by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Cinnamon is one of the oldest and healthiest spices known for its medicinal benefits. This golden spice has a warm flavor and captivating smell and is full of therapeutic benefits. It is extracted from the bark of a small tree from the Cinnamomum family and can be found in the form of sticks or powder.
This incredible spice is centuries old and has been used in ayurvedic medicines for years. A tablespoon of grounded cinnamon contains 1.4 grams of fiber and contains calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Plus, it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin K, and various antioxidants.
Let’s deep dive into the health-related benefits that cinnamon and cinnamon supplements have to offer.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition or disease. You should always consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your regimen to ensure you are healthy enough to do so and to ensure the supplements will not interact with any medications you may currently be taking.
The Benefits of Cinnamon and Cinnamon Supplements
Below you will find some of the many health benefits associated with cinnamon and the use of cinnamon supplements.
1. Loaded with Antioxidants
Cinnamon is packed with powerful antioxidants like polyphenols, which help protect the body from the oxidative damage that is caused by free radicals. This helps in preventing cell damage and the development of chronic diseases.
As per a study that compared the antioxidant properties of 26 spices, cinnamon came out as a winner, outranking garlic and oregano. Because of the large amount of antioxidants, cinnamon can also be used as a natural food preservative.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
As per the studies, cinnamon contains anti-inflammatory properties that help fight against infections and repair tissue damage. The presence of cinnamaldehyde helps reduce swelling and prevents the clumping of blood platelets. This helps manage chronic and painful conditions like arthritis.
3. Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Cinnamon, as well as the use of cinnamon supplements like an extract, helps reduce the risk of heart disease by improving the risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol, and others — according to a 2012 study.
4. Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Cinnamon is well-known for lowering blood sugar levels. It decreases the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream by interacting with enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract. Also, a compound in cinnamon acts by mimicking insulin, which improves the glucose uptake by cells.
Various studies confirm that cinnamon has anti-diabetic properties and can lower blood sugar levels by 10-29%. The effective dose of cinnamon is typically between 1-6 grams per day.
5. Protect Against Cancer
Cinnamon is known for its anti-cancerous properties and has been used by some doctors to prevent and treat cancer. Cinnamon and cinnamon supplements have been shown to help potentially reduce the growth of cancer cells and the formation of the blood vessels in tumors. Regular consumption of cinnamon helps in providing protection against cancer, most importantly colon cancer.
6. Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infection
Cinnamaldehyde, an active compound in cinnamon, helps to fight against various bacterial and fungal infections. Also, cinnamon supplements such as cinnamon oil help treat respiratory infections caused by fungi. Studies show that it inhibits the growth of bacteria like Listeria and Salmonella.
Another study shows that cinnamon helps reduce bad breath and prevent tooth decay.
7. Treat Digestive Problems
If you are facing digestive discomfort, cinnamon may be the solution. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties help to treat gastrointestinal problems. It also helps in treating flatulence and digestive imbalance. To get the most out of cinnamon, consume it in hot beverages like tea or coffee. Also, you can mix honey and cinnamon together to help ease digestive issues.
8. Promote Weight Loss
Consuming honey with cinnamon can also help with weight loss. It reduces the harmful effects of high-fat foods and proves to be effective for weight loss.
During winters, cinnamon creates heat in the body, stimulating the body’s metabolism and balancing the body’s temperature. In this process, excessive calories are burned as fuel, which can lead to weight loss.
9. Enhance Skin Health
Cinnamon is known to treat acne and reduce acne-forming bacteria. Want to give it a try? Prepare an acne mask! Take 3 teaspoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and make a paste. Now apply it to your face and leave it there for around 10 minutes. Then, wash it off.
Should You Use Cinnamon Sticks or Powder?
Well, both sticks and powder (such as cinnamon supplements) are easily available. However, cinnamon powder is more prone to adulteration. If you are buying cinnamon for health-related benefits, it is recommended to buy cinnamon sticks instead of powder. Sticks are compact and are more aromatic. Also, if you want powder, you can simply ground the sticks and use them for cooking if you wish to make your own powder versus purchasing cinnamon supplements.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Cinnamon is one of the healthiest spices that can improve your overall health. From reducing the risk of heart diseases to preventing cancer, it provides various health benefits. Whether you decide to go with a natural cinnamon stick or toss in cinnamon supplements, the health benefits can be vast and, for that reason, should definitely be a part of any well-balanced nutrition plan.