Apple cider, cinnamon buns, and potentially balanced blood sugar and cholesterol levels, is there anything cinnamon can’t make better?
We all know that cinnamon is versatile and delicious, but did you know that cinnamon is actually good for the body too? It’s easy for us to overlook a spice that is readily available in most supermarkets and grocery stores. Who would have thought that cinnamon isn’t just for flavouring but is also beneficial to our health?
Here are a couple of facts that everyone should know about this aromatic spice:
Cinnamon is a great antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect tissues in your body, assisting with functions like keeping the elasticity in your skin. A study with 26 other spices has shown that cinnamon is an antioxidant powerhouse that outranks known “superfoods” like garlic and oregano!
Cinnamon has the potential to control blood sugar levels. Particularly with people who have type 2 diabetes, 1 gram of cinnamon a day may have beneficial effects on their blood markers. As most of you would know, people with diabetes have an abnormal sensitivity to insulin, and cinnamon may just happen to help regulate and control your blood sugar levels!
Cinnamon may help balance cholesterol levels. The spice is also a yummy solution to keeping your cholesterols in check, reducing levels of “bad cholesterol” such as LDL, while stabilizing the “good cholesterol”, HDL cholesterol. Similar to the way it might regulate blood glucose levels, cinnamon might help stabilize blood lipid levels, which are also a problem in people with type 2 diabetes. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone!
These are just a few of the many benefits cinnamon has. For example, next time you need to organize a big dinner party or finish a project during crunch time, put cinnamon sticks somewhere you can smell or chew some cinnamon gum and it might boost brain activity, help with memory, visual recognition and even motor skills! Studies have also shown cinnamon may help calm inflammation, kill E. coli, and soothe a sore throat.
Fun fact: Egyptians used to embalm the dead using cinnamon as an ingredient! Wonder if mummies smell like cinnamon?
Even though cinnamon is great for us, just putting a spoonful of the spice in our mouth doesn’t sound like the tastiest snack in the world. And we certainly can’t stuff ourselves with cinnamon cake and other baked goods every day. There are a few savoury dishes that include cinnamon as an ingredient, such as Indian butter chicken, lamb shawarma, and Moroccan meatballs, but for those who aren’t a big fan of cooking and being in the kitchen these recipes can be a big hassle.
Khan, A., M. Safdar, MM Ali Khan, KN Khattak, and RA Anderson. "Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People with Type 2 Diabetes." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 26 Dec. 2003. Web. 17 Feb. 2016. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14633804>.
Khasnavis, S., and K. Pahan. "Cinnamon Treatment Upregulates Neuroprotective Proteins Parkin and DJ-1 and Protects Dopaminergic Neurons in a Mouse Model of Parkinson's Disease." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 June 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2016. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24946862>.
Mercola, Joseph. "What Is Cinnamon Good For?" Mercola.com. Web. 17 Feb. 2016. <http://foodfacts.mercola.com/cinnamon.html>.
Regina Castro, M. "Is It True That Cinnamon Can Lower Blood Sugar in People Who Have Diabetes?" Mayo Clinic. 23 Jan. 2016. Web. 17 Feb. 2016. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/expert-answers/diabetes/faq-20058472>.
Shan, B., YZ Cai, M. Sun, and H. Corke. "Antioxidant Capacity of 26 Spice Extracts and Characterization of Their Phenolic Constituents." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 5 Oct. 2005. Web. 17 Feb. 2016. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16190627>.