If you ask someone, surely they know what cinnamon is, right? Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices in the world. It’s used mainly in cooking to flavor desserts, cappuccino, ice cream, candy, chewing gum, sauces, and many other dishes. It can also be used as arometherapy in candles and essential oils, for example. It has been used for centuries by many civilazations for medicinal as well as cooking purposes. Even with all this history, I bet most people don’t know some of the more important health benefits cinnamon has to offer.
The Scent of Cinnamon
Most people might be surprised, but, simply by smelling cinnamon, the body shows improved cognative function. According to InDepthInfo.com, “[o]ne study showed that just by smelling cinnamon or chewing cinnamon flavored gum, participants showed improved attention, working memory, virtual recognition memory, and motor speed.”
Cinnamon contains an agent that has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets. Platelets are components of blood that are supposed to clump together under emergency circumstances as a way to stop bleeding, for example, after a cut. Under normal conditions, they can make blood flow inadequate if they clump together too much. The cinnaldehyde in cinnamon helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets, thus keeping the blood thin and enabling it to pump and move freely throughout the veins and arteries.
Cinnamon’s Anti-Microbial Properties
Cinnamon’s essential oils also qualify it as an “anti-microbial” food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including yeasts. Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives, with similar results to those when using salt to preserve foods or artificial preservatives.
Cinnamon Can Help Regulate Blood-Sugar
Compounds in cinnamon stimulate insulin receptors and also increase cells’ ability to use glucose. According to MonumentalMassage.com, “consuming as little as 1 gram of cinnamon per day was found to reduce blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol, in a study published in the December 2003 issue of Diabetes Care.” Recent studies show that cinnamon enhances insulin signaling and can prevent insulin resistance, even to those who eat a diet high in certain types of sugars.
And Even More about Cinnamon…
MonumentalMassage.com states that “cinnamon is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese and a very good source of dietary fiber, iron and calcium.” Calcium and fiber in cinnamon is important and can be helpful for the prevention of several different conditions. The site also points out that “[b]oth calcium and fiber can bind to bile salts and help remove them from the body. By removing bile, fiber helps to prevent the damage that certain bile salts can cause to colon cells, thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer. In addition, when bile is removed by fiber, the body must break down cholesterol in order to make new bile. This process can help to lower high cholesterol levels, which can be helpful in preventing atherosclerosis and heart disease.” Because cinnamon contains a significant amount of fiber, it can help provide relief from constipation, and can help regulate the digestive system as well. Cinnamon was even once thought to cure the common cold. It’s been valued for ages in cultures such as Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Cinnamon is very well-known around the world. People have been using cinnamon for thousands of years for many purposes. It’s commonly used for culinary purposes, but there are many health benefits to cinnamon as well as it’s interesting flavor. Obviously, it’s a very versatile spice that has so many purposes and benefits!
“Health Benefits: Cinnamon”
Monumental Massage, “The Health Benefits of Cinnamon”
All About Cinnamon/Health Benefits of Cinnamon
All About Cinnamon/History of Cinnamon