by Tracey Pollack for Garden of Life
Most of us think of cinnamon as a delicious topping for toast or as a spice in apple pie. But these are just a sprinkling of cinnamon’s incredible uses. In addition to once being more valuable than gold to the Ancient Egyptians, cinnamon has been treasured in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a home remedy to treat digestive and respiratory ailments. And the spice has long been used as medicine by many cultures throughout the world. Cinnamon’s medicinal properties come from special compounds and antioxidants found in the bark of the cinnamon tree, according to WebMD. These powerful components make it one of the healthiest spices on the planet. Today, research is catching up with history and showing that cinnamon can be good for more than just spicing up sweet treats. Discover how adding a dash of cinnamon to your life may also help protect your health.
Cinnamon Balances Blood Sugar
Blood sugar spikes are a serious concern for the millions of people with diabetes. Even though cinnamon is often associated with sugar, research has shown that the spice may actually help balance our blood sugar levels. According to The National Institutes of Health, many studies have found that consuming cinnamon has resulted in a significant decline in blood sugar levels and better insulin resistance. This is all good news to people with diabetes that must manage their blood sugar every day. While more research is needed, cinnamon has continued to show promise for the sweet relief it provides to people that worry about their blood sugar.
The Spice Fights Inflammation
Packed with more than 40 antioxidants, cinnamon is believed to be a powerful anti-inflammatory that can reduce the dangerous of inflammation on the body. Inflammation can lead to many serious medical conditions, such as cancer, heart disease and auto immune diseases. But the compounds found in cinnamon have been shown to help reduce levels of inflammation throughout the body and lower the risk of developing these serious ailments. Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties may make it useful for pain management and age-related ailments.
Cinnamon Benefits Your Brain
Cinnamon may be a smart way to keep your brain functioning at its best and reduce your risk of experiencing cognitive decline and disorders. Research has indicated that the antioxidants in cinnamon may actually protect your brain cells from damage and self-destruction, which contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. As a result, cinnamon has shown the potential to help prevent and treat the neurological conditions that can develop as we age. Even just the sweet scent of cinnamon can dramatically boost your brain power, according to another study that found the fragrance of the spice to sharpen your memory, increase your attention and improve your visual-motor response. All of these health benefits make cinnamon a spice you’ll want to remember to add to your meals.
The Spice Protects You From Infections and Viruses
For centuries, many cultures have relied on cinnamon to naturally fight infections and viruses. Apparently, these cultures were wise beyond their years because science is now finding that the spice’s essential oils give it natural anti-microbial, antibiotic and anti-viral powers. This makes cinnamon a natural way to fight infections and viruses, while boosting your immunity.
How to Spice Up Your Diet and Your Life with Cinnamon
It’s easy and delicious to get the benefits of cinnamon in your meals and snacks. Try these inspired ideas to add a dash of health to your day.
Sprinkle cinnamon over hot oatmeal or cold cereal.
Mix cinnamon into yogurt or cottage cheese.
Core an apple, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and bake it for a healthier version of apple pie.
Fold cinnamon into muffin, cake and pancake batters to add sweetness and spice to your baked goods.
Add cinnamon to coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Put a pinch of cinnamon in savory foods like soups, chili and curries.
Sprinkle some cinnamon over fresh-popped popcorn or roasted vegetables.
No matter how you enjoy the spice, make a dash for the cinnamon to savor the healthy benefits.