Cinnamon is a delicious spice and has been used as an ingredient dating back as far as Ancient Egypt. It has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of cinnamon trees. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts are removed. When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. These sticks can be ground to form cinnamon powder. So what makes cinnamon so healthy?
Cinnamon is high in cinnamaldehyde
Cinnamon is very high in the compound cinnamaldehyde, which is believed to be responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and metabolism.
Cinnamon is packed with antioxidants
Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols. Cinnamon has been shown to even outrank “superfoods” such as garlic and oregano.
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation helps your body fight infections and repair tissue damage. However, inflammation can become a problem when it’s chronic and directed against your body’s own tissues. Studies show that cinnamon has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which may help lower your risk of disease.
Cinnamon may decrease your risk for heart disease
Cinnamon may improve some key risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. It has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, and has shown to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol levels. Also, cinnamon has been shown to possibly reduce blood pressure.
Cinnamon can improve sensitivity to insulin
Serious conditions like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes are often linked to insulin resistence. Cinnamon can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, helping this important hormone do its job by increasing insulin sensitivity.
Cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels and has a powerful anti-diabetic effect
Cinnamon is well known for its blood-sugar-lowering properties. Apart from the beneficial effects on insulin resistance, cinnamon can lower blood sugar by several other mechanisms, including decreasing the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream after a meal.
Cinnamon may have beneficial effects on neurodegenerative diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common types. Two compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
Cinnamon helps fight bacterial and fungal infections
Cinnamaldehyde, one of the main active components of cinnamon, may help fight various kinds of infection. Cinnamon oil has been shown to effectively treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi. It can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella.