Is Cinnamon Good For You?
Is Cinnamon Good For You? And How Is It Made?
Obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum, is the spice we call cinnamon. It is made by cutting the stems of the cinnamomum tree, then the inner bark is extracted, and the woody parts removed.
When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls called cinnamon sticks or quills , and the sticks are then ground into cinnamon powder.
The two main types of cinnamon are
- Ceylon cinnamon- Also known as “true” cinnamon. (Healthiest variety)
- Cassia cinnamon- The more common variety.
Ceylon cinnamon is produced in India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean, while cassia is mainly produced in Vietnam, China, and Indonesia.
Cinnamaldehyde is the compound in cinnamon that is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful medicinal properties. It has a distinct smell and flavor contained within the oil, and may help fight various kinds of infection.
Case in point-Cinnamon has natural antimicrobial properties that have been shown to fight strains of E. coli, as well as Candida yeast. Just one teaspoon of cinnamon packs as much antioxidant punch as a half cup of blueberries.
- Cinnamon is high in antioxidants such as polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can help lower the risk of disease.
- In people with type 2 diabetes, 1 gram of cinnamon per day has beneficial effects on blood markers.
- Cinnamon can improve some key risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.
- Cinnamon has a powerful anti-diabetic effect, and can improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin. This can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, and help to lower blood sugar levels.
- Cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative.
- It may have beneficial effects on neurodegenerative diseases.
- Cinnamon has been widely studied for its potential use in cancer prevention and treatment.
- It helps fight bacterial and fungal infections.
- Cinnamon oil has been shown to effectively treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi.
- It can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella
- The antimicrobial effects of cinnamon may also help prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath
- Cinnamaldehyde has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which may reduce infections and help fight tooth decay and bad breath.
Cinnamon’s History-A Brief
One of the oldest spices in known history, cinnamon has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. It was used in ancient Egypt as a beverage flavoring, a medicine and as an embalming agent. So highly prized, it was considered more precious than gold or silver.
Around 2,700 B.C. cinnamon was mentioned in one of the earliest books on Chinese botanical medicine, and later in the Christian Bible.
In Medieval Europe, cinnamon became one of the first commodities traded regularly between the Near East and Europe.
Cinnamon is not a commonly allergenic food, and is not known to contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines.
However coumarin, a natural substance found in many plants such as Cassia cinnamon is moderately toxic to the liver and kidneys, and is only somewhat dangerous to humans in large doses.
To be clear, most people have probably never experienced any adverse effects from consuming Cassia cinnamon, however the healthier choice would be to use the Ceylon variety, which as a medicinal herb is better researched especially in its extract form, than the Cassia cinnamon.
If you must use the Cassia variety of cinnamon, stick to small doses (no more than 1/2-2 teaspoons a day).
Studies show that the Ceylon variety of cinnamon is much lower in coumarin than the Cassia variety found in most grocery stores. So if you want to go the Ceylon route, you can find organic Ceylon Cinnamon in health food stores, as well as at Amazon.com
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To your good health,