Cinnamon: A Super-Spice With Potent Health Benefits
Ahhh…the sweet smell of cinnamon. Its distinct aroma never fails to conjure fond memories of home and hearth, and of course, delicious desserts. Our brains automatically associate cinnamon with cakes, cookies, pastries and pies.
But did you know that cinnamon is also a powerful medicinal agent? That’s right. Cinnamon isn’t just a tasty baking spice. It provides an impressive list of healing properties too.
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According to a recent report published in Journal of Medicinal Food, cinnamon is packed with antioxidants and other compounds that provide protection against the untimely formation of advanced glycation end-products.
Advanced what, you say?
Advanced glycation end-products, or “AGEs” (an apt acronym, don’t you think?) are one of the main culprits behind tissue damage and inflammation. AGEs result in the development of visible lines on your face, the development of inflexible arteries, and a host of other serious metabolic consequences.
So how can you maximize the age-defying effects of cinnamon?
Buy the highest quality organic cinnamon, store it properly and use it quickly. The potent AGE-fighting constituents of cinnamon – called phenols – can be destroyed by exposure to air, heat and light. So make sure to store your cinnamon in a cool, dark place and replace every six months to fully enjoy its powerful benefits.
But don’t expect to get the same benefits from cinnamon buns and spice cookies… at least not if you’re using sugar! In fact, sugar will negate the anti-aging benefits of cinnamon by creating an onslaught of free radicals and inflammation.
When using cinnamon in baking, be sure to opt for safe, low glycemic sweeteners including stevia and erythritol. Not only will you promote healthy blood sugar levels and keep your weight on track, but you’ll maximize cinnamon’s power too.
And speaking of blood sugar…
Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Stable with Cinnamon
Diabetes is the most widespread chronic disease afflicting Americans today. But did you know that just a little cinnamon can go a long way to stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes?
According to Dr. Richard Anderson, PhD, who has studied the great benefits and positive effects of cinnamon for the past 20 years, this particular spice effectively imitates insulin in the body. What’s more important, it has also been found to enhance insulin’s effects.
In a recent study conducted on 60 individuals diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, researchers found that patients who were given as little as one gram of cinnamon daily (about half a teaspoon) experienced:
- 18% to 29% decrease in their blood sugar levels
- 7% to 27% decrease in LDL cholesterol
- 23% to 30% drop in triglycerides
- 12% to 26% reduction in total cholesterol levels
Along with fighting the physical signs of aging, you now have even more important reasons to spice up your foods with cinnamon. So make a habit of sprinkling this potent spice into your coffee or tea, and mix into sweet potatoes or winter squash to promote better blood sugar balance and a healthier heart.
Prevents Blood Clots and Reduces Inflammation
Cinnamon is known to contain three specific components – cinnamyl acetate, cinnamyl alcohol and cinnamaldehyde – which have been found to facilitate healing in a myriad of ways.
Cinnamaldehyde, in particular, has been researched extensively for its effects on platelets- the constituents of blood which are responsible for the formation of clots during injuries.
While some clotting is absolutely necessary for wound healing, too much clotting can cause poor circulation and other cardiovascular problems to occur. Cinnamon helps to thin the blood and prevent excessive clotting by inhibiting the release on an inflammatory factor called thromboxane A2 – putting this spice in an elite league of “anti-inflammatory” foods.
Prevents Infection… Better Than Drugs!
Aside from preventing blood clots and inflammation, cinnamon also contains essential oils that can inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.
Among a long list of “nasties” inhibited by cinnamon, is the notorious yeast, Candida, which can cause a host of health problems from digestive distress to sinus infections. In fact, cinnamon is so powerful against Candida that lab tests found it works on strains that have grown resistant to common anti-fungal medications.
And cinnamon can keep the “bugs” at bay in your food too.
A recent study published the International Journal of Food Microbiology found that just a few drops of cinnamon oil added to approximately three ounces of carrot broth inhibited the growth of the food borne pathogen Bacillus cereus for at least 60 days.
So, mix cinnamon into broths, soups, chilis and stews to boost flavor and extend freshness while promoting healthy gut flora.
Forget the Medicine Cabinet, Create a Healing Pantry
A well-stocked pantry of healing foods, herbs and spices is what it takes to keep a healthy body and a happy tummy. So reach for natural cures like cinnamon to add more flavor to your foods and more years to your life!
George Tyler says
what is the best cinnamon to use