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Healthy cinnamon

The use of cinnamon dates back as far as 4,000 years ago to Ancient Egypt. It has since been used both medicinally and as a spice around the world.  Cinnamon is harvested from the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum trees.  It was originally noted for its ability to fight illness and now medical research backs up the claims.

This post is not intended to be a scientific paper, to give medical advice, or bog you down in medical terms.  It is simply part of our ongoing effort to encourage people to incorporate more foods known for promoting good health into our diets, and reduce the amount of unhealthy foods we consume.

Cinnamon is an easy way to do just that.  Cinnamon has a naturally sweet taste but almost no calories.  Thus it can often be used as a nutrient packed replacement for sugar.  The benefits in substituting cinnamon for sugar are almost a “no brainer.” Try it in coffee, tea, baked goods, yogurt, on fruit, or in oatmeal instead of sugar.

Cinnamon can be found as cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, cinnamon extracts and essential oils.  Personally I don’t know that I would consider one form better than the others.  As long as you are getting good organic cinnamon in you, you will reap the benefits.  Using it as a spice is the most delicious way to do so.

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Of the most popular herbs and spices, cinnamon actually is at the top in terms of anti-oxidant levels. The compounds responsible for its health benefits are cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, and cinnamate.  These compounds give it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting, cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities.

There are so many benefits of cinnamon when it comes to defending the body from illnesses and supplying nutrients that it is almost impossible to list them all. 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. In terms of antioxidant concentration, cinnamon ranks #7 of all foods, spices, and herbs. It has  been found higher in antioxidants than other powerful herbs and spices including garlic, thyme, rosemary, and oregano.

As little as 1/2 of one teaspoon of cinnamon daily can improve blood sugar levels, digestion, and immunity. Stronger doses are also extremely beneficial for improving heart disease risk and cutting risk your for diabetes, cancer, and neuro-degenerative diseases.

The anti-inflammatory effects of cinnamon combined with its ability to reduce high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels and high blood pressure may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, brain function decline, stroke and more.

Cinnamon lowers swelling and inflammation.  It can help relive muscle soreness, PMS pains, severity of allergic reactions, and other age-related symptoms of pain too.

The medicinal uses of cinnamon were first brought to my attention for its ability to help control blood sugar levels.  It is known to have an anti-diabetic effect. It helps lower blood sugar levels, improve sensitivity to insulin and keep blood sugar levels in balance. Cinnamon 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.  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.

Cinnamon protects cognitive function and brain health is because it activates neuro-protective proteins that protect brain cells from mutation and undergoing damage.  Research also shows that cinnamon can help defend the brain against developing neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Cinnamon can protect against DNA damage, cell mutation, and cancerous tumor 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.

Many natural toothpastes contain cinnamon. Studies have found that cinnamon protects against bacteria living in the oral microflora that could cause bad breath, tooth decay, cavities, or mouth infections. The essential oil from cinnamon can be used to naturally combat bacteria in the mouth, acting like a natural anti-bacterial mouthwash.

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 autoimmune symptoms. 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 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.

I’ve only scratched the surface of what cinnamon is reported to help with in terms of your health.  Adding some to your morning coffee, or sprinkling it on your oatmeal could prove to be the best health insurance you could get!