Health benefits of cinnamon & nutritional facts

Health benefits of cinnamon & nutritional facts
February 19 19:54 2017

Cinnamon is a powerful spice that has been used medicinally around the world for thousands of years. It is still used daily in many cultures because of its widespread health benefits, not to mention its distinctly sweet, warming taste and ease of use in recipes.

According to researchers, out of twenty-six of the most popular herbs and medicinal spices in the world, cinnamon actually ranks #1 in terms of its protective antioxidant levels!

The unique smell, color, and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part of the tree that it grows from. The health benefits of cinnamon come from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree. This bark contains several special compounds which are responsible for its many health promoting properties- including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, and cinnamate.

Researchers have concluded that the health benefits of cinnamon can be obtained in the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in ground spice form (which is bark powder), or in extract form when its special phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and antioxidants are isolated. These compounds make cinnamon one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting, cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities.

Nutrition Benefits of Cinnamon

One tablespoon of ground cinnamon contains:

  • 19 calories
  • 0 grams of fat, sugar, or protein
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 68% manganese
  • 8% calcium
  • 4% iron
  • 3% Vitamin K

A little bit of cinnamon goes a long way, and its antioxidant abilities are what makes it especially beneficial to include in your diet. As little as 1/2 of one teaspoon of cinnamon daily can have positive effects on blood sugar levels, digestion, immunity, and more. However stronger doses are also extremely beneficial for improving heart disease risk and cutting risk your for diabetes, cancer, and neuro-degenerative diseases.

13 Proven Health Benefits of Cinnamon

  1. High Source of Antioxidants

Cinnamon is packed with a variety of protective antioxidants that reduce free radical damage and slow the aging process; in fact researchers have identified forty-one different protective compounds of cinnamon to date!

According to the OTAC scale, which is used to measure the concentration of antioxidants in different foods, cinnamon ranks #7 of all foods, spices, and herbs across the world. And in a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon was deemed the winner and proved to be higher in antioxidants than other powerful herbs and spices including garlic, thyme, rosemary, and oregano.

The health benefits of cinnamon are attributed to the type of antioxidants called polyphenols, phenolic acid, and flavonoids.  These are similar antioxidants to those that can be found in other “superfoods” including berries, red wine, and dark chocolate. These compounds work to fight oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to disease formation when uncontrolled, especially as someone ages.

The different antioxidants present in cinnamon help to reduce a multitude of symptoms and diseases because they are free-radical-scavengers. The health benefits of cinnamon include its ability to reduce many forms of oxidative stress, including the ability to limit nitric oxide build up in the blood and lipid (fat) peroxidation, which can both add to instances of brain disorders, cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.

  1. Contains Anti-inflammatory Properties

The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, brain function decline, and more. Researchers have identified over seven kinds of flavonoid compounds alone in cinnamon, which are highly effective at fighting dangerous inflammation levels throughout the body.

Because cinnamon lowers swelling and inflammation, it can be beneficial in painmanagement, with studies showing that cinnamon helps to relive muscle soreness, PMS pains, severity of allergic reactions, and other age-related symptoms of pain too.

  1. Protects Heart Health

Studies have shown that another health benefit of cinnamon is that it reduces several of the most common risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure.

The special compounds in cinnamon are able to help reduce levels of total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, while HDL “good” cholesterol remains stable. Cinnamon has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure, which is another threat for causing heart disease or a stroke.

And there are even more heart health benefits of cinnamon. Research shows that cinnamon is a helpful blood coagulant and prevents bleeding by helping the body to form blood clots. Cinnamon also increases blood circulation and advances bodily tissue’s ability to repair itself after it’s been damaged. This includes heart tissue which is in need of regeneration in order to fight heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.

  1. Fights Diabetes

Cinnamon is known to have an anti-diabetic effect. It helps lower blood sugar levels and also can improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is the vital hormone needed for keeping blood sugar levels balanced.

Diabetes is formed when insulin resistance occurs and poor glycemic control takes places, or someone develops the inability to manage how much sugar (glucose) enters the blood stream. The same problem with insulin resistence is also associated with other conditions like metabolic syndrome and weight gain too.

These benefits of cinnamon exist because it plays a part in blocking certain enzymes called alanines which allows for glucose (sugar) to be absorbed into the blood. Therefore it has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a high-sugar meal, which is especially important for those with diabetes.

For this reason, many studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes can experience significant positive effects on blood sugar markers by supplementing with cinnamon extract. Another benefit for those with diabetes is that cinnamon helps combat heart disease and lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels, which those with diabetes are more at risk for developing.

  1. Helps Defend Against Cognitive Decline & Protects Brain Function

Research also shows that another benefit of cinnamon’s protective antioxidant properties is that they can help defend the brain against developing neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

One way that cinnamon protects cognitive function and brain health is because it activates neuro-protective proteins that protect brain cells from mutation and undergoing damage. This further reduces the negative effects of oxidative stress by stopping cells from morphing and self-destructing.

Because cinnamon contains so many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce the effects of aging on the body and brain, in the future we may see it being used as a possible natural therapeutic treatment or prevention for age-related neuro-degenerative diseases.

