Health Benefits of Cinnamon You Need to Know
The sweet, woody scent of cinnamon has been known from almost the beginning of time as one of the warmest, most soothing fragrances on the planet. Derived from the brown bark of cinnamon trees and native to Sri Lanka, it’s been used for millennia as a spice, a medicine, and an extremely valuable trade commodity. Chinese botanical textbooks mentioned it as early as 2,700 B.C., and Biblical references are numerous.
There are two types: Ceylon cinnamon, produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil, and the Caribbean, and cassia cinnamon, coming mainly from China, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
Cinnamon usually comes in stick or ground powder form. Either way, the best way to preserve its freshness is to store it in a glass container in a cool, dark place (the refrigerator works).
Cinnamon is a popular ingredient in recipes and adds a slightly spicy flavor to numerous dishes.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
While you’d probably be more likely to eat half a teaspoon of cinnamon rather than an ounce in one sitting, the above profile serves as an estimate of the nutritional benefits derived from even the smaller amount. And that, of course, is a bonus to what we think of as the main benefit of this fragrant culinary spice.
What does manganese do for you? A lot, actually. Manganese is a trace mineral that helps the body form strong bones, connective tissues, and sex hormones, and coagulates the blood properly.
It helps metabolize fat and carbohydrates, regulate blood sugar, absorb calcium, and is essential for optimal brain and nerve function. As if that’s not enough, it’s also a component of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, which helps neutralize free radicals that can damage cell membranes and DNA.
Proper levels of manganese have been linked to the prevention of diabetes, arthritis, epilepsy, and even PMS.
Touching on a few more benefits, the oils in cinnamon give it three distinct health benefits: cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol. Platelets help blood coagulate to keep blood from flowing too freely when an injury occurs, but cinnamaldehyde helps prevent it from coagulating too much.
Another advantage is its antimicrobial activity. When researchers tested the effects of just a few drops of cinnamon oil on three ounces of refrigerated carrot broth, the growth of the foodborne pathogenic Bacillus cereus was inhibited for 60 days. But the B.
cereus flourished in the same amount of carrot broth without the cinnamon, despite refrigeration. This antimicrobial effect was known to the ancient Egyptians, who used cinnamon in their mummification processes.
Just smelling cinnamon or chewing cinnamon gum is enough to boost brain activity, according to another study. In fact, test scores were higher, and memory, visual recognition, and motor speed were greatly enhanced in individuals who took a whiff of cinnamon, compared with individuals who smelled jasmine, peppermint, or no fragrance at all. Read More