In many homes, cinnamon is probably one of the most well know and well used spices in our spice rack. In the US, most of us associate cinnamon with treats like pancakes and cookies. However, in other country cinnamon enjoys a place in both sweet and savory dishes. While cinnamon is amazingly tasty, the good news it is also carries many health benefits.
The bark of cinnamon trees is ground to make the spice we typically associate with the idea of cinnamon. This bark is loaded with a variety of protective antioxidants that reduce free radical damage and slow the aging process. These antioxidants help protect our brains and bodies from the aging process.
Cinnamon has been shown to be helpful in the fight against diabetes. Just 1/2 a teaspoon a day may help lower blood sugar levels and also can improve sensitivity to the hormone blood sugar regulating hormone, insulin.
Cinnamon may help fight heart disease by lowering “bad” cholesterol levels and triglycerides, while HDL “good” cholesterol remains unchanged. Cinnamon also seems to increase blood circulation, helping the body to heal itself after injury.
Due to cinnamon’s natural anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties it is used in many cultures to help fight infections.
In Chinese Medicine, cinnamon is considered a “warming spice” meaning adding it to your daily routine may help with feelings of being cold and it also helps stoke the digestive fires.
The extracts found in cinnamon help fight the oral bacteria, leading to fewer cavities and better breath.
With all of the potential health benefits, start thinking about how you want to incorporate more cinnamon into your life. Sprinkle it on oatmeal, add it to smoothies or coffee. Give your meal a Mediterranean feel by adding it to lamb dishes. There are so many ways to add this valuable spice to your repertoire.
Picture from flickr.