health benefits of cinnamon

The health benefits of cinnamon, that simple spice you keep in your cupboard, just start stacking up. It really is astounding how many benefits cinnamon has.

What is cinnamon? Cinnamon is the peeled inner bark obtained from several tree species related to the genus Cinnamomum. Due to its exotic flavor and aroma, cinnamon is a key ingredient in the kitchen of every household.

Cinnamon has always been highly treasured. The search for cinnamon led to a world exploration and was behind Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the new world.

It has been a cooking spice known throughout the ages and traded for centuries. And along the way, cinnamon has also been used for its medicinal qualities as well.

In modern times, there have been many studies on the amazing health benefits of cinnamon, and it is proving to be a remarkable spice.

!! Hey, don’t miss our note at the end of this post about cinnamon and liver toxicity and which type of cinnamon is the best if you wish to supplement with it on a daily basis.

 

#1 Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants

Cinnamon ranks as one of the foods with the highest levels of antioxidants. It is piled with polyphenols and other antioxidants. How do we know this?

A database which was formerly published by the USDA in May 2010 but taken down in 2012, contains 326 different food sources measured for their antioxidant amount. This data uses the ORAC assay system. Cinnamon ranks # 7 with an ORAC of 146590.

Check out the ORAC database here.

The antioxidants in cinnamon don’t just compare to blueberries or pomegranate juice or other superfoods with ORAC scores of 9621 and 2681 respectively – it ranks as one of the highest sources of antioxidants we can get naturally through foods.

Another study on foods and antioxidant content showed that of the 50 food products highest in antioxidant concentrations, 13 were spices. Interestingly, oregano ranked #2, ginger ranked #3, cinnamon ranked #4, and turmeric ranked #5.

The antioxidant property is due to the eugenol component and the oil is said to form a phosphomolybdenum complex which is responsible for its antioxidant activity. [study]

We are just beginning to realize how important antioxidants are and how they protect us from free radical damage in our bodies. The antioxidants in cinnamon probably account for many of the other amazing benefits that cinnamon has.

#2 Anti inflammatory benefit of cinnamon

Cinnamon can contain compounds in various levels such as caryophyllene oxide, eugenol, L-borneol which possess anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies were done on rats and determined that cinnamon contained anti-inflammatory effects.

#3 Cinnamon can reduce the risk of heart disease

Cinnamon helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack through a combination of different factors..

It allows good HDL cholesterol levels to remain stable while reducing levels of bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. And a recent study showed that even small doses of cinnamon can produce this effect.

Another study even demonstrated that cinnamon can raise the good HDL cholesterol levels.

In some animal studies, it has been shown that cinnamon can lower blood pressure, and it is thought this same process works on humans as well.

The active components of cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid are said to be cardio protective due to their ability to produce nitric oxide. This was shown in a different study on heart disease and rats.

#4 Anti microbial benefits of cinnamon.

The antimicrobial health benefit of of cinnamon has been well known for thousands of years. It was used in Roman funerals in order to fend off the odor of dead bodies. It was also used in Egypt for the embalming of mummies.

Cinnamon has also been used for preserving foods through out the years.

Bioactive phytochemicals such as cinnamaldehyde and eugenol are responsible for the antibacterial activity of cinnamon. It has also been shown to be effective in treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection.

Cinnamaldehyde can inhibit the growth of Listeria and Escherichia coli in food products and can extend their shelf life.

The cinnamon oil possesses antimicrobial properties and is effective in studies against Staphylococcus and many types of fungi. (including Candida)

#5 Cinnamon fights diabetes & reduces insulin resistance

A review of 10 randomized controlled trials established that cinnamon can decrease levels of fasting plasma glucose along with an improvement in the lipid profile. This when taken in a dose of 120 mg to 6 g per day for 4 months.

Cinnamon has been studied for its role in improving the sensitivity of cells and tissues to insulin and its ability to mimic insulin. It can play a significant role in the improvement of insulin resistance by the enhancement of insulin sensitive glucose transporters. It has been demonstrated that exposure to cinnamon water extracts can contribute to its role in combating insulin resistance.

12 health benefits of cinnamon

#6 Cinnamon fights neurological disorders & has neurotropic factors

Sodium benzoate (NaB) increases the production of neurotrophic factors in the brain and cinnamon is metabolized into sodium benzoate in the liver. The obvious conclusion is that cinnamon can improve brain function.

There are phytochemicals in cinnamon that help the brain to utilize glucose. Another way cinnamon improves brain function.

