes my lovely mum reads my blog!) My beloved Grandad has not too long ago been diagnosed with advancing Alzheimer’s. I already find the effects food has on the brain and certain diseases extremely intriguing, and this has just spiked my interest even more!
A novel study evaluated the effect of lyophilized extract of CZ bark (LCZE) on dementia in rodents. It was concluded that the treated group performed better in the water maze and had improved discrimination between a familiar and a new object in case of object recognition.
Cinnamon contains phytochemicals which boost the brains ability to utilize glucose. This has even been illustrated by the decrease in markers of oxidative stress like malondialdehyde (MDA) in rats pretreated with extract of CZ in Scopolamine treated rats. Its ability to improve insulin resistance also constitutes an important mechanism, whereby it limits the Alzheimer induced changes in the brain as well as modulates the brain insulin signaling.
#4. Cinnamon Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects
We all know Inflammation in the body is incredibly important. It helps the body fight infections and repair tissue damage. However, inflammation can become a problem when it is chronic (long-term) and directed against the body’s own tissues.
Studies show that the antioxidants in cinnamon have potent anti-inflammatory activity.
#5. Cinnamon and Blood Pressure
Though the effect of cinnamon has been extensively researched with respect to diabetes, little work has been done regarding its role in maintenance of BP. A systemic review done of three studies have suggested that cinnamon can cause a significant fall in systolic as well as diastolic BP though the precise mechanism remains to be determined.
Another study done on 59 subjects, suggests that the dietary supplementation with cinnamon can lead to significant fall in systolic BP.
Some more fun facts!
- Drinking cinnamon tea can help control the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, regulate blood sugar and curb those sugar cravings after a meal.
- Cinnamon is also a natural antimicrobial, which means you can sprinkle it on minor scrapes and cuts to speed up healing. Just clean the wound first and sprinkle a small amount on top.
- Just as cinnamon can plump our lips and help with those fine lines, it can also stimulate our scalp! Try giving your hair a cinnamon masque every week, mixing the cinnamon with honey and olive or coconut oil. Do not worry if your scalp tingles a bit — that shows it’s working!
- Cinnamon, surprisingly, is great for fighting acne. It can be found in a lot of face masks that help rid the skin of breakouts.
- It fights the common cold and flu. When flu season arrives, cinnamon tea can be one of your best allies.