Cinnamon is a popular spice in our households. The flavor of cinnamon adds a soothing effect to the food. Not just the essence of the spice is incredible, the health benefits of cinnamon are huge. There are two types of cinnamon – Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. Ceylon is known as the ‘true’ cinnamon as well. The more common variety used by people in general today is basically the Cassia cinnamon.
Cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin. This is known to be harmful in large doses. Ceylon cinnamon has much lower coumarin compared to the Cassia variety. Certainly, in terms of health benefits, Ceylon is much better in this regard.
Overall the health benefits of Cinnamon are huge.
1. Cinnamon is high in cinnamaldehyde and that is believed to be responsible for most of cinnamon’s health benefits. It has been used as a rare and valuable ingredient in history and was also regarded as an effective component used by the kings to remain fit. Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of cinnamon trees and smell and flavor of cinnamon come from the oily part. That particular part is rich with the compound cinnamaldehyde. In fact, most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and metabolism come from the oily part.
2. Cinnamon contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants. it is so powerful that it can be taken as a natural food preservative. It obviously protects your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
3. The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects. This often reduces the risk of disease. We all know how important Inflammation is and it helps body fight infections and also repairs tissue damage.
4. Cinnamaldehyde has antifungal and antibacterial properties as well. These can reduce infections and help fight tooth decay and bad breath.
5. The most common cause of death in the world is heart disease and that can be prevented with the use of Cinnamon. It is medically proven to improve key risk factors for heart disease and blood pressure.
6. Cinnamon also reduces levels of total cholesterol- “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. On the other hand, the “good” HDL cholesterol remains constant.
7. Cinnamon significantly increases sensitivity to the hormone insulin. It is known as key hormone that helps in regulating metabolism and energy use.
8. It reduces fasting blood sugar levels. It has a potent anti-diabetic effect at 1–6 grams or 0.5–2 teaspoons per day that lowers the sugar level.
9. It is effective for a disease like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in animal studied. However, Cinnamon’s effectiveness in Neurodegenerative diseases in human is yet to be studied.
10. Animal studies suggest that cinnamon may have protective effects against cancer. But this needs to be studied in depth.