• Ashu Bisht

Cinnamon: The health Benefits of The Ancient Spice

Cinnamon is one of the spices used across the globe on the daily basis and it has been around the world for centuries. The spice has a pleasant flavor that enhances any dish. The spice comes from the inner bark of trees of the Cinnamomum family. The bark is peeled and sun-dried. It is native to the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia.

Types of Cinnamon

"There are four major types of cinnamon known as Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon Cinnamon), Cinnamomum burmannii (Korintje Cinnamon), Cinnamomum cassia (Saigon Cinnamon), and Cinnamomum loureiroi (Royal Cinnamon). The dark-colored cassia cinnamon is well-known as it is grown in Southern Eastern Asia. Ceylon cinnamon is also frequently used in many countries. The cinnamon which is available at the markets could be one of the two main types are Ceylon or cassia."

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

  • It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties: Cinnamon is thought to have different medicinal and soothing properties. It is used frequently in herbal medicines. Cinnamon also comes from the essential oils contained in the bark called cinnamaldehyde. It displays anti-viral, anti-bacterial as well as anti-fungal properties.

  • Contains antioxidants: Cinnamon is known to have large amounts of polyphenol antioxidants. They help protect the body from different diseases. The antioxidants which are found in cinnamon have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects.

  • May improve gut health: Cinnamon has medicinal properties that stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria. Including spices like cinnamon regularly in the diet may help in improving gut health. Cinnamon is also one of the useful sources of manganese and contains a small amount of calcium and fiber.

  • Reduces blood pressure: According to a study, the consumption of cinnamon is associated with a short-term reduction in blood pressure. The evidence is hopeful, but it is not likely to recommend cinnamon for blood pressure control as no studies on a study involving a large number of patients have been carried out.

  • Lower blood sugar and risk of type 2 diabetes: If you are concerned about diabetes, cinnamon might be helpful. It has been suggested that cinnamon has a moderate effect in improving glycaemic control and it also supports the management of type 2 diabetes. The studies are not conclusive, however, a small amount used at breakfast or adding it to everyday meals will not do any harm.

  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease: Different compounds in cinnamon may benefit the cardiovascular system. According to a study conducted in the year 2014, rats that received long-term treatment involving cinnamon and aerobic training had better heart function than those who did not.

There are many other health benefits of cinnamon. When used every day in minimum quantity can improve your overall health. Overuse of cinnamon is not good for health. So keep the usage in check. Because cinnamon is not proven as a cure for any particular disease, there isn’t a set dose. Some experts suggest 2-4 grams of cinnamon powder a day and some suggest 1 to 6 grams a day. High doses are not recommended as they might be toxic.

How to store and use cinnamon

Cinnamon should be kept in an airtight container away from the sunlight. Whole cinnamon lasts for a year or 2, but ground cinnamon starts to lose its flavors after a few months. It is important to check the use-by dates on the packets of cinnamon as fresh cinnamon is better than stale ones.

Dietary Tips

Cinnamon is used commonly in every household, be it a sweet or savory dish. Its distinctive fragrance adds a magical aroma, especially to baked goodies or snacks.

Tips to add cinnamon to your everyday diet:

  1. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon over oatmeal.

  2. Add cinnamon to cakes, cookies, bread, or jams.

  3. Top a waffle or pancake with cinnamon for a perfect taste.

  4. Add a pinch of cinnamon to your everyday curries.

  5. Sprinkle some cinnamon into your coffee.

  6. Bake your apples with some cinnamon as both blend well together.

Bottom Line

Cinnamon is a wonderful spice and has been known for its medicinal properties for decades. It is linked to different health benefits. Eating small to moderate amounts is safe. This generally applies to Cassia or regular cinnamon as it contains high amounts of coumarin. Ceylon or true cinnamon contains trace amounts of coumarin. Eating around 1-2 grams of cinnamon every day is enough to provide many health benefits.