Cinnamon is a popular spice that is used heavily in the fall and winter seasons. Did you know that it has a ton of health benefits, too?
Cinnamon is high in cinnamaldehyde, the compound that’s responsible for most of its health benefits.
There are two major types of cinnamon: ceylon and cassia. Cassia cinnamon is the most common variety. Most of its oil is cinnamaldehyde and it has a stronger flavor than ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is a high-quality, mild-flavored, variety of cinnamon that contains 50–63% cinnamaldehyde.
Beware: cassia cinnamon contains a lot of coumarin, which can be toxic in large quantities. Even 1-2 tsp can bring you over your daily limit. If you eat multiple teaspoons of cinnamon per day, you might want to choose the ceylon variety.
Cinnamon has several major benefits.
Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is one of the major hormones that regulates metabolism, our energy use, and helps transport blood sugar from the bloodstream to your cells. It’s not uncommon for people to be resistant to the effects of insulin. In fact, insulin resistance is a major sign of type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, and it’s been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar levels. According to this study, the anti-diabetic effect of cinnamon can occur with anywhere from 0.5-2 teaspoons per day.
Antioxidants are compounds that protect your body from the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Thanks to the media (and science!), we are all looking for easy ways to incorporate antioxidants into our diet. Look no further! Cinnamon contains large amounts of highly potent antioxidants.
Inflammation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s what helps your body fight infections and repair tissue damage. That being said, chronic inflammation can become a major health issue if it’s not addressed.
The antioxidants found in cinnamon have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Research shows that if therapeutic concentrations can be achieved in target tissues, cinnamon may be useful in the treatment of age-related inflammatory conditions.
Cinnamaldehyde, the most potent active compound in cinnamon, has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. These properties may reduce infections and help battle tooth decay and improve bad breath. This study shows the potential of cinnamon oil in the treatment of dental caries.
Overall, cinnamon is a versatile product with proven health benefits, especially tasty in fall-themed recipes.
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