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7 Impressive Health Benefits of Cinnamon

The benefits of cinnamon include slowing down the aging process, controlling inflammation, regulating blood sugar levels and improving the lipid profile of the blood, fighting cancer and reducing the risk of bacterial infections. Other benefits include an improved immune system and increased sensitivity to insulin.

What is cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a spice similar to ginger and turmeric, with a curious taste. It is usually found in brown sticks, although most of its food uses come from ground powder. A curious and versatile herb, cinnamon offers us a great way to get extra health benefits from foods we might neglect: Adding cinnamon to oatmeal, baked goods or even meals can be an effective change with little extra effort. In this article, we discuss the key health benefits of cinnamon that can improve your health and performance. Cinnamon can be divided into two main options: Ceylon and Cassia. These different options have their main health benefits, and we will discuss which are best for specific health benefits.

Then let’s get started. Here are 7 impressive health benefits of cinnamon

1. Oxidation and ageing

Cinnamon, like many other herbs, is incredibly rich in antioxidants. By reducing oxidative stress in the body, we reduce the harmful effects of aging, exercise, poor health, poor nutrition and stress [1]. Cinnamon has one of the highest levels of antioxidants among foods of plant origin, but it is as much a question of quality as it is a question of quantity: The polyphenols and flavonoids in cinnamon are the most potent antioxidants in various plant foods [2].

However, it is important to keep in mind that we tend not to consume cinnamon powder in the quantities we would consume from other foods (such as garlic).

2. Ignition

The polyphenol antioxidants found in cinnamon can also have a profound effect on combating inflammation in the body. Inflammation occurs in response to various stimuli, from exercise to poor nutrition or even regular functioning, and combating excessive inflammation through diet is a great way to improve health and longevity. Especially for athletes, the treatment of inflammation results in better health of muscles, joints and connective tissue [3].

An important effect of these specific cinnamon compounds is to reduce neuroinflammation: Inflammation that affects the brain and nervous system. Degeneration of brain tissue and the nervous system is associated with several diseases, in particular Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Cinnamon has a positive effect on reducing these disorders [4, 5]. It is important to note that reducing this inflammation is not only good for preventing these diseases, but also for reducing the negative effects of ageing on strength, coordination and balance. This natural degeneration, called sarcopenia, usually affects the muscles, but degeneration of the nervous system can also be accompanied by reduced mobility. By reducing inflammation in the nervous system we can reduce the negative effects of aging.

3. Sugar and insulin resistance

Glycemia and insulin resistance are important players in the development of type II diabetes. This condition is associated with the development of insulin insensitivity (usually due to overconsumption of calories and refined carbohydrates over time), leading to unstable and dangerous fluctuations in blood glucose levels. However, cinnamon has a blood sugar regulating effect [6] and increases insulin sensitivity [7], which means that it can reduce both the causes and symptoms of diabetes. Although this is only effective as part of a balanced, carbohydrate-controlled diet, it can lead to major changes over time and help restore normal health.

In addition to regulating blood sugar, cinnamon improves the lipid profile of the blood: Fats in the blood that are related to heart function and can cause heart disease. When we eat cinnamon, it reduces the concentration of these fats in our blood, which means that it can have a positive effect on our heart health and reduce the risk of developing this disease. Since heart disease is the main cause of death in the English-speaking world, it is logical that we want to limit our risk as much as possible.

Heart disease can be fought not only with cinnamon (otherwise it would be much more popular!), but only as part of a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. However, to improve our health, we need to add a variety of foods to this list, and cinnamon should definitely be on that list!

5. Cancer

The above mentioned effects of cinnamon would show that cinnamon has a positive effect on both the chance of developing cancer and relieving the symptoms. For example, oxidative stress is associated with increased DNA damage in cells, which can lead to mutations such as cancer. By reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, cinnamon actively reduces the risk of developing cancer in other healthy people [8].

In addition, cinnamon can be toxic to the development of cancer cells due to its content of a toxic substance called coumarin. For digestive cancers, cinnamon also reduces the risk by improving intestinal health and promoting the excretion of antioxidants in the colon [9].

6. Bacteria and infections

In addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it is also an antibacterial agent that reduces the risk of bacterial infections. Cinnamon, the active compound in cinnamon, has a competitive antibacterial and antifungal mechanism that can be protective when consumed. It is especially effective against fungi and bacteria such as salmonella [10], but also against bacteria that damage teeth and reduce the effect of bacteria that cause bad breath [11].

7. Immune system

The various effects mentioned so far contribute to a strong and healthy immune system. But in addition to simply improving the immune system in healthy people, preliminary research suggests that cinnamon can have an even deeper effect on the immune system of people with HIV-1 [12], a disease that weakens the immune system. This research is still in its infancy and has only demonstrated its effectiveness in rodents and in vitro, but cinnamon has virtually no negative effects, so it seems a reasonable change in diet.