- Benefits of Cinnamon
- Most Popular Types of Cinnamon
- Different Forms of Cinnamon You Can Buy
- Ways to Incorporate More Cinnamon Into Your Diet
Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a common spice to have during the holidays, but did you know it also has a lot of health benefits? Cinnamon is not only loaded with vitamins and minerals, but it can be really good for serious illnesses.
Cinnamon Has Lots of Nutrients
Many people are surprised when they learn of all the nutrients from this simple spice. Cinnamon has no fat, protein or sugar, and a small number of calories. It is a good source of fiber, vitamin K, iron, manganese, and calcium. It also has some antioxidant abilities, which as you know helps to fight off certain illnesses and infections. Since the cold and flu are both common during the holiday season, it is good to add to your different snacks and treats during this time of year.
It Can Help With Type 2 Diabetes
There are a lot of medical conditions that cinnamon helps with, and among them is type 2 diabetes. It won’t help to prevent or even cure diabetes, but it can be good at helping to manage the disease. Cinnamon has a positive impact on blood pressure, so by reducing blood pressure, it helps to avoid any complications that are common with this type of diabetes. Cinnamon is also good at reducing insulin resistance, so someone with diabetes might have better blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon is an Anti-Inflammatory
Another important benefit of cinnamon is the fact that it contains excellent anti-inflammatory capabilities. Inflammation can affect many things going on in your body, from arthritis of your joints, to brain function, heart disease, and even cancer. There are flavonoid compounds in cinnamon, which is why they are good at fighting inflammation, particularly dangerous inflammation that leads to cardiovascular issues and serious diseases.
Your Heart Health is Protected
As mentioned already, cinnamon is really good for your cardiovascular health. At any age, it is important to protect your heart and related functions. Whether you are a high risk for heart problems or not, adding a little cinnamon to your diet never hurts. It has a lot of nutrients as well, so this is just an added bonus.
Lowers LDL Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol can have a devastating impact on the health. It can lead to atherosclerosis, which clogs up the arteries, reducing blood flow and increasing the risk of heart disease. Therefore, it’s no wonder health experts stress the need for us to watch our cholesterol levels.
Cinnamon is known to reduce the levels of LDL(bad) cholesterol, while also increasing the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. So, if you’re looking to combat high cholesterol, you’ll want to start adding cinnamon to your daily diet.
So by using this spice you can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which are risks for heart disease. Sprinkle cinnamon on your coffee, have some cinnamon cake for breakfast, or add it to your smoothie and you will benefit from it.
Improves Brain Function
If you’re looking to give your brain a little boost, cinnamon can help. It’s said to improve memory, eliminate nervous tension and boost cognitive function.
So, if you’ve got a test you need to study for, or you’re worried your memory isn’t what it used to be, you may want to start adding cinnamon to your diet.
Superfood That Offers Tons Of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are required by the body to fight off illnesses and combat the damage caused by free radicals. Now, many foods contain antioxidants, but cinnamon has one of the highest contents of any food, including super foods such as garlic.
In particular, it contains polyphenol antioxidants. These are known to help slow down the progression of Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. Put simply, cinnamon is one of the best foods you can add to your daily diet to keep the body healthy.
Beneficial in the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases
There’s been a few studies which have shown cinnamon can have beneficial effects of Neurodegenerative diseases. Perhaps the most common types of these diseases are Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.
It’s reported that cinnamon contains two compounds which are able to prevent the tau protein from building up; a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
However, the studies so far have been conducted on mice with Neurodegenerative diseases so further research is required on humans.
Help Fight Fungal and Bacterial Infections
Cinnamon’s main active ingredient “Cinnamaldehyde”, has the potential to fight a range of infections. Respiratory infections for example, have been known to be treated by cinnamon oil.
It has also shown to have the power to prevent particularly nasty bacteria such as Salmonella and Listeria from developing.
Those suffering from tooth decay and bad breath may also benefit from cinnamon’s antimicrobial effects. For this purpose, cinnamon powder would be most beneficial.
Most Popular Types of Cinnamon
Did you know that there’s actually more than one type of cinnamon? Many people have no idea there’s many different species of cinnamon as it’s often associated as a universal spice.
Each type has a slightly different flavor and they also offer their own unique benefits and potential side effects. Here, you’ll discover the most popular types of cinnamon and the differences between them.
Understanding the Different Types of Cinnamon
There’s a huge amount of different types of cinnamon, but few of them are used for commercial purposes. The most popular types you’re likely to come across either in the grocery or health store, include:
Ceylon has the strongest flavor and scent and tends to be best used for baking. Saigon cinnamon originates from Vietnam and it has a slightly sweeter taste, yet still retains a powerful scent and flavor. Cassia cinnamon is otherwise referred to as Chinese cinnamon and it’s often used in Chinese medicine. Out of the different types, Cassia cinnamon is much poorer quality.
The Saigon, Cassia and Korintje are often grouped together and classified simply as Cassia cinnamon, due to their strong similarities.
Out of the four commercial varieties, Ceylon is the most popular, as well as the most beneficial types available. Referred to as “True Cinnamon”, it’s much softer and more brittle than the others. It also has a lower Coumarin content, which can be potentially dangerous to the health.
