Cinnamon is an aromatic spice that can conjure up happy memories of warm, tasty treats and the crispness of fall. A whiff of freshly baked cinnamon rolls can set your mouth to watering. It may also remind you of enjoying a mug of cinnamon-spiked hot apple cider on a wintry day. Cinnamon is a spice that livens up many desserts and beverages. If you enjoy the spicy flavor of cinnamon, you may be happy to know that including it in your diet may also provide health benefits. Furthermore, cinnamon can come in handy in more places than just your kitchen.
10. Two Types of Cinnamon
Cassia cinnamon is the cinnamon you typically find on the shelves of your grocery store. According to Cinnamon Vogue, cassia cinnamon refers to the Cassia, Saigon, and Korintje cinnamons that come mainly from Indonesia. In the U.S., most cooks use Cassia cinnamon, since it is inexpensive and most commonly available. Meanwhile, Ceylon cinnamon is a more expensive type of cinnamon. Ceylon is more widely used in Europe and Mexico. The Ceylon cinnamon comes mainly from Sri Lanka and has a slightly sweeter flavor than Cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin, which may cause kidney or liver disease at high doses.
Cinnamon can add delicious flavor to many dishes. Desserts that take advantage of the spicy flavor of cinnamon include cinnamon rolls, snickerdoodle cookies, donuts, and baked apples. Start off the morning with a bowl of oatmeal topped with apple chunks, pecans, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. You can liven up a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with a dash of this flavorful spice. Furthermore, you can add cinnamon to main dishes. Bobby Flay has a recipe for Asian Spice Rubbed Ribs with Plum-Ginger Glaze. This recipe includes cinnamon, ginger, coriander, peppercorns, and star anise.
8. Decreased Inflammation
You may enjoy allowing cinnamon to tantalize your olfactory senses and tickle your taste buds. If so, the news that cinnamon may have benefits beyond delicious flavor and aroma may be good to hear. Cinnamon is rich in polyphenol antioxidants. Antioxidants are beneficial for preventing cellular damage caused by free radicals in your body. One benefit of antioxidants is decreased inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation lists cinnamon as one of the most beneficial spices for arthritis. Other spices include garlic, turmeric, ginger, and cayenne. Add cinnamon to homemade granola or granola bars for extra flavor.
7. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Your doctor may not prescribe cinnamon toast to protect your heart. However, some studies, such as this one in Diabetes Care, suggest that the spice may have positive effects on cholesterol levels. Other studies suggest cinnamon may contribute to lowering blood pressure. Ree Drummond has a recipe for oven-baked Cinnamon Toast. Ree combines cinnamon with sugar, vanilla, and butter before spreading the mixture on bread and baking it in the oven. The final step is broiling the toast to a golden brown.
6. Improved Blood Sugar Control
Cinnamon may help regulate blood sugar levels. A study in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism linked cinnamon to lowered fasting blood glucose levels. Furthermore, studies such as this one in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology suggest that cinnamon may improve glucose, insulin, blood lipids, and hemoglobin A1c in diabetic patients. The studies on the effects of cinnamon on blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity are intriguing. However, cinnamon does not replace the lifestyle benefits of weight control, a healthy diet, and physical exercise in dealing with diabetes. Furthermore, cinnamon cannot replace prescribed diabetes medications or insulin therapy.
Related: 10 Devious Effects of High Blood Sugar
5. Cancer Prevention
Studies on animals and within the confines of scientific laboratories suggest there may be a link between cinnamon and cancer prevention. Scientists have yet to prove these benefits in humans. However, it may be worth adding a dash of cinnamon to other nutritious, wholesome foods. Whole grains, legumes, antioxidant-rich leafy greens, and vibrant blueberries are foods that deliver the nutrients your body needs and may protect against cancer. Cookie and Kate’s Blueberry Baked Oatmeal with cinnamon makes a delicious, antioxidant-rich breakfast.
4. Antimicrobial Effects
Cinnamon appears to have antimicrobial properties. A study in Frontiers in Microbiology suggests cinnamaldehyde can inhibit organisms such as Staph. aureus. The antimicrobial properties of cinnamon may make it useful for reducing the germs that cause tooth decay. One study suggests that cinnamon oil is more effective than clove oil in reducing the oral germs that contribute to cavities. Furthermore, a European study probed the link between cinnamon chewing gum and a decrease in the germs that cause bad breath. Cinnamon in the chewing gum may reduce the microorganisms in the mouth that produce foul-smelling, sulfurous byproducts.
3. Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease
A 2018 study in Pharmacology Research suggests cinnamon may be useful in preventing the neurodegeneration of Alzheimer’s disease. The cinnamaldehyde compound in cinnamon may inhibit the tau accumulation associated with Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of cinnamon may offer protection to the brain and nervous system. Check out Kitchn’s recipe for Homemade Almond Butter with Honey & Cinnamon. You may just be protecting your brain as well as treating your taste buds. Add a dollop to a bowl of oatmeal or include it in your morning green smoothie.Related: 11 Predictors of Alzheimer’s You Didn’t See Coming
2. Beauty Benefits
The antimicrobial and antioxidant effects of cinnamon make it a healthful addition to skin care products. The Farm Girl Gabs has a recipe for a DIY Cinnamon Sugar Scrub that smells good enough to eat. In this recipe, cinnamon combines with brown sugar, white sugar, almond oil, and cinnamon essential oil. Meanwhile, Hello Glow offers recipes for a homemade cinnamon lip scrub and a Homemade Lip Balm with Lip-Plumping Cinnamon. You can also try whipping up your own Cinnamon and Clove Tooth Powder or Cinnamon Mouthwash.
1. Household Uses
Cinnamon can come in handy in many aspects of your home. Brightnest suggests using cinnamon oil or cinnamon sticks to repel pesky insects such as ants or moths. While moths don’t like the scent of cinnamon, humans do! You can make a deliciously aromatic, room-freshening simmer pot by gently boiling sliced apples, oranges, and cinnamon sticks in water. A couple of drops of cinnamon oil on a light bulb will spread a delicious aroma when the light is turned on. For a fun craft that smells amazing on your Christmas tree, try this recipe for Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments at The Herbal Academy.Related: 10 Natural Sweeteners and How to Use Them