Is Cinnamon Really That Healthy?
Well, it's that time of year where everything pumpkin is popular. But would all that yummy pumpkin food be so delicious if it wasn't for the addition of cinnamon?
Hmm. I personally don't think so. So, could your favorite pumpkin treats be giving us an extra benefit besides just all that tasty yumminess? Yes, and it's all about the cinnamon!
Hi, my name is Marcie Vaske and I'm a functional medicine nutritionist specializing in gut health. I work with clients who live with digestive symptoms such as gas, bloat, diarrhea, and constipation, just to name a few.
As we continue to learn more and more about the significance of having a healthy gut, it makes sense that that my clients will also struggle with issues that can be related to gut health and often improved using a functional nutrition approach, like hormone imbalance, thyroid issues, insulin dysregulation, and autoimmune diseases.
If this sounds like you, or someone that you know, then you are invited to schedule an initial appointment with our clinic here: initial appointment. Or if you're the kind of person who likes to do things on their own, or maybe you just wanna gain some extra knowledge into gut health, you can download our free guide, which is called Five Ways to Improve Your Gut Health.
Oh, delicious Cinnamon. How I do love you. I actually add it to something I eat every day, and not only because I love the taste of it, but also because of the magical benefits of it.
Is Cinnamon Really That Healthy?
So today I'm going to discuss and explain to you the reasons why you might want add cinnamon more often than just during this pumpkin season to all your food.
Cinnamon is actually made from the bark of a tree, and this bark contains many, many special compounds that are responsible for its many health-promoting properties which make it a really powerful spice that has been used medicinally around the world for thousands of years.
And interestingly enough, researchers have found that cinnamon ranks at number one out of 26 of the most popular herbs and spices in the world in terms of that protective antioxidant.
That's not even to mention its powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-diabetic properties. Cinnamon has been shown to help with several health concerns. Some of which include diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, yeast infections, and oral infections.
Okay, so your next question may be, this sounds great, can I just use any old cinnamon?
Well, there are certain types of cinnamon that actually have the best outcomes. And there are approximately 250 different species of cinnamon have been identified so far. But, there are really two main types that we're gonna talk about today.
Two Types of Cinnamon
The first one is called Ceylon cinnamon or Ceylon, which is sometimes labeled as a true or real cinnamon.
The second one is called Cassia cinnamon, or you may even see it called Saigon or Chinese cinnamon, which is the one that's more widely available and probably the one that you have up in your cupboard right now.
So to date, we have found that Cassia has actually been studied more extensively than Ceylon, but researchers really think that Ceylon might actually have more health benefits than Cassia.
Ceylon actually contains less of a compound called coumarin the Casia. And this coumarin can be potentially damaging to the liver when consumed in large amounts. And so, it is for that reason that Ceylon is the better option for producing cinnamon extracts that contain highly concentrated doses of spice.
But if you're just sprinkling it on your food here and there, doing the Cassia cinnamon is going to be safe too. Now, for those of you who haven't tasted the Ceylon cinnamon, it kind of has a lighter, more citrusy taste than the Cassia, which is where Cassia is actually considered a little bit deeper and spicier.
Both types can also contain plenty of health benefits, but Ceylon is actually considered to be more potent. Is Cinnamon Really That Healthy?
Reasons why Cinnamon is healthy
The first reason is what I briefly touched on earlier, which is the antioxidant properties of cinnamon. Cinnamon is packed with a variety of protective antioxidants that actually reduce free radical damage and slows down the aging process.
In fact, researchers have identified at least 41 different protective compounds found within the spice to date. Cinnamon also ranks number seven of all foods, herbs, and spices with the highest amount of antioxidants and even greater antioxidant power than commonly used herbs like thyme, garlic, and rosemary.
So just with that information alone, it's no wonder you want add that into your food, such as by sprinkling it on your oatmeal and fruit. There are tons of ways you can add it in.
The next reason is that it relieves inflammation. The antioxidant in cinnamon can actually help relieve systemic inflammation because of the different types of flavonoids that it contains.
And they are all very highly effective in fighting dangerous inflammation levels throughout the whole body. Because this powerful spice actually lowers swelling and prevents inflammation, it's wonderful for pain management. So if you are struggling with a lot of inflammation in your body, or you have some pretty intense pain, this would be another reason to sprinkle on that cinnamon.
Studies have shown that Cinnamon helps to also reduce muscle soreness, decrease menstrual pain, lessen the severity of allergic reactions, and also relieve age-related symptoms of pain. So sprinkle it on.
Stabilizes blood sugar
The fourth reason and this is a fun one, is that cinnamon actually stabilizes blood sugar. Cinnamon has been well-known for its anti-diabetic effects, which is why it's considered one of the best foods for diabetics.
What research has actually found is that it can lower blood sugar levels and improve that sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which supports and transports sugar from the bloodstream to the tissues to keep blood sugar levels balanced.
Studies have suggested that cinnamon for diabetics can help block the activity of several digestive enzymes to slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream after a high-carb meal. So wonderful reasons to put this into your foods for balancing out your blood sugar. And I talk about that every day, all day long, how we need to balance the blood sugar.
So using cinnamon will not only help people with diabetes, but it can even help the average person just walking around if you have a high-carb meal, sprinkle it on because as you, as I suggested and talked about that it kind of inhibits our blocks, those digestive enzymes and slows that absorption of sugar. And so it's a great idea for all of us.
Fights against infections and viruses
So another great reason that you should be adding cinnamon is it fights infections and viruses. So perfect for this time of the season when things are getting colder and we're trying to boost up our immune systems.
But cinnamon has potential benefits to defend our body from illnesses, as I mentioned earlier, due to the antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and even antiviral properties. Further, it has essential oils that contain powerful immune-boosting compounds. So again, adding that cinnamon to your food is a great idea.
The next reason is going to be it actually prevents candida. So research suggests that the powerful antifungal properties in cinnamon could be very effective in treating and preventing candida. And candida is actually an overgrowth of yeast in our digestive tract.
It has been shown in research that it can lower the amounts of candida Albicans, which is the yeast that can cause candida overgrowth, followed by digestive and/or autoimmune issues.
So if you're eating a diet high in carbohydrates, it increases the amount of sugar in the digestive tract, which can increase that candida. So throwing that cinnamon on is going to help you in two ways: to boost your immune system and improve your glycemic blood sugar response.
Has a naturally sweet taste
Now one of the last reasons that I'm going to talk about regarding why you should be adding cinnamon to your food is that it has a naturally sweet taste.
So adding cinnamon to your foods or recipes, can help cut down on the amount of sugar you might normally use, which affects the glycemic load on your meal and can further help to support your blood sugars to stay stable.
This also means that it can help to curb cravings, because it stabilizes the blood sugar, and is a little sweet so it's tasty.
So consider sprinkling some on our oatmeal, and/or adding some to your coffee! You can put it on yogurt, fruit, anything, basically anything you think cinnamon's gonna taste yummy on.
So you may be wondering, Okay, I know why I should be doing this and it sounds like a great idea, but how can I add this in?
Well, first of all, as I said, you can easily add it to your food. You can do even just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day will have wonderful benefits to your immune system, digestive system, and your blood sugar.
But if you don't really like the taste of cinnamon and you still want the benefits, you can also find it in capsule form, but you will want to make sure you're getting what's in the product.
So make sure you look at the ingredients and it might be even most beneficial to work with a practitioner if you're going to be supplementing with cinnamon, because you can overdo it and there might be adverse reactions, such as if you're on medications.
All in all, I hope I've talked you into adding some cinnamon this pumpkin season.
If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.
Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH