Research on the Health Benefits of Cinnamon is still ongoing, and while preliminary research is promising, more well-designed human trials still need to be completed. There are, however, a few health benefits that seem particularly promising (and it certainly doesn’t hurt to season up your food with this spice). From diabetes to pain management, an extra dash of cinnamon may be part of a plan to fight these common problems.
Cinnamon has been used as a medicine in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. Known for its benefits linked to digestion and gastrointestinal complaints, cinnamon has long been used as a home remedy for heartburn, indigestion, and nausea.
Many of cinnamon’s fantastic properties come from one substance, something called cinnamaldehyde, which is naturally present in cinnamon. Cinnamaldehyde is the source of many of the antifungal and antibacterial properties that make cinnamon such a great addition to your diet.
Cinnamon and Type 2 Diabetes
Perhaps the most promising research pointing to the health benefits of cinnamon is linked to type 2 diabetes. While there is certainly no cure for this metabolic disease, cinnamon can be an important tool in managing its symptoms. Cinnamon can help manage this disease in two different ways. It can reduce blood pressure and have a positive effect on blood markers for those with Type 2 diabetes and has been shown to lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 29%, which can reduce the instance of Type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon works directly on the muscle cells to force them to remove sugar from the bloodstream, where it is converted to energy. The key is in increasing insulin sensitivity in the body, a sensitivity that, while present at birth for those without type 1 diabetes, slowly decreases as we age and consume more sugar. As a result, sugar floats around in the blood, causing diabetes and other health problems. Cinnamon, which is completely non-toxic, repairs the receptors so they are once again responsive to insulin – In time, sugar levels normalize due to an increase in insulin sensitivity.
Several studies have highlighted these possible benefits, including one 2016 research review that found that cinnamon supplements, in conjunction with standard hypoglycemic medications, had “modest effects” on Fasting Plasma Glucose and HbA1c, though the authors noted that “larger and more rigorous” studies were necessary.
Cinnamon may help manage metabolic disease
It’s perhaps no surprise that if cinnamon has possible beneficial effects on type 2 diabetes, it would also be helpful in the management of metabolic disease. One 2016 literature review found that cinnamon could be effective in reducing complications, morbidity, and mortality in metabolic syndrome, including reducing blood pressure, plasma glucose, obesity, and dyslipidemia. But while these possible results of consuming cinnamon are certainly promising, more well-designed subject trials are necessary before true conclusions can be drawn.
Cinnamon can also be used as an appetite suppressant to those with a sugar addiction, thanks to its naturally sweet taste.
Cinnamon could lower your bad cholesterol (or LDL)
Even if you do not suffer from diabetes or metabolic syndrome, you may want to include cinnamon in your diet for many of the same reasons as those who do. The positive impact on Type 2 diabetes symptoms is due to a number of factors, notably – improving serum glucose, lowering fasting blood glucose, and reducing triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol.
The regular intake of cinnamon may also help to mitigate the effects of high-fat meals by slowing the increase in blood sugar after we eat. This means that when cinnamon is added to your diet, the effects of occasional high-fat choices may not be quite as detrimental to your health as they would otherwise be.
Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties
The Health Benefits of Cinnamon extends to fighting fungal, bacterial, and viral elements in foods: It’s no surprise that in the Middle Ages when food spoilage was far more frequent due to lack of refrigeration, many recipes, both sweet and savory, were flavored with the spice.
But these properties of cinnamon do not extend merely to the foods cinnamon seasons. Consumers of cinnamon can benefit from these properties as well. Advocates of cinnamon say that it can be used as part of a treatment for anything from lung problems to the common cold. It helps clear up mucus and encourages circulation thus lending its powers to everything from a simple seasonal cough to bronchitis when used in tandem with other remedies. Evidence has been found that cinnamon can inhibit bacteria by damaging cell membranes and altering their lipid profile, among other means.
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties
It is possible that the consumption of cinnamon could reduce both systemic and specific inflammation, though more human trials are needed in order to render these possible benefits conclusive. Systemic inflammation is a prominent problem that has led to a rise in chronic disease. By adding cinnamon to a regular diet, this systemic inflammation can be reduced significantly.
Specific inflammation reduction means that consumption of cinnamon could help treat certain types of pain and headaches, as well as arthritis pain. It plays a double role in this particular type of pain as cinnamon can also boost circulation. With circulation problems such as Raynaud’s syndrome or arthritis, this helps stimulate and push circulation to the joints.
Cinnamon has antioxidant benefits
Cinnamon has been shown in some studies to have powerful antioxidant benefits: one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed that cinnamon could improve the antioxidant status of overweight or obese individuals, and a 2013 study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that cinnamon essential oils had “very powerful” antioxidant activities in vitro. Cinnamon’s high concentration of antioxidants can help protect the body from damage from free radicals and reduce inflammation, reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases.
It’s possible we’re just brushing the surface here with the Health Benefits of Cinnamon. After all, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have long revered cinnamon for its near superpowers, using it to treat things such as colds, indigestion, and cramps, not to mention for its anti-clotting properties as well as attributes for cognitive function and memory. These societies also believed cinnamon could improve energy, vitality, and circulation. It’s no wonder we’ve dubbed it a superfood!
Where Cinnamon Comes From