Cinnamon: Health Benefits & Uses
Cinnamon is a flavorful spice that comes from the inner bark of cinnamomum trees. You may think of it as a delicious way to flavor baked goods, tea, and other foods, but did you know that cinnamon also makes for a powerful nutritional supplement? Here is a look at some of the many health benefits that cinnamon has to offer.
Stronger heart health
Taking just 120 mg of cinnamon per day has been shown to reduce total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, all while increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. Cinnamon has also been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve blood markers in individuals with type 2 diabetes. These factors together can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
Improved symptoms of diabetes
Cinnamon has major benefits to offer for those with diabetes. As mentioned above, cinnamon has been shown to improve blood markers in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Studies have also shown that cinnamon has significant blood sugar lowering effects. Taking just 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon per day can reduce the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal by helping slow the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract. Cinnamon can even stimulate glucose uptake by cells by mimicking insulin.
Improved symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases
Research has shown that cinnamon may have beneficial effects for those with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Two compounds found in cinnamon seem to inhibit tau protein buildup in the brain, which is a contributing factor for Alzheimer disease. Meanwhile, cinnamon also seems to normalize neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function in those with Parkinson’s disease.
Stronger immune health
Want to give your immune system a boost? Cinnamon is naturally an anti-biotic, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and anti-viral agent. Some studies even show that consuming cinnamon regularly may even reduce your risk of contracting the HIV virus.
Inflammation helps the body repair tissue damage and fight infection, but beyond these functions, inflammation can be harmful to the body. Some people, for example, experience chronic inflammation or inflammation targeted toward the body’s own tissues. Fortunately, cinnamon is rich in antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties—meaning cinnamon can help combat these harmful types of inflammation.
Protection against free radical damage
Cinnamon happens to be rich in antioxidants, meaning it can protect you from damage caused by free radicals. Cinnamon contains one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any food—a similar concentration to what you might find in berries, red wine, or dark chocolate. The antioxidants in cinnamon can reduce oxidative stress, limit nitric oxide buildup in the blood, help and ultimately slow the aging process.
These are only a few of the many health benefits that cinnamon has to offer. Cinnamon has also been linked to lower cancer risk, stronger dental health, stronger digestive health, higher metabolism, reduced allergy symptoms, and better skin.
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