With its sweet-smelling woody aroma and equally sweet pungent taste, cinnamon is indeed easily one of the most highly delicious spices around. Mostly used in baking (and in savory dishes at times), we don’t often think about what other things cinnamons can really offer apart from their already given good taste. But what’s actually true about cinnamons is that they do not only have a wide history as spices, but they are also equipped with a long history as sources of medicine to certain illnesses.
Now being majorly used as a flavoring to donuts and buns, we aren’t necessarily geared with the knowledge about the health benefits of cinnamon. Loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, the health benefits of cinnamon are quite extensive, from helping in promoting better skin up to aiding in managing complex diseases like diabetes, cancer, and HIV. This list offers ten of the major health benefits of cinnamon, and why this pantry staple spice is also a medicinal superstar.
Some of the Health Benefits of Cinnamon
1. Helps manage arthritis
Cinnamons have been evidenced to manage the levels of insulin in the body – which means that arthritis, proven related with several metabolic health disorders including diabetes and high cholesterol levels – can also be managed by these spices. Some proponents of cinnamon take two teaspoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder to cure even chronic arthritis on a daily basis. Notably, according to research, cinnamon is a useful treatment in arthritis as it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
2. Promotes better skin
Acne can be cleared through the anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits of cinnamon. When combined with honey, cinnamon can be at its best to clear acne breakouts. Apart from bestowing an acne-clear face, cinnamon has been proven to promote younger-looking skin. Some proponents claim that exfoliating the skin with cinnamon paste can help bring in new collagen, thus helping lessen lines and wrinkles.
3. Helps protect oral health
Cinnamon can help address halitosis or bad breath due to its power to kill oral bacteria. The spice has been used for several years to fight oral bacteria and treat dental problems – acting up as a natural antibacterial mouthwash. Some proponents mix cinnamon with honey to rub it on the gums to clean the teeth, while some put cinnamon sticks in warm water to drink for a fresher breath.
4. Cuts the risk of heart disease
Cinnamon can lessen one’s levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – which is the ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body. More importantly, it keeps the high-density lipoproteins or the ‘good’ cholesterol that the body needs, stable. This will then be very helpful in preventing atherosclerosis and heart disease.
5. Helps prevent diabetes
Cinnamon helps manage Type 2 diabetes in particular. With its blood-sugar-lowering properties, the famous spice can reduce blood pressure and have a good effect on blood markers for those with this particular kind of diabetes. This is because of the cinnamon’s ability to decrease the amount of glucose which comes in the bloodstream after eating.
6. Helps in weight management
Losing weight, although generally dependent upon one’s decision to embrace a healthy diet, can be done with the help of cinnamon. Weight can be managed well with cinnamon as it has the ability to regulate blood sugar levels by keeping one in control of his or her appetite, minifying the glucose amount in the bloodstream. Cinnamon makes one feel fuller for a longer time, thus making a person not overeat.
7. May combat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
According to a study in mice, cinnamon is geared with the ability to normalize neurotransmitter levels, protect neurons, and improve motor function – thus answering to Neurodegenerative diseases like the Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. While it needs follow-up research and study in humans, cinnamon is loaded with manganese, which is essential for optimal brain and nerve function.
8. May Protect Against Cancer
Cinnamon may have anti-carcinogenic effects according to evidence; however, researches have been limited to animal studies. A study in mice with colon cancer revealed that the spice is a powerful activator of detoxifying enzymes in the colon, which helps in minimizing risks of cancer growth. Despite the lack of study in humans, it is widely known that cinnamon is an excellent source of fiber and calcium. Both calcium and fiber can help remove bile salts from the body. With this process, fiber can prevent the damage that some bile salts cause on colon cells, thus cutting the risk of colon cancer.
9. Helps manage PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the condition which affects women’s menstrual periods and which makes it harder for them to get pregnant, can be managed by cinnamon by lessening heavy menstrual bleeding associated with common conditions of female health. These conditions include endometriosis (the disorder in which tissue called endometrium grows abnormally outside the uterus), menorrhagia (the abnormally heavy bleeding at menstruation), and uterine fibroids (benign lumps that grow on the uterus). Cinnamon has been seen to diminish insulin resistance, which is the number one cause for PCOS, to begin with.
9. May help fight HIV
There are varieties of cinnamon, and cinnamon extracted from Cassia varieties is believed to help fight against HIV-1 according to a study in India which looked at some HIV-infected cells. Although human trials are needed to confirm these effects, the study found a significant finding that some extracts of cinnamon that is rich in flavonoids have been able to block HIV from entering and infecting certain cells.
With all these findings, cinnamon is indeed one of the most delightful and healthiest spices available. Other minor health benefits of cinnamon include its ability to help treat some types of fungal infections like candida (a genus of yeast which can be found on the skin, in the intestines, and in mucous membranes). This has been made possible due to cinnamaldehyde, one of the main components found in cinnamon. It has also been evidenced that cinnamon has the ability to eradicate Listeria and Salmonella. Notably, cinnamon can also promote wound healing due to its antimicrobial compounds.