Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark. It is used in both sweet and spicy foods. The term ‘cinnamon’ also refers to the mid-brown color of the spice.
It was used from ancient times for its medicinal properties. It is also used as a condiment to flavor different cuisines. Cinnamon contains compound cinnamaldehyde, which gives a distinct smell and flavor. This compound is also responsible for the benefits of cinnamon on health and metabolism.
There are two varieties of cinnamon:
1. Ceylon ( also called true cinnamon)
2. Cassia cinnamon
It is better to use Ceylon cinnamon because it contains less coumarin than Cassia. Coumarins are damaging to the liver if consumed in high amounts.
Cinnamon has anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant properties. It is beneficial to treat muscle spasms, diarrhea, stomach infections, diabetes, common cold, brain disorders. It also maintains dental health and has been used as a food preservative and odor neutralizer.
Per 100 gm contains:
- Carbohydrates – 6.2g
- Dietary fiber – 4.1g
- Omega-3 fatty acid – 3.4g
- Omega-6 fatty acid – 3.4mg
- Protein – 0.3mg
- Vitamin A – 22.9 IU
- Vitamin C – 0.3mg
- Vitamin K – 2.4mg
- Vitamin E – 0.2mg
- Calcium – 77.7mg
- Magnesium – 4.7mg
- Potassium – 33.4mg
- Manganese – 1.4mg
- Water – 0.8g
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
1. Treats Diabetes
Cinnamon can reduce blood pressure and insulin resistance. Diabetes occurs when body loose the ability to manage sugar (glucose) entering the blood stream.
cinnamon acts by blocking the enzyme alanines which make glucose be absorbed into the blood. it works directly on the muscle cells, forcing them to remove sugar from the bloodstream. this property of cinnamon is helpful in treating type 2 diabetes.
2. Acts as Antioxidant
The antioxidants destroy free radicals present in the body that causes oxidative damage. Cinnamon has powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols, phenolic acid, and flavonoids.
It is proved to be higher in antioxidants than any other herb and spices. The antioxidants in cinnamon reduce many forms of oxidative stress, which reduce the chances of brain disorders, cancer, heart diseases, skin problems.
3. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Cinnamon reduces high blood pressure and increases blood circulation. It helps to reduce LDL which is “bad” cholesterol and stabilize HDL i.e. “good” cholesterol.
The increased blood circulation helps body tissue’s to repair quickly. This also includes heart tissue regeneration, which fights heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.
4. Strong Bones
Cinnamon is rich in calcium and manganese, which is responsible for maintaining bone health, strengthening bones, their growth, and repair. The anti-oxidants,minerals, vitamins present in cinnamon all combine to strengthen the bones.
5. Anti-bacterial and anti-microbial
Cinnamon is a natural anti-microbial and antibiotic. The cinnamon oil acts as an immunity booster. Cinnamon helps to fight harmful bacterial infections in the stomach or on the skin which cause flu or cold.
6. Prevents Brain disorders
Cinnamon’s antioxidant properties help to defend brain disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. It functions by activating the neuroprotective proteins that protect brain cells from morphing, mutation and undergoing damage.
The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon help to reduce the effects of aging on the body and brain.
7. Help to Lose Weight
Cinnamon lowers the level of sugar in the blood, which helps to reduce weight. It also speeds up metabolism . This helps to burn calories in a short period of time.
Cinnamon is good in fiber content and is fat-free, thus help you to get good body shape.
8. Treats common cold
The antioxidants and antibacterial properties of cinnamon help treating the common cold by destroying the harmful bacteria. This increases the oxygen content , which warms up the body providing relief.
9. Anti- inflammatory
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory effects, which is effective in treating pain, swelling, muscle soreness, allergic reactions. This also helps to lower the risk of heart disease,tumor formation, the brain disorder. The flavonoids present in cinnamon are effective in treating inflammation. it has also been long used to treat arthritis.
10. Fights Cancer
The antioxidant properties of cinnamon protect against DNA damage and cancerous tumor growth. the compound cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon inhibits tumor growth and protect DNA from damage.
