9 Surprising Benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon
While cinnamon often flies past your radar, this spice is good for so much more than spicing up your morning Joe. Cinnamon is a completely healthy punch, with a variety of health benefits to raise the stakes. So, besides the tasty flavor, several studies have tentatively associated cinnamon to lowered bad cholesterol levels and prevention of bacteria-borne diseases, among others. The only challenge is to separate the real deal from a bust.
Not All Cinnamon Is Created Equal
As you cruise through the spice aisle, you are bound to cross paths with Ceylon cinnamon's cousin, known as Cassia. Even though Cassia is the most common variety and equally potent to Ceylon health-wise, you should probably know that the latter, aka “true” cinnamon, is safer to consume and, thus, more expensive. How come? Research proves that Cassia contains Coumarin, a phytochemical which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. They didn't ban it from U.S. food for no reason, after all! A recent study adds up to this action plan by finding out that overexposing your body to Coumarin may result in liver hypertoxicity, even cancer at a point.
Fortunately for those who love a cinnamon roll as much as the next guy, Ceylon is here to save the day. Not only isn't it home to the toxic Coumarin, but Ceylon packs a wide variety of health benefits ripe for your taking.
1. Regulating Blood Sugar Levels
Being an essential key hormone in your body, insulin is responsible for shaping up your metabolism and regulating the transfer of blood sugar towards the cells. But, what happens when cells don't respond to insulin, and you develop some sort of resistance?
Being that this condition may lead to diabetes down the line, you need to act immediately by introducing functional foods or effective supplements into your diet. Ceylon cinnamon happens to be a great choice (in both forms) as it reduces blood glucose, an indicator of insulin resistance. From the moment blood sugar levels regulate, a domino effect is set in motion which takes us to the next point.
2. Helping Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
When it comes to treating serious health matters, preventing diabetes is probably one of the most congested topics within the health community. But, while the debate about functional food and diabetes grows strong, Ceylon cinnamon has managed to prevail with its anti-diabetic potency. In fact, one study shows that cinnamon can help you alleviate symptoms of diabetes and pre-diabetes. That mainly occurs because this powerful spice blocks the formation of glycation end products (AGEs).
3. Let's Also Do Something About That Cholesterol
Native to Sri Lanka, "true" cinnamon and its supplements are also on the fast track to a healthy heart. In fact, one recent study proved that cinnamon not only can reduce the LDL (bad) and triglycerides levels, but it can actually increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. As most of you know, the lower the “bad” cholesterol, the healthier the heart. From high blood pressure to strokes, Ceylon cinnamon's got you covered. How is that for a superfood?
Are you a fan of cinnamon?
4. What's the Deal With Fungi, Bacteria, and Viruses?
Apart from making your food taste amazing, "true" cinnamon can also give a hand in your struggle against the flu. But, first things first. In tandem with other remedies, research shows that Ceylon cinnamon can be used to treat all sorts of fungi causing respiratory infections (a cough, bronchitis, etc.). But, this is the tip of the iceberg. Rich in cinnamaldehyde, cinnamon is potent enough to help your body fight bacteria-induced infections. So, here is the answer to a top-notch oral hygiene. From bad breath to tooth decay, this is the end of reign for oral microbiota.
But, now comes the most surprising use of cinnamon. Aside from tackling the common flu, research proves that this often underestimated spice can potentially contribute to the management of HIV by blocking the virus from entering cells. Now, that's impressive!
5. Seriously Now, Let's Talk Inflammation!
To date, several studies(1)(2) have proven the anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon and its byproducts (essential oils, ointments, supplements, etc.). Even though inflammation helps your body shield against infections, systemic inflammation can lead to an array of health issues. From a common headache to chronic arthritis pain, cinnamon can offer relief from unpleasant symptoms for long-term patients.
6. Helping to Manage Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Symptoms
Ceylon cinnamon just doesn't quit! As Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, two of the most severe neurodegenerative diseases, keep making waves, cinnamon supplements offer an easy way to manage their symptoms. In fact, in vitro research proves that this spice prevents your body from building up on the tau protein, an Alzheimer's indicator. As for Parkinson's disease, things are also looking up as one study concludes that cinnamon protects neurons and enhances motor function.
7. Anyone for Some Antioxidants?
Even though Ceylon cinnamon is not the first on the list of the most nutrient-dense spices on the planet, it is still rich in a handful of nutrients that don't always tally on nutrition labels: antioxidants. These powerful phytochemicals (known as phytophenols in cinnamon) can fight off the damage caused by free radicals in your body.
While cinnamon often flies past your radar, this spice is good for so much more than spicing up your morning Joe.
8. Who Wants to Shed Some Pounds?
Want another reason to incorporate cinnamon into your daily regimen? How about losing weight? Aside from the fact that one tablespoon of cinnamon holds just 19 calories, this Sri Lankan spice is a great substitute for sugar and can save you from more than a few calories. At the same time, one study proves that this spice can slow the rate at which your stomach empties after a meal. That means that you are finally through with sugar spikes and, thus, recurring cravings.
9. Here's to Managing POCS
As mentioned earlier, cinnamon has the power to regulate insulin resistance syndrome. Meanwhile, research suggests that the polycystic ovary syndrome is deeply interlaced with insulin resistance, sometimes up to 95% in overweight women. This scientific conclusion points the finger to cinnamon for managing this syndrome. However, the spice's female-friendly properties go beyond POCS by toning down menstrual bleeding caused by several conditions (menorrhagia and endometriosis, to name a few).
2 Simple Ways to Incorporate Ceylon Cinnamon in Your Diet
Even though cinnamon doesn't exactly count as medicine YET, you shouldn't pass up any chance to include it into your everyday life. Let's start with your pantry. It's common knowledge that cinnamon pairs well with coffee and sweet treats. So, sprinkling some in your cup of Joe or yogurt will definitely spice up your routine.
On the other hand, Ceylon cinnamon supplements are a welcome addition for when daily habits fail to deliver. They are an efficient and healthy way to help your body keep up with your cinnamon needs. From the heart to the brain, every part of your body will thank you!
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© 2016 Kyriaki Chatzi