Cinnamon (24th June 2022):
Cinnamon, due to its exotic aroma and flavor, is a primary ingredient in the kitchen of every household. From the origin of its use in 2800 BC by our ancestors for several purposes such as perfuming, as a cream and different ailments, it has initiated the interest of numerous researchers. Lately many trials have analyzed the favorable effects of cinnamon in diabetes, blood, brain, and even Parkinson’s disease. After some broad researches, data were collected regarding its antioxidant, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effect. Cinnamon belongs to the Lauraceafamily, and is used mainly as a flavoring operator, while being a key material of our food since a long time. The bark of different cinnamon species is one of the most admired and necessary spices used worldwide not only for cooking, but also in traditional and modern medicines. Overall, on an average 250 species have been identified among the cinnamon class, with trees being scattered all over the globe.
Types of Cinnamon
There are primarily four types of cinnamon:
- True cinnamon or Mexican cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomumzeylanicum),
- Indonesian cinnamon (Cinnamomumburmanni),
- Vietnamese cinnamon (Cinnamomumloureiroi),
- Cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamomumaromaticum).
Benefits of Cinnamon
Loaded With Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals (a group of atoms). Cinnamon is loaded with potent antioxidants, such as polyphenols. In a study that compared the antioxidant properties of 26 spices, cinnamon ended up as the obvious winner, even outranking “superfoods” like oregano and garlic. In fact, cinnamon is so potent that it can be used as a natural food preservative.
Although inflammation helps your body fight infections and restore tissue damage, it can become a complication when it’s chronic and directed against your body’s own tissues. Cinnamon may be effective in this relation. Researches show that cinnamonand its antioxidants have strong anti-inflammatory features. Also cinnamonwater extract possesses anti-inflammatory effect and twigs of a cinnamon plant contain components such as transcinnamaldehyde, eugenol, caryophyllene oxide, L-borneolwhich possess anti-inflammatory action.
May Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
Cinnamon has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disorders, the world’s most usual cause of premature death. In people with type 2 diabetes, about half a teaspoon or 1 gram of cinnamon per day has been proven to have helpful effects on blood markers. It reduces the levels of total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol and tryglycerides, while “good” HDL cholesterol stays unchanged. More recently, a big review research found out that a cinnamon dose of just 120 mg per day can also increase “good” cholesterol levels. And in some other studies, cinnamon has been demonstrated to decrease blood pressure. When combined, all these circumstances may drastically reduce your risk of heart disease.
Improves Sensitivity to the Hormone Insulin
Insulin is one of the prime hormones that maintain metabolism and energy use. It is also necessary for carrying blood sugar from your bloodstream to your cells. The problem is that many people are resistant to the effects of insulin. This is known as Insulin Resistance, a hallmark of intense disorders like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. But cinnamon can apparently decrease insulin resistance, helping this significant hormone do its work. By enhancing insulin sensitivity, cinnamon can reduce blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon is popular for its blood sugar lowering features. Apart from the favorable effects on Insulin Resistance, cinnamon can reduce blood sugar by various other mechanisms. Firstly, cinnamon has been proven to lower the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream after a meal. It does this by trespassing in several digestive enzymes, which delays the breakdown of carbohydrates in your digestive tract. Secondly, a compound in cinnamon can act on cells by imitating insulin. This greatly enhances glucose uptake by your cells. A vast number of human researches have confirmed that anti-diabetic effects of cinnamon have shown that it can lower fasting blood sugar levels by 10 – 29%. The beneficial dose is particularly 1-6 grams or around 0.5 – 2 teaspoons per day.
Beneficial for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurodegenerative disorders are distinguished by progressive loss of the function or structure of the brain cells. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are two of the most common types. Two components found in cinnamon appear to resist the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. In a study on Parkinson’s disease, cinnamon is proven to assist protect neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function.
May Protect Against Cancer
As we all have known for a long time, cancer is a grave condition, distinguished by uncontrolled cell growth. Cinnamon has been vastly studied for its efficient use in cancer treatment and prevention. Overall, the evidences suggest that cinnamon extracts may protect against cancer. It performs by reducing the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumors and happens to be toxic to cancer cells, causing cell death. A research on colon cancer revealed that cinnamon is a strong activator of detoxifying enzymes in the colon, protecting against further cancer outgrowth. These discoveries were approved by test-tube experiments, which showed that cinnamon activates protective antioxidant reactions in human colon cells.
Helps Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Cinnamaldehyde, one of the prime operative components of cinnamon, may help tackle several kinds of infection. Cinnamon oil has been proven to efficiently treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi. It can also resist the growth of specific bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella. The antimicrobial benefits of cinnamon may also help reduce bad breath and prevent tooth erosion.
May Help Fight the HIV Virus
HIV is a virus that gradually breaks down your immune system, which after a long delay can lead to AIDS, if untreated. Cinnamon extracted from Cassia varieties is considered to help fight against HIV-1, the most general strain of the HIV virus in humans.
The Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, cinnamon is one of the healthiest and most delicious spices in the world. It can perform a lot of essential tasks such as lowering blood sugar levels, reducing heart disorder risk factors, and has a vast amount of other fascinating health benefits. You need to make sure to get Ceylon cinnamon or stick to small doses of the Cassia variety under your doctor’s recommendation.
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