11. Manage PCOS
Polycystic ovarian Syndrome is a condition when women develop cysts in their ovaries. this is due to hormone imbalance of estrogen or progesterone. This leads to weight gain, thin hair, pain in pelvic regions.
Cinnamon cannot eradicate PCOS but help to manage and control the risk of PCOS. The insulin resistance property helps to control weight gain. It also helps to maintain the hormone levels in the body.
12. Acts as insect repellent
Cinnamon acts as a natural insect repellent. the smell of cinnamon is effective in killing mosquitoes larvae and keeps away adult mosquitoes, flies, and bugs.
13. Fights HIV
Cinnamon has antiviral properties which combat viruses. It prevents the virus from entering cells thus helps to fight HIV virus. it acts as immunity booster which helps in combating the virus.
cinnamon should be used as a side treatment for HIV, not the sole treatment. It may help to treat virus but cannot eradicate whole.
14. Treats irritable bowel syndrome
IBS is the infection in the large intestine which leads to diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating. cinnamon helps to kill harmful bacterias present in the intestine that causes infection and keeps protected from other infections and promote smooth gastrointestinal tract.
Cinnamon increases the shelf life of food by acting as a natural preserving agent. It inhibits the growth of bacteria, molds on food which destroy it. It also acts as anti- fungal agent because of eugenol, inhibiting the growth of fungi on food.
16. Combats bad odors
Cinnamon can be used in homes as a freshener. The sweet, spicy aroma neutralize the bad odor of home, making it scented. the antibacterial properties kill bacteria present in surroundings making it germ-free and fresh.
Cinnamon’s anti-fungal properties may be helpful in curing yeast infection ‘Candida’ overgrowth in the digestive tract. The yeast that causes candida also can infect toenails and can cause rashes on the skin. the cinnamon oil contains eugenol, which has anti-fungal properties.
18. Mood enhancer
The feeling of depression, stress, sluggishness can be overcome by cinnamon. The freshness and sweet spicy scent acts as a stress reliever and enhances the mood. It also improves your sex drive and libido.
19. Mouth Cleaner
The bacterias that cause bad breath, tooth decay, cavities, or mouth infections are killed by cinnamon acting as natural and antibacterial mouthwash. cinnamon has mouth refreshing abilities which naturally remove bad breath. The calcium and vitamin A present in cinnamon help to make teeth strong, healthy and infection free. this is the reason why cinnamon is used from olden times as tooth powder.
20. Maintaining Healthy Skin
The antibiotic properties of cinnamon protect skin from irritations, acne, rashes,eczema, allergic reactions, and infections. it promotes collagen formation which gives skin younger look. it also improves blood circulation, that improves oxygen content in the blood which makes skin look younger. You can use cinnamon as a scrub or apply cinnamon oil to enjoy beautiful skin.
Tips to incorporate cinnamon into your diet
It is advised to use Ceylon cinnamon as it contains less coumarin. you can use cinnamon as tooth powder or as a scrub for your skin. Well, cinnamon goes with every cuisine if you want to enhance the taste by making it sweet and spicy. Here are some tips to incorporate it into your diet.
You can cinnamon to milk along with turmeric and honey and enjoy the refreshing drink.
You can add cinnamon to your pumpkin pies, apple pies, doughnuts, cookies, sauces, muffins, salads.
You can add cinnamon to toast fillings and enjoy the cinnamon toast or can sprinkle it with honey over toast.
You can cinnamon to your pasta, nachos or any dish if you want to enjoy the spicy sweet taste. it automatically enhances the taste making them delicious.
You can include it in your tomato soups, oatmeal, curries.
Cinnamon is safe if used in fewer amounts. If you overdose Ceylon cinnamon it can also lead to harmful effects.
1. In the cases of pregnancy or breastfeeding, it is not advised to take cinnamon in large amounts.
2. Test the oil before using on your skin. sometimes it may be not suitable for your skin and can cause allergies.
3. do not overdose cinnamon in the case of diabetes, liver disease. It may lead to much lowering of the blood pressure which could be detrimental.
4. Always seek advice from the doctor before using cinnamon, especially if you are under medical supervision.