Cinnamon may be the oldest known spice in the world. In ancient Egypt, it was once valued more than gold. Cinnamon is used in almost all holiday sweets during the fall and winter, but the benefits of cinnamon can be reaped the rest of the year.
Science has confirmed the health benefits of cinnamon as follows:
Antioxidants. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, including polyphenols, which protect the body’s tissues against oxidative stress and associated pathologies such as cancers, coronary heart disease and inflammation.
Protection against heart disease. Cinnamon has been linked to lower blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels and blood sugar in people with metabolic disease.
Benefits of cinnamon for insulin sensitivity
Studies suggest that cinnamon may reduce insulin resistance by increasing sensitivity to this hormone, which can improve blood sugar control.
Protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Some compounds found in cinnamon have an effect on tau, a brain protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In a 2014 study involving mice, cinnamon was protective of neurons and helped improve motor function in mice with Parkinson’s.
Cinnamon has an anti-inflammatory effect
Cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory that blocks the release of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid that causes inflammation, he points out Medical Xpress.
Arachidonic acid can also cause blood to clot.
Benefits of “Real” Cinnamon
Although all cinnamon looks the same, there are two different types: Cassia and Ceylon. Both possess the beneficial qualities described above; however, Cassia cinnamon contains the toxin coumarin, a compound found in some plant species that can be harmful if consumed in large amounts.
Ceylon, also known as “true cinnamon”, originates from Sri Lanka and southern India. Cassia, on the other hand, originated in southern China and is now widely cultivated in southern and eastern Asia. This has a darker red-brown color.
Cassia is the most common cinnamon found in supermarkets and is generally cheaper than Ceylon cinnamon.