One of my favorite desserts is apple pie, but it took me a long time to realize that what I actually love so much about that sweet treat is the cinnamon. This common household spice, has been used to season food for centuries, especially desserts.
The warming spice is often used in baking, but it’s also used in curries, teas, and other meals. Cinnamon sugar is a particular favorite for people everywhere, perfect for french toast, waffles, and sticky buns. According to Medical News Today, it has been eaten by people since at least 2000 BC, when ancient Egyptians considered it a prized substance. Later, in medieval Europe, doctors used the spice to treat medical conditions, including sore throats, coughing, and arthritis.
Today, people still use it to treat ailments and there are actually some incredible health benefits of cinnamon. If you love the sweet and spicy flavor it provides, you need to learn more about the health benefits.
Health Benefit #1: Antioxidants
Cinnamon is a wonderful spice because it’s loaded with antioxidants, including polyphenols. Antioxidants protect our bodies from free radicals, which damage the body and speed up the aging process. According to Rice University, antioxidants fight cell damage, thus also fighting aging, cancer, and a variety of diseases.
Health Benefit #2: Fights Diabetes
One of the common health claims regarding cinnamon is that it fights diabetes. WebMD explains that Cassia cinnamon contains chemicals that can improve insulin sensitivity and other chemicals, which may improve blood sugar control. And according to Authority Nutrition, cinnamon can decrease the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. There is also a compound in cinnamon that mimics insulin.
Health Benefit #3: Protects Heart Health
A study published in Diabetes Care found that cinnamon intake can lead to lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. Another study published in The Annals of Family Medicine found that it raised HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels. Other studies have shown that cinnamon can reduce blood pressure. When combined with lower total cholesterol, lower LDL levels, and higher HDL levels, this can have a large impact on the heart.
Health Benefit #4: Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is the way our bodies fight infections and repair tissue damage, but too much inflammation can be problematic. The Cleveland Clinic explains that chronic inflammation can cause discomfort and can even trigger disease processes. The antioxidants in cinnamon can act as anti-inflammatories, which can lower swelling and decrease inflammation. According to a study in Food & Function, it can help with the pain related to PMS, allergic reactions, muscle soreness and more.
Health Benefit #5: Naturally Freshens Breath
Anytime you realize you have smelly breath, you might reach for a mint or a piece of gum. Gum comes in many flavors, including mint, bubble, fruity flavors, and even cinnamon. Instead of reaching for a piece of cinnamon gum next time your breath gets a little stale, opt for some natural cinnamon instead. A study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that it can also fight the oral bacteria that cause tooth decay and cavities.
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