What’s So Special About Cinnamon?
During certain parts of the year, it seems like you can’t get away from cinnamon, from everything being pumpkin spice flavored to pies and other treats, but after reading on its health benefits, you might wish to add it to your diet all year round. Reports have shown that cinnamon is among one of the top healthiest spices and herbs you can add to your diet and not just to flavor your food, but for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, immune-boosting, heart-protecting and cancer-fighting properties. I bet you didn’t know you were getting all these potential benefits when ordering your pumpkin spice latte or enjoying a delicious seasonal dessert … although everything else in those drinks and desserts might not be too healthy, so we’ll show you how to get those benefits without all the unnecessary sugar. It would be good to note that when referring to Cinnamon in this article, we are referring to Ceylon or “True” Cinnamon, and not Cassia Cinnamon. Although they are very similar in taste and smell, these two are considered different spices and have a few of their own health benefits, and you can read more about Cassia Cinnamon here (Cassia Blog Hyperlink).
Why You Should Add Cinnamon to Your Diet
Vitamins and Minerals
One of the biggest benefits of this amazing herb is how jam-packed it is with so much of what your body needs. Let’s run through what you get in just one tablespoon of it real quick, .3 grams of protein, 4.1 grams of fiber, 77mg of calcium, 1.4mg of manganese, .06 mg of iron, vitamins A, B, C, E and K, 4.6mg of magnesium, 33mg of potassium! Can we stop there now? You must be out of breath if you read that out loud. If you’d like a full break down of the other 31 vitamins, minerals and amino acids found in Ceylon Cinnamon, nutritionvalue.org has it all for you right here.
Pairing up with the plethora of vitamins and minerals, the copious amounts of antioxidants (over 40 compounds, in fact) put Ceylon Cinnamon above some other favorite herbs such as Garlic and Rosemary on the ORAC Scale. We all know how important antioxidants are, as they help our body fight off and prevent serious diseases ranging from cancer, heart disease, and other severe conditions.
If the nutritional value of True Cinnamon alone wasn’t enough for you, let’s get into the diseases and illnesses studies have shown it to possibly prevent. Inflammation can be the cause of many illnesses and symptoms such as heart disease, cancer, and even painful menstrual symptoms. The antioxidants found in Cinnamon are anti-inflammatory, may protect against DNA damage which is a cause of cancer, blocks the buildup of proteins in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and lowers blood sugar by managing insulin thus assisting the body in preventing diabetes.
Protection Against Viruses and Bacteria.
Ceylon Cinnamon contains antimicrobial, antibiotic and antiviral compounds that are known to combat various infections. The compounds in this herb have uses in many cultures from fighting off the common cold to more serious illnesses like pneumonia, as well as inhibiting the growth of bacteria like Salmonella. The antimicrobial found in Cinnamon have also been researched and were found to possibly prevent tooth decay and bad breath. Maybe think about adding it to your aloe vera mouthwash?
Ceylon vs Cassia
If you have not read our article on Cassia Cinnamon (Cassia Blog HyperLink), we explain the difference between the two in it. Cassia Cinnamon is more commonly found in stores, is legally labeled as “Cinnamon”, and is a lot cheaper. The tastes and smells are similar, but the chemical compounds are different, and Cassia is known to have a compound called Coumadin, and if taken in large amounts it has been linked to liver damage. For this reason, if you are going to be taking Cinnamon daily, and/or in large amounts, we would suggest Ceylon Cinnamon. However, smaller doses of Cassia Cinnamon are fine and not very harmful, but as always, we recommend speaking to your doctor before any use. Although both are considered safe, we do not recommend attempting the Cinnamon Challenge!
How to Take Cinnamon
Ceylon Cinnamon is not as common in stores, so you might have to look online or in specialty stores, and be prepared to pay a little extra for these extra benefits.
A common way of benefiting from Cinnamon, you can buy prepackaged teas or stir a quill (stick) in some warm water.
Ground Cinnamon is probably the most common form found and can be added to a number of dishes and desserts.
Extracts and essential oils are easy ways of adding cinnamon to your diet and sometimes cleaner and more beneficial.
As always, the easiest way to benefit from this herb is through supplement pills and can be found in many stores or online.
*Source Medical News Today, National Library of Medicine, Healthline, National Institute of Health, NutrionValue.org