The health benefits of cinnamon are sweeter than that plate of snickerdoodle cookies your grandma use to make. In fact it has been used as a medicine the world over for thousands of years dating back to as early as 2700 BC. Here we will look at the health benefits of cinnamon and discover how much of a super spice it actually is. We will also look at the nutritional value and other common uses of this popular spice.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
There are two types of cinnamon available each coming from different areas of the world. Cassia is the most common and is more widely available. This is the one you will find at most grocery stores. It comes from China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Ceylon is slightly sweeter and has a more delicate flavor. It comes from Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean. Ceylon cinnamon also tends to be more expensive and harder to find.
The main distinction between the two types of cinnamon is a chemical called coumarin. Coumarin is a natural plant chemical that acts as a blood thinner and is found in a higher concentration in the Cassia variety. Since Cassia has such a high concentrate of coumarin, the majority of studies have been on this type. They should not be consumed regularly by anyone taking prescription blood thinners.
The list of health benefits is growing every year as more and more research is being conducted. Previous research has found that cinnamon provides health benefits for the following medical issues.
- Cinnamon can lower blood sugar
- It can fight yeast infections
- Cinnamon can help reduce inflammation
- It also helps lower cholesterol
- Cinnamon contains antioxidants such as polyphenols
- It can alleviate the symptoms of respiratory infections
- It can also act as a mild pain reliever
- Cinnamon helps improve triglyceride levels
More recent research has uncovered the following possible health benefits of the Ceylon variety. Bear in mind that these are just preliminary studies, and more research is necessary to prove how effective cinnamon is in these cases.
- Cinnamon may inhibit the breakdown of bones
- It can alleviate some of the symptoms of gastric ulcers, due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
- It may inhibit two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease
- Cinnamon may work as anti-parasitic and anti-microbial remedy
Cinnamon Nutritional Value
What is the nutritional value of cinnamon? We rarely consider the nutritional value of spices. However, even in small quantities, cinnamon can provide you with a variety of essential nutrients and vital substances.
Two teaspoons of cinnamon contain:
- 1g protein
- 2g dietary fiber
- 8g carbohydrates
- 52mg calcium
- 13 calories
Cinnamon’s flavor makes it one of the most sought after spices on the shelf. It’s easy to add it to the foods you already eat. Below are a few quick recipes you can share.
- Add 1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons to hot oatmeal, cold cereal, or to pancake batter
- Mix 1/2 teaspoon into 2 tablespoons peanut butter and eat with celery sticks
- Mix 1/2 teaspoon with plain yogurt
- Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon over vegetables like sweet potatoes
- Add 2 teaspoons to your favorite meat rub
- Mix 1/2 teaspoon with 2 cups of raw nuts and 1/4 cup honey then roast at 350F for 15 minutes
- Shake into a smoothie
- Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon into your coffee, tea, or latte
We all love the flavor boost it brings to the foods we enjoy. But it also has some surprising health benefits. Did you know that putting it in tea helps boost brain activity? In addition you can also consider using it around the house. Here are some of the lesser known uses of cinnamon:
Athlete’s Foot: Make a foot soak by boiling water and adding a few sticks. Soak your feet for a few minutes every night until gone.
Ant Repellant: Sprinkle some along windowsills to deter ants. Replace it if it gets wet.
Enhance a Wreath: With a hot glue gun, add a few sticks to your favorite wreath. It will fill the room with a holiday aroma.
Potpourri: Add a few sticks to your potpourri.
Moth Repellant: Break 3-4 sticks and mix with 1/2 cup of whole cloves and 1/2 cup whole black peppercorns. Place 1 tablespoon in each sachet and toss the sachets in your clothes drawers or hang them in your closets.
Insect Bite: Mix with honey and apply to a skin irritation. It will help to alleviate the pain and itching. It also disinfects the area and provides moisture to help it heal. Now you have a natural remedy without chemicals!
Breath Freshener: Its fresh and fragrant aroma is perfect for fighting bad breath. You can chew on small pieces of bark or gargle some in cinnamon-infused water, which acts as a natural, home-made mouthwash.
Leftover Preservative: Placing a few teaspoons in casseroles and other dishes will inhibit the growth of bacteria in leftovers beyond the usual four days.
Stress Relief: Put several sticks around your house or boil several sticks in water. The cinnamon aroma has been proven to reduce stress. If you are out and about, you can chew on cinnamon-flavored gum to promote a calm mood.
Fight Acne: Mix with two teaspoons of honey and place on your face. Leave on the affected areas for a couple of hours then rinse off.
Fight Hair Loss: Mix two tablespoons with honey into a half cup of warm olive oil. Mix in one egg to thicken. Comb it through wet hair and let set for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse then wash with your regular shampoo.
As you can see, it is very versatile and has a wide variety of uses from health benefits to refreshing the air in your home, office or car. If you plan on trying it for possible health benefits, please consult your physician first. We also encourage you to share your ideas and experiences with us.