Cinnamon is an ancient spice which was discovered as far back as 4,000 years ago. It is native to Sri Lanka and therefore the best quality cinnamon is often referred to as Ceylon Cinnamon. However, the use of cinnamon for culinary as well as other purposes has been recorded all over the world for centuries. Right from being used by the Egyptians for the embalmment procedure to the modern day American kids using cinnamon powder to top up their breakfast cereal, cinnamon has come a long way.
Cinnamon has been most popular as a culinary spice for adding the sweet spicy flavour to dishes. It is mostly used in dessert preparations such as pastries, rolls etc. and is particularly liked because of its mouth-watering fragrance and exotic taste. Cinnamon has also often be used as a substitute for sugar. However, apart from lending any dish a subtle sweet yet spicy flavour and a wonderful aroma, cinnamon also comes with its own set of nutrients which make it a delicious yet healthy spice.
How Does Cinnamon Benefit Your Body?
Cinnamon is derived from the bark of tree. The best and most popular form in which cinnamon is used is in the form of cinnamon powder. Being a spice, it is a popular ingredient in the kitchen to add flavour and taste. However, cinnamon also contains carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and a good amount of energy. Some of the ways in which cinnamon can benefit your body are:
Cinnamon Contains Anti-Oxidants to Fight Free Radical Damage
Cinnamon is one of the best foods to detoxify the body of all the waste and toxins and cleanse the blood. It also prevents free radical damage which occurs due to oxidative reactions inside the body and cause even the healthy cells to get damaged. Radical damage is the main cause for ageing of the skin and in extreme cases it can even cause cancer. Needless to say, the polyphenols present in cinnamon are such strong antioxidants that cinnamon has been said to be a power food even more beneficial than natural anti-oxidant foods like garlic and green tea.
Cinnamon Controls Blood Sugar and Prevents Diabetes
Although the taste of cinnamon is a sweet-spicy one, cinnamon actually does not contain any sugar. In fact, cinnamon is often used as a substitute for powdered sugar by diabetics or those who are more health conscious. Cinnamon controls the level of sugar in the blood by making sure that the stomach empties out slowly. This ensures that the glucose is released into the blood slowly so that the person starts feeling hungry after a longer period of time. Moreover, cinnamon also increases the body’s sensitivity to the insulin produced.
Cinnamon Maintains a Healthy Heart
Cardiovascular diseases are mostly associated with a weakened heart or clogged up arteries. The anti oxidant function of cinnamon ensures that the arteries remain healthy and the blood remains flowing smoothly. Moreover, heart problems often occur because of high sugar levels in the body which cause tissue damage as well as inflammation. This in turn negatively affects the arteries and causes them to harden, thus affecting the blood flow. However, the anti-oxidants present in Cinnamon have been proven to be effective towards preventing tissue damage as well as inflammation and regulating the blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon Keeps the Brain Healthy and Sharp
Studies have even proven that Cinnamon has a positive effect on the functioning of the brain by improving the cognitive processing and even boosting the attention spans and visual motor responses. It has also been said that after an intensive brain surgery or trauma experienced by the patient, cinnamon has been helpful in repairing the brain cells. Apart from this, cinnamon is also a great comfort food and can instantly lift your spirits up.
Cinnamon Helps in Controlling Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease
Since cinnamon has such a direct effect on the brain cells, it is not surprising that it aids in managing neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Various studies have been conducted which have proven that cinnamon has a significant role in improving the levels of neurotransmitters and normalizing other neuron and motor functions.
Cinnamon Can Prevent and Aid in Curing Cancer
Although it has still not been confirmed, studies are underway which have shown cinnamon to be almost toxic for cancer cells. Cinnamon can not only prevent cancer by inhibiting unnatural growth of cells but it can even stop formation of blood vessels in the cancerous cells and ultimately cause cell death. It has proven to be especially beneficial for colon cancer.
How You Can Make Cinnamon a Part of Your Diet
Cinnamon rolls are sure to be a favourite breakfast item for most people. However, there are many healthier ways how you can make use of this flavourful spice. The following are just some of the tips you can follow in the kitchen:
Cinnamon can be added to coffee or even your daily cup of milk.
Cinnamon can also add a touch of flavour and aroma to the otherwise bland oatmeal or whole wheat cereal.
Cinnamon can even be mixed in with some sweet bread spreads like butter, peanut-butter etc. or sprinkled on top of the toast separately.
Cinnamon can be used to sprinkle on any dessert made with chocolate or vanilla.
Freshly cut fruits, especially berries also taste great with a dash of cinnamon powder.