Cinnamon is in everything from baked good to desserts to coffee drinks, and for good reason…it’s tastes great! But did you know that there are many health benefits of cinnamon, too?
What is Cinnamon?
Obtained from the cinnamon tree, cinnamon has a fragrant smell as well as a sweet taste and is widely available in two varieties: Chinese and Ceylon.
According to the McCormick Science Institute, the Chinese have been using this spice for medicinal purposes since the third millennium BC. Other than the Chinese, people in other parts of the world including Egypt and some parts of Europe have used the spice, too. Here are some of the health benefits of cinnamon that should have you reaching for one of the world’s most loved spices.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
1. May protect you from Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that is quite prevalent among senior citizens. Fortunately, a recent study carried out by researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara shows that compounds found in cinnamon could ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the researchers involved in this study, the compounds responsible for halting Alzheimer’s are epicatechin and cinnamaldehyde, and the two compounds work by inhibiting the formation of tau proteins (people with Alzheimer’s tend to have large numbers of these proteins).
2. It’s good for your brain
Another study carried out Dr. P. Zoldaz in 2004 found that smelling or chewing cinnamon flavored gum improved the cognitive processing ability of participants. In particular, it improved study participant’s working memory, visual motor speed, attentional processes, and virtual recognition memory.
So the next time you have to take a test, have an important meeting, or just want to be more alert, grab some cinnamon!
3. It can help control Type 2 Diabetes
Sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits are some of the factors that contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. The good news for people with this type of disease is cinnamon could offer some relief. A wide-scale analysis of medical research found that cinnamon lowers the fasting glucose level of people with type 2 diabetes.
In this study, cinnamon was also found to improve cholesterol levels of patients with Type 2 Diabetes.
4. It lowers blood sugar levels
Even if you don’t have Type 2 Diabetes, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels can help you manage your weight and prevent you from gaining weight. Researchers at Ball State University found that study participants who ate 6 grams of cinnamon with their breakfast cereal had lower blood sugar levels for hours, than participants who didn’t.
It’s more than just a spice to improve the flavor of certain foods there are many health benefits of cinnamon, too. So if you want to improve your blood sugar, your brain function, or fight Alzheimer’s and Type 2 Diabetes, make this spice part of your daily.
Featured image by trophygeek
Originally posted in 10/13 and updated 11/14.