What is Coumarin?
Coumarin is a substance which has links to liver damage. All of the Cassia types of cinnamon contain high levels of Coumarin so it’s important to limit your consumption.
Beware of the Dangers of Coumarin
In some cases, Coumarin can lead to total liver failure. It’s for this reason the German Government actually decided to ban the sale of Cassia type cinnamon at one point. Many people are unaware of the dangers these types of cinnamon come with and are drawn to them for their cheaper price.
It is worth noting that if liver damage does occur due to an excessive Coumarin content, experts claim it is reversible. However, with Ceylon cinnamon readily available, it makes sense to avoid the risk entirely and simply opt for this low Coumarin variety.
Know Different Cinnamon Types For Best Results
It’s definitely worth being aware of the different types of cinnamon available. While Cassia varieties tend to be cheaper, they do contain high levels of Coumarin which you need to be wary of. If you’re opting to include cinnamon in your daily diet for its health benefits, you’d be better off sticking to Ceylon cinnamon.
Different Forms of Cinnamon You Can Buy
If you’re looking to gain the health benefits of cinnamon, you may be wondering which form you should be investing in. Did you even know there were different forms available?
When most people think of cinnamon, they think of either the ground or the stick varieties. However, there’s actually numerous different forms available. Below, we’ll look at the various forms on offer and how they’re typically used.
Out of all of the different forms of cinnamon available, cinnamon oil is the one many people have never heard of. It contains a very high antioxidant content which makes it ideal for medical use.
Although classed as an essential oil, it is possible to digest small amounts of cinnamon oil. For example, it can be used in cooking, placed into a cup of tea, or even placed onto the toothbrush. It’s worth noting here that with any of these methods, you’re only using 1-2 drops, so it’s not something you can consume in large quantities.
It’s said to boast many health benefits including the promotion of circulation, it boosts oral health, it acts as a natural aphrodisiac and helps to maintain a healthy immune system.
Cinnamon sticks are pretty common and they can be used in a variety of ways. They’re used to add flavor to foods and drinks and they also release a beautiful aroma.
You can add them to soups, tea, rice and mulled wine for a mouth-watering flavor. Alternatively, they can also be used for non-cooking purposes such as a foot wash. Adding 2-3 cinnamon sticks into hot water is said to relieve conditions such as Athletes foot.
This is potentially the most well-known form of cinnamon and it’s most commonly used in baking. It’s also referred to as ground cinnamon, so if you see “Cinnamon powder” in one store and “Ground Cinnamon” in another, they’re basically the same thing.
Like other forms, the powder can be used for a range of other purposes including a hair mask, a bath powder and even as an ant repellent.
Finally, you’ll come across cinnamon pills. These are basically supplements, designed to give you the health benefits of cinnamon, without the overpowering taste. Compared to other varieties, they’re the easiest to digest.
As you can see, there’s lots of different forms of cinnamon out there and each has its own unique use. When choosing the right form for you, take into account what you’re using the cinnamon for and how you want to use it.
Ways to Incorporate More Cinnamon Into Your Diet
Most people think of Cinnamon in the fall – especially as the holidays start approaching, but it isn’t only a seasonal spice. Plus it’s also very good for you, so adding it to your every day life all year round is a good idea. It is filled with vitamins and minerals.
Not sure how to incorporate cinnamon in your life? Here are some tips to using it in your regular diet.
Top Yogurt or Ice Cream
One of the simplest ways to get more cinnamon into your diet is simply to top some of the foods you will be eating anyway. For example, if you are having some plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, sprinkling a little cinnamon on top adds to the flavor and also increases its nutrition at the same time.
If you are having French vanilla ice cream, you will be amazed by how good cinnamon tastes on top. You can even top some sliced apples with the ice cream and cinnamon, then have a much healthier version of an apple crisp.
Add it To Your Fruit
If you are trying to add more fruit to your diet, cinnamon can definitely motivate you to keep eating more. Many types of fruit taste better with some cinnamon sprinkled on top, including bananas, apples, and pears. These are all frequently found during the holiday season, and will allow you to have a healthy snack with a little bit of a kick.
Put Cinnamon in Your Smoothie
If you like to make smoothies in the morning, add some cinnamon for increased health benefits and a little kick at the same time. Just about any flavor of smoothie will taste good with cinnamon, but particularly more dessert smoothies like those made with peanut butter, honey, or chocolate.
However, even fruit smoothies tastes great with a little cinnamon. You can even sprinkle some cinnamon in your homemade juice after it is done and give it a little stir.
Sprinkle it in Coffee Grounds
Believe it or not, you can sprinkle spices right in your coffee grounds, and it will go through the coffee maker with the grounds, flavoring your coffee. Cinnamon is perfect for this. You will have coffee that tastes like cinnamon without having to add it to each cup later on.
You might think of cinnamon in the fall and winter season, but as you read above there are several ways to add more cinnamon to your daily diet to get all the benefits it offers. Cinnamon is one of those spices that sits in your cupboard and is only taken out during the holidays and when you’ve got a recipe that uses it. Don’t do that to this spice that adds so much to your life.