Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Cinnamon is a spice that has been used for centuries in cooking and medicine, and it’s becoming more popular as people learn about its many health benefits. From helping to regulate blood sugar levels to providing anti-inflammatory effects, cinnamon is packed with nutrients that can benefit our bodies in a variety of ways. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the amazing health benefits of cinnamon, as well as some ideas of how this versatile spice can be used in your diet to improve your mental wellbeing and overall health.
What Is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a spice derived from the inner bark of several species of trees belonging to the genus Cinnamomum. It has a sweet, woody scent and flavor that is commonly used in baking and other cooking applications. Cinnamon comes in two varieties — Ceylon (or true) and Cassia — which differ slightly in their taste and texture. Both types are beneficial for human health, though they contain different amounts of certain compounds.
Cinnamon is an excellent source of essential minerals such as manganese, iron, calcium and magnesium. It also contains small amounts of vitamins B1, B2 and B6, along with dietary fiber and powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. These compounds help protect us from disease-causing free radicals by neutralizing them before they can cause harm to our cells.
Health Benefits Of Cinnamon
There are numerous health benefits associated with consuming cinnamon on a regular basis:
1. Improved Blood Sugar Control
Studies have shown that consuming just one gram per day (about half a teaspoon) can significantly reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. This effect may be due to its ability to increase insulin sensitivity, allowing glucose to enter cells more easily than before.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Cinnamon contains several compounds known for their anti-inflammatory effects, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid and eugenol. These compounds help reduce inflammation throughout the body while boosting immunity at the same time.
3. Cardiovascular Support
Regular consumption of cinnamon has been linked to lower cholesterol levels as well as improved arterial function due to its anti-inflammatory properties. This may help reduce the risk of developing coronary artery disease or stroke over time.
4. Brain Function
Several studies have found that consuming cinnamon on a regular basis may improve memory retention. It is also linked to reducing stress levels associated with cognitive decline in older adults. The spice’s antioxidants may also help protect brain cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals over time.
5. Digestive Aid
Thanks to its antioxidant content, cinnamon helps stimulate digestion while reducing inflammation throughout the gastrointestinal tract– making it an ideal choice for those suffering from digestive issues like IBS or Crohn’s Disease.
6. Cancer Prevention
Preliminary research suggests that certain compounds found in cinnamon may inhibit cancer cell growth by blocking enzymes responsible for tumor formation. More research needs to be done here but current findings are promising!
How to Add Cinnamon into your Diet (other than churros or French toast)
Cinnamon is also an easy way to add flavor and nutrition to your meals without adding extra calories or fat. Here are 10 healthy ways to add more of this fragrant spice into your diet:
- Sprinkle on oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies – A dash of ground cinnamon adds sweetness without the added sugar. Add it to oatmeal for breakfast (I do this a lot!) or top a bowl of yogurt with some nuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a quick snack. You can also blend it into smoothies for an extra burst of flavor.
- Use in baking – Cinnamon is the perfect ingredient for cakes, cookies, muffins, breads and other sweet treats. Use it in place of sugar for healthier options that are still full of flavor.
- Add to coffee – Give your morning cup of joe some extra flavor by stirring in some ground cinnamon. Or use it to flavor coffee grounds with hints of the spice already mixed in.
- Make chia pudding – Mix coconut milk, chia seeds and ground cinnamon together for an easy breakfast or snack option. It’s packed with protein and fiber-rich ingredients as well as antioxidants from the spice itself.
- Spice up salad dressings – Create a homemade vinaigrette by blending olive oil with balsamic vinegar, honey and ground cinnamon. Add herbs and spices like oregano or garlic powder if desired. Toss over salads for an extra kick!
- Try roasted vegetables – Add some warmth to your roasted veggies by sprinkling them with ground turmeric and cinnamon before baking them in the oven at 400°F until they’re golden brown and tender-crisp throughout (about 25 minutes).
- Create savory dishes – Cinnamon isn’t just reserved for sweet dishes either — use it in savory dishes like chili or stir-fries as well! It adds depth of flavor without overpowering the dish’s other flavors too much.
- Infuse water – Create flavored water by infusing plain water with slices of fresh citrus fruit (like oranges) and ground cinnamon sticks overnight. Then strain out the solids before drinking up! Enjoy cold or heated depending on the season/temperature outside.
- Mix into sauces & marinades – Enhance tomato-based sauces like marinara sauce or BBQ sauce with a pinch (or two!) of ground cinnamon when cooking them up on the stovetop. Same goes for marinating meats prior to grilling or roasting them too! The spice will give them an amazing depth of flavor without being too overwhelming.
- Make breakfast bars/desserts – Some store bought breakfast bars contain added sugars but if you make them yourself at home you can control what ingredients go into them!
In conclusion there are many amazing health benefits associated with consuming cinnamon on a daily basis including improved blood sugar control, better cardiovascular support & enhanced brain function. The best part about adding this delicious spice into your diet? It doesn’t take too much effort either–just adding 1/2 teaspoon daily into smoothies or sprinkled onto oatmeal could provide all kinds of great advantages! So why not give it try today?