Cinnamon: 6 reasons to get more of this tasty spice

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Autumn is cinnamon’s time to shine. So I thought it only appropriate to cast a spotlight on the many health benefits of this awesome spice, if not only to make us feel a teensy bit less guilty on Thanksgiving day as we shove more spice-flavored desserts into our faces – Oh they have cinnamon! Yes, I’ll have another, thank you very much.

Cinnamon 101

Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the branches of wild trees that belong to the “cinnamomum” genus. Anyone else think “cinnamomum” is really fun to say?

… moving on.

There are two main types of cinnamon:

  1. Cassia cinnamon most often comes from Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Japan, or Korea. It is also known as “Chinese cinnamon,” “Saigon cinnamon,” or… “bastard cinnamon.” Well, that’s not very nice! No it’s not! And other than containing more of the blood-thinning compound coumarin, the two have very similar health profiles.
  2. Ceylon cinnamon most often comes from Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean. It is said to be “real” cinnamon. It is often more expensive and much more difficult than cassia cinnamon, which dominates the American market.

6 reasons to get more of this tasty spice

Has strong antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties: According to the National Institutes of Health, a chemical found in cinnamon can help fight bacterial and fungal infections. For this reason, it is one of my go-tos to help cure a cold naturally and quickly. It also helps gently eliminate acne-causing bacteria when applied to the skin (check out this DIY clarifying honey and spice face mask!).

Helps balance blood sugar levels: Cassia cinnamon may help improve glucose and lipids levels of individuals with type 2 diabetes. A study found that up to 6 grams of cinnamon a day “reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes” and “the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

Helps reduce blood pressure: University of Toronto researchers found that even short-term consumption of cinnamon can significantly reduce blood pressure levels.

Builds strong bones: Cinnamon is a great source manganese, which activates the enzymes necessary to build healthy bones.

May prevent Alzheimer’s disease: Tel Aviv University researchers discovered that cinnamon contains an extract called CEppt which can inhibit the development of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2011 study also suggested that can reduce the chronic inflammation that promotes a number neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s in addition to Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Helps negate the body’s reaction to fatty foods: Penn State researchers found that cinnamon can help reduce the body’s negative responses to consuming fatty foods. This may be due to the high levels of manganese, with assist with fat metabolism.

Sources and further reading: 

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  1. Thanks, Monica! I am a HUGE tea drinker and sprinkle some in my tea. I also add it to mashed sweet potatoes, homemade chocolate (that’s super delicious actually), and yogurt… it’s a very versatile spice! These are the simplest ways I can think of (but then again I eat these things often!) but you can always look up some recipes that call for cinnamon!