In addition, the brain is highly susceptible to oxidative stress due to its high oxygen consumption and lipid-rich tissues. Rats treated with extract of cinnamon resulted in a decrease in markers of oxidative stress, also a fundamental cause of insulin resistance.

The ability of cinnamon to reduce insulin resistance plays an important role in limiting Alzheimer induced changes in the brain.

 

#7 Lowers cancer risk benefit of cinnamon

Cinnamon reduces the growth of cancer cells.

And cinnamon reduces the formation of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow. This reduction in blood vessels is called antiangiogenesis.

In addition, cinnamon appears to be toxic to cancer cells causing tumor cell death.

Many studies have shown the above effects. One animal study suggested that cinnamon can inhibit the survival and growth of new tumor cells without having an effect on the normal cells. This same effect was found to contribute to tumor cell death.

In another study, cinnamon and cardamon were both shown to increase the level of detoxifying enzymes, which are important in the detoxification metabolism in the intestine. These spices also decreased lipid peroxidation levels or the oxidative degradation of lipids. Lipid peroxidation is the process in which free radicals take electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, thereby resulting in cell damage.

Extensive research has been done on the effect of cinnamon on melanoma cells. Cinnamon impeded the growth of blood vessels needed for tumors to grow and increased the activity of T cells that search out and destroy tumor cells.

#8 Cinnamon is anti fungal & combats candida

We learned earlier that the cinnamaldehyde component of cinnamon is responsible for its anti-microbial activity. The oil containing cinnamaldehyde is effective against fungi like aspergillus flavus, mucor plumbeus and yeast species such as candida lipolytica.

Candida albicans, the fungus which causes most vaginal yeast infections, can be destroyed by cinnamon. Cinnamon oil, especially combined with pogostemon oil, had strong anti-fungal properties against many types of candida including: candida albicans, candida tropicalis, and candida krusei.

In studies, the structures of the fungus were impacted withing 48 to 72 hours and eventually killed the fungus. Complexes containing cinnamon oil also have shown to have curative effects on intestinal candida infections.

#9 Prebiotic health benefit of cinnamon

Another unexpected health benefit of cinnamon is that it is an effective prebiotic.

Evidence has shown that some spices have prebiotic properties. This means that the spice promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Cinnamon was one of those spices that was demonstrated to be a prebiotic. [study]

Consuming cinnamon regularly may help improve your intestinal microbiome, by not only acting as a prebiotic and promoting the growth of good gut bacteria, but by also killing off the bad gut bacteria.

#10 Cinnamon promotes healthy skin & fights acne

Cinnamon can help heal acne because of its anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties. Topical use of cinnamon, especially dried and ground, can help to reduce the inflammation caused by microbial activity. In addition, cinnamon can help to promote blood flow and can help dry out the affected area.

These same qualities of cinnamon that help treat acne along with the antioxidants in this spice can also support healthy skin. There are several good recipes that can be found for facial applications.

#11 Cinnamon helps with allergies

There was a study involving cinnamon bark extract and its affect on allergies and nasal congestion.

The cinnamon extract was sprayed into each nostril by participants 2 times each day. There was a control group who received only a placebo. Compared to the control group, the participants receiving the cinnamon extract over 4 weeks experienced:

26.7% decrease in non-hay fever symptoms
40.2% decrease in nasal symptoms 33.4% decrease in eye symptoms

#12 Cinnamon freshens breath & promotes dental health

We know that cinnamon is anti microbial and anti bacterial. It is no wonder that cinnamon is good at fighting bad breath because the oils kill the bad bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath.

And most people think cinnamon has a wonderful scent that helps with breath odor as well.

In addition, cinnamon can help to control bad bacteria in the mouth the same way that is can helps to reduce bad bacteria in the gut. These bad bacteria are responsible for gum disease and tooth decay.

Wrap up…

We bet you never imagined that cinnamon was so beneficial for your health. It is no wonder that this everyday spice was so prized throughout the centuries. And it smells and tastes incredible.

Be careful with daily supplementation. Here is why…

There are a few types of cinnamon. Cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin in which your liver has to process. High levels of coumarin can be toxic to your liver and cause liver damage.

We suggest making sure your daily intake of cinnamon is kept at a moderate level. You can research the best daily supplementation level for you, but the suggested amount is about 120 mg daily.

There are supplements that use a type of cinnamon known to have lower levels of coumarin. We also suggest looking for supplements with this type of cinnamon. Especially if you are using it to fight intestinal fungal infections such as candida.

That being said, we don’t think you can go wrong by spicing up your everyday cooking with cinnamon as much as you can.

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