Cinnamon has accompanied human culture for millennia. Because the spice is not only a culinary specialty, but cinnamon also holds vast health benefits and is a real remedy.
For skin problems, obesity, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation in the body and other chronic diseases, cinnamon can be an insider tip.
It also speaks to our natural, somatic intelligence that cinnamon, the spice we use to pep up sweet food, is one of the most effective natural remedies for blood sugar problems.
Want to benefit from the numerous health effects of the reddish-brown gold? Learn why cinnamon is healthy, what you need to consider and get great recipes in another article linked a bit further below.
1. What is cinnamon and how is it made?
Cinnamon is an ancient medicinal plant that has accompanied numerous cultures of our history.
The Greeks and Romans used it as a gift to the Gods. The former Chinese and Indian cultures used the spice as medicine.
In Ayurveda, the medicinal plant is used for lung problems, stomach problems, muscle spasms and diabetes.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the reddish-brown gold is also appreciated for its warming effects and used to reduce pain.
We obtain the spice from the bark of the evergreen, tropical cinnamon tree. This serves as a starting point for three possible uses:
1- The cinnamon sticks are particularly popular when the bark is separated from the wood.
2- Cinnamon powder* is best suited for everyday use, but the bark is simply ground.
3- Essential cinnamon oil, which serves as a fragrance and aroma, is still extracted from the production wastes and chips.
2. The best cinnamon variety – Ceylon or Cassia?
Visually, we can hardly distinguish between the two varieties of Ceylon and Cassia. They also come from the same botanical family (Cinnamomum). But only Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum Verum) is considered to be real.
Ceylon cinnamon has a decisive advantage: it contains less coumarin. The secondary plant substance can act as a nerve toxin in high amounts and lead to liver damage. (You can find out more about this in section 4).
In some countries, it is even illegal to call Cassia “cinnamon”. For example, markets can only sell it as “Cassia” in the UK and Australia. They only sell the Ceylon variant as “cinnamon”.
Nonetheless, Cassia still gets one point, because the so-called “Chinese cinnamon” tastes sweeter and spicier than its botanical relative. That is why it is still widely used as a culinary specialty.
Tip: Ceylon is long-lasting when stored in dark places and can be ordered quietly in large quantities. I use cinnamon too, and at one tsp per day, I get to 250 g about 3 months, with 500g 6 months.
3 The ingredients of cinnamon – What makes it so special?
Coumarin is a fat-soluble phytochemical in oriental spice. When it comes to the health effects of the medicinal plant, coumarin is a spoiler. Why? This you will find out in the next section.
Cinnamontaldehyde and other flavorings
Cinnamic aldehyde is extracted from cinnamon oil. Since it smells intensely of red-golden spice, it is mainly used as a fragrance in perfumes, detergents and hygiene products. However, it should not be used in pure form as it can lead to allergic reactions.
Eugenol and other essential oils
Eugenol has a strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. Due to these properties, it is mainly used in dentistry for the treatment of periodontosis.
Other essential oils are used for massages, spas and cosmetic treatments, just to name a few.
Cinnamon is one of the strongest antioxidants in the world! A study has named it one of the most effective anti-inflammatory spices due to its antioxidant properties.
Cinnamon … only at the sight, the water in the mouth converges and one has to think involuntarily of roasted apple, pumpkin soup, cinnamon buns/sticks and other baked goodies.
4 Coumarin – A ticking time bomb?
As already mentioned, coumarin is the bogeyman among the ingredients in our favorite oriental spice. As a secondary plant, coumarin can act as a nerve agent in large quantities. Other risks include cancer or liver damage.
But I want to make the scaremongering more relative. These risks exist only when consuming large quantities and possible having pre-existing conditions.
In moderation (i.e. less than 3 tablespoons a day) coumarin is completely harmless.
Two tips on how to reduce the coumarin content
1- Use Ceylon cinnamon*, which naturally contains less coumarin.
2- Do not consume more than 1 – 2 teaspoons per day, so you are definitely on the safe side
Cassia contains an average of 1% coumarin.
5 Is cinnamon healthy? The effects under the microscope
There are numerous proven health effects, and I summarized the most important effects here for you:
Cinnamon for healthy cells
Cinnamon has a very high ORAC value and is, therefore, one of the healthiest spices in the world. The ORAC value is a unit of measurement used to count the content of radical scavengers per 100 g in food.
Too many free radicals can lead to cell damage and aging and trigger inflammation in the body.
