Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of trees, scientifically known as Cinnamomum. It is an ingredient that has been valued throughout history, both for its gastronomic uses and for its medicinal applications. Do you know the health properties of cinnamon?
While not a miracle ingredient for fighting disease, cinnamon does have health-promoting compounds. According to information from Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition , it has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering and immunomodulating effects.
Furthermore, it has shown promising results as an adjunct in the treatment of diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Best of all, it is a very economical ingredient that can be easily purchased in supermarkets and health food stores. Learn more about its main uses.
Types of Cinnamon
There are many types of cinnamon, but only four are used for commercial use:
- Cinnamon cassia: is the cheapest and possibly the most consumed. Its consumption in high doses is not recommended to avoid possible liver damage.
- Ceylon Cinnamon: it is of better quality and, when ingested in moderate amounts, it is not harmful to the body. Its flavor is smooth, sweet and fragrant.
- Cinnamon Korintje: is a cinnamon similar to cassia.
- Saigon Cinnamon : Also known as Vietnamese cinnamon, cinnamon is considered to have the best taste and smell, although its high levels of coumarin can be harmful to health.
Cinnamon Health Benefits
Cinnamon is known around the world for its specific taste and smell. This is due to its oilier part, which is rich in a compound called cinnamaldehyde. According to information from the National Library of Medicine of the United States, this substance has hypoglycemic, vasodilator and antifungal effects.
In fact, many of cinnamon’s health properties are attributed to this substance. However, it should be noted that in high doses, cinnamon can be harmful. Therefore, its consumption must be moderate, always in small amounts.
Furthermore, cinnamon is not a cure for diseases and can interfere with the action of certain medications. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor before consuming it as a supplement. After making this clear, let’s look at the details of its properties.
1. Helps to reduce inflammation
Cinnamon’s antioxidant components have an anti-inflammatory effect that helps reduce the risk of disease. This is supported by a study published in Food & Function , which suggests that its organic extracts have powerful anti-inflammatory activity. This usually prevents inflammation from attacking the body’s own tissues.
2. Favors glucose control
People with type 2 diabetes find cinnamon a great ally. Consuming this spice on an empty stomach and after eating helps lower blood sugar levels, as evidenced by a study published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism .
According to other research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition , cinnamon compounds, such as hydroxychalcone, act on cells with an insulin-like effect. In any case, it does not replace medical treatments. It is important to consult your doctor about possible interactions of this spice with drugs.
3. Helps fight athlete’s foot
Cinnamon essential oil, due to its antifungal properties, is used to treat foot fungus. To do this, apply a few drops of oil to the affected area, making a gentle massage. Then leave it on overnight, covering your foot with a sock.
4. Reduces respiratory problems
Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Therefore, as noted in a study published in the journal Nutrients , it helps to reduce the symptoms of respiratory problems. For this purpose, it can be consumed as an infusion, up to 2 times a day.
5. Helps to lose weight
Cinnamon cannot reduce excess weight on its own. It must be remembered that a healthy weight is the sum of several factors, such as healthy eating and regular exercise. However, due to its interesting properties, this seasoning can serve as a supplement to lose weight.
A recent meta-analysis published in Clinical Nutrition concluded that cinnamon supplementation favors obesity control. Therefore, it can be suggested as a supplement for overweight people.
6. Take care of brain health
Cinnamon has essential oils, magnesium, zinc flavonoids and iodine, which favor blood circulation and, therefore, the proper functioning of the brain.
In a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, it was found that substances such as cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin contained in this spice act on a protein in the brain called tau, which is often associated with Alzheimer’s disease. For now, this effect continues to be researched.
7. Helps to reduce premature aging
Due to its concentration of nutrients and antioxidants, it is not surprising that cinnamon also benefits skin health. It is believed that both its consumption and its external application can contribute to the prevention of premature aging. Anyway, there is a lack of evidence to prove this effect.
- You can apply it like a mask by combining it with honey. However, this application is not recommended for sensitive skin.
8. Relax the muscles
Cinnamon essential oil is used in combination with a carrier oil to massage the muscles. Thus, it seems to help reduce tension and mild pain. It can also be helpful to add oil to the bath water.
9. Relieves menstrual pain
A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research concluded that cinnamon can be considered a safe and effective treatment for primary dysmenorrhea. When you experience menstrual pain, a cup of the infusion works as a tranquilizer.
10. Helps to take care of bone health
Although the evidence in this regard is limited, consumption of cinnamon can be beneficial in managing bone health. Both its antioxidant content and its minerals and anti-inflammatory agents would be behind this effect. Specifically, they could help reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and inflammatory conditions.
Cinnamon for health care
By itself, cinnamon is not a treatment for illnesses. However, combined with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, it is beneficial. Its components, according to several investigations, have shown positive health effects.
The important thing is to consume it in moderate amounts. For safe use, it is ideal to consult your doctor before consuming it regularly. The provider can help determine if there are any risks of undesirable effects or possible contraindications.