  1. May Help Lower Cancer Risk

Because of its antioxidant abilities, cinnamon can protect against DNA damage, cell mutation, and canceroustumor growth. Studies have revealed that the health benefits of cinnamon come from a compound called cinnamaldehyde include its ability to inhibit cancer tumor growth and protect DNA from damage, while also encouraging cancerous cells to self-destruct (called cell apoptosis).

This is especially true in the colon; studies show that cinnamon can improve the health of the colon, thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer.Cinnamon is now being investigated as a natural anti-cancer agent because of its strong antioxidant abilities, so in the future it may be useful to supplement with cinnamon extract for those who are at higher risks for cancer.

  1. Fights Infections & Viruses

There are many benefits of cinnamon when it comes to defending the body from illnesses. Cinnamon is a natural anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-fungal, and anti-viral agent. The immune-boosting abilities of cinnamon are found in cinnamon’s essential oils.

Cinnamon is used in many cultures to naturally help fight harmful infections and viruses. Cinnamon oils also have protective abilities against various bacteria which can cause negative symptoms in the digestive tract, on the surface of the skin, and can lead to colds or the flu.

Cinnamon is so powerful at boosting immunity that some studies even show that it may be able to reduce the risk of contracting the HIV virus.

  1. Protects Dental Health & Freshens Breath Naturally

In studies, the extracts found in cinnamon were shown to be protective against bacteria living in the oral microflora that could cause bad breath, tooth decay, cavities, or mouth infections. The essential oil from cinnamon has been shown to be more potent than other tested plant extracts and can be used to naturally combat bacteria in the mouth, acting like a natural anti-bacterial mouthwash.

Similarly to peppermint, one of the health benefits of cinnamon is that it can also used as a natural flavoring agent in chewing gums due to its mouth refreshing abilities. Because it removes oral bacteria, cinnamon has the ability to naturally remove bad breath without adding any chemicals to the body. For this reason cinnamon has also been traditionally used as tooth powder and to treat toothaches, dental problems, oral microbiota, and mouth sores.

Cinnamon essential oil is also used in some beauty products, shampoos, and perfumes for its many health benefits that can help with fighting infection while adding a pleasant smell.

  1. Can Help Prevent or Cure Candida

Certain studies have concluded that cinnamon’s powerful anti-fungal properties may be effective in stopping or curing Candida overgrowth in the digestive tract. Cinnamon has been shown to lower amounts of dangerous Candida Albicans, which is the yeast that causes Candida overgrowth that can cause multiple digestive and autoimmunesymptoms. Additionally, another health benefit of cinnamon is that it helps to control blood sugar levels, and too much sugar within the digestive tract is associated with increased candida risk.

According to researchers, when patients were given cinnamon extract or cinnamon essential oil, they showed improvements in candida yeast levels and a reduction in symptoms. Cinnamon helps to fight candida naturally by boosting immune health and fighting inflammation, auto immune-reactions, and yeast within the gut.

  1. Benefits Skin Health

Cinnamon has anti-biotic and anti-microbial effects that protect skin from irritations, rashes, allergic reactions, and infections. Applying cinnamon essential oil directly to the skin can be helpful in reducing inflammation, swelling, pain, and redness. Cinnamon and honey, another antimicrobial ingredient, are frequently used together to boost skin health for this reason and are beneficial for acne, rosacea, and signs of skin allergies.

  1. Helps Fight Allergies

Studies have concluded that those with allergies can find relief thanks to the benefits of cinnamon’s compounds. Cinnamon has been shown to be helpful in fighting common allergysymptoms because it reduces inflammation and fights histamine reactions in the body. For the same reason it can also help to reduce symptoms of asthma attacks.

Cinnamon also has immune boosting abilities and is beneficial for digestive health, which helps to cut down on auto-immune reactions that can take place after consuming common allergen foods.

  1. Can be Used to Sweeten Recipes without Added Sugar

Because of its naturally sweet taste, adding cinnamon to foods and recipes can help you cut down on the amount of sugar you normally use, thereby lowering the glycemic load of your meal. Cinnamon already has anti-diabetic effects that slow sugar from releasing into the blood stream which can help manage food cravings and weight gain, but using cinnamon for its taste is another added benefit.

One of the benefits of cinnamon over sugar is that it contains no sugar and no calories in amounts that it is used by most people, so its makes an extremely healthy addition to many meals, especially considering its many nutrients. Try using cinnamon in coffee, tea, baked goods, yogurt, on fruit, or in oatmeal instead of adding extra sugar and calories. This can help you to reduce inflammation-causing sugar, extra calories, and to fight weight gain, candida, diabetes and low energy levels.

  1. Can Be Used as a Natural Food Preservative

One of the less-known benefits of cinnamon is that it can be used to preserve food. Because cinnamon has anti-bacterial abilities and also acts as an antioxidant, it can be used as a preservative in many foods without the need for chemicals and artificial ingredients.

A recent study reported that when pectin from fruit was coated with cinnamon leaf extract it yielded high antioxidant and antibacterial activities and stayed fresh for longer. Cinnamon plays a part in the action of tyrosinase inhibitors, which are useful in stopping discoloration on fruits and vegetables that appears as they oxidize and begin to rot.

Source: draxe.com