The reason for this superior value is the antioxidants contained. The spice has an ORAC of 240,000, which is gigantic for food. If you season an apple with a pinch of cinnamon, you will quickly triple the ORAC value!
In addition to oregano and clove spice, it is one of the top three spices, according to a study by the University of Zaragoza.
By comparison, a fresh apple has an ORAC of 4,000 and broccoli 3,000.
The daily recommendations are low 3,000 – 5,000 ORAC per day. One teaspoon of cinnamon already delivers 7,000 ORAC. Not bad, right? So a small pinch here and there offers optimal cell protection
Cinnamon for weight loss – A real slimmer?
The natural sweetness makes the spice a delicious addition for numerous dishes. The aroma can, therefore, be a good substitute for sugar.
This allows you to easily save the extra calories, which is why cinnamon is a good aid to assist weight loss and weight control.
In addition, cinnamon has a positive effect on blood sugar levels and suppresses cravings; another reason why cinnamon is suitable for rapid weight loss.
Cinnamon and blood sugar levels
Cinnamon is healthy because the medicinal plant has blood sugar reducing properties. The positive effects can counteract insulin resistance. This makes the reddish-brown gold a good option for prediabetes and diabetes.
Researchers observed a 29% reduction in blood sugar when subjects consumed about 1 tsp of the spice.
It is also a good addition to desserts.
The blood-glucose-lowering effect, limit metabolic derailments. So if you’ve got an appetite for cake, just add a pinch of Ceylon.
Interesting to know: In cinnamon, the keyword somatic intelligence is a good one. Cinnamon and sugar taste great together.
The spice counteracts the blood sugar level increased by sugar. So we have a natural perception that cinnamon acts as a healthy buffer in desserts.
Attention: This does not mean that you are allowed to eat sugar and sweets without limits if you consume cinnamon at the same time.
That’s not the case! However, with occasional exceptions regarding cake and ice cream, you can buffer the negative effects of sugar with cinnamon very well.
Other effects of cinnamon on health
Due to its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, it can improve the skin’s image. The remedy reduces swelling, redness and inflammation of the skin.
Reduced allergy symptoms
Studies have shown that cinnamon has soothing effects on histamine intolerance and chronic allergy syndrome.
A pinch of spice can make food durable. Eugenol and other essential oils have an antibacterial effect. The antioxidants further enhance this effect. One study showed that cinnamon’s fruits last longer. It also reduces the discoloration of aging fruit.
6 Cinnamon in chronic diseases and metabolic syndrome
A journal regarding diabetes published a post in which 30 diabetes patients ate about 5 grams of cinnamon daily. After 40 days, they gathered interesting results: 7-27% less LDL cholesterol; 12-26% less total cholesterol; 23 -30% fewer triglycerides.
Another study in the Journal of Basic Medical Sciences has shown strong health-promoting effects of the medicinal plant on the metabolic syndrome.
We conclude from this that it can, therefore, be an effective cure for high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and even Alzheimer’s.
7 What does cinnamon do in coffee?
Furthermore, the spice is a popular addition to coffee. The aromas of the spice blend well with coffee, as they soften the taste. The natural sweetness counteracts the bitter taste of the coffee.
In addition, you can benefit from the above health effects.
So you can drink your morning cup seasoned with cinnamon. A very tasty and healthy combination also results in dark cocoa and a pinch of stevia. So you have an extra healthy kick!
Here you will find all the details at a glance:
1- Cinnamon can effectively help with many conditions: diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol or allergies. It acts also anti-inflammatory, which is important to avert and prevent chronic diseases.
2- The medicinal plant is a fountain of youth. The many antioxidants protect your cells from damage caused by negative environmental influences.
3- Use the reddish-brown gold as a natural sweetness and aroma if you want to prepare food without carbohydrates.
4- Your food will become more durable with cinnamon, as it has preservative effects.
5- Use Ceylon cinnamon*, as it contains significantly less coumarin. In organic quality, it contains no pollutants.
Cinnamon powder* is an ancient and proven remedy, and tastes great! The spice scores not only as a culinary subtlety but also as a true remedy. Cinnamon health benefits are vast, and in the spirit of living mindful and healthy, you can use the spice every day. One to two tsp per day is a good solution.
Do you love cinnamon? How do you integrate cinnamon into your diet, and do you know any tips you’d like to share with us? If so, then let us know in a comment below. I’m always looking forward to reading from you.
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