Cinnamon is not only one of the most delicious spices, it is also one of the healthiest spices. It smells really good too. It can be added to savoury dishes such as pancakes, French toast, cinnamon rolls or mixed with honey and water for a healthy drink. Cinnamon is available in several forms, including ground powder, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon bark oil, or even capsules. It can also be used with other spices such as ginger or cardamom.
Here are some of the benefits of cinnamon.
- Lowers bad cholesterol
Many people struggle with weight problems. A World Health Organization (WHO) study showed that about 640.9 million (12.8 per cent) of adults are obese. The most affected people in Kenya are women with a third of the female population being overweight. Consumption of cinnamon helps in lowering bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol causes heart diseases such as strokes, respiratory problems and weakens the body’s immunity.
- Rich in anti-oxidant properties
The world is filled with toxic materials in the air and in the food we eat. To counter such harmful qualities, it is important to consume foods rich in anti-oxidant properties like it is your second religion. These properties fight off cancerous cells in the body. Cinnamon actually ranks number one in terms of its protective antioxidant levels. Therefore, cinnamon is good in preventing the growth of cancer cells and fighting cancerous cells.
Inflammation is a result of immune cells trying to heal the body in case of an injury. This produces heat and swelling. In some cases, it can be caused by an allergic reaction and some people suffer from chronic inflammation. Cinnamon counters the effects of inflammation such as pain, muscle soreness and swelling. It can also be used for menstrual cramps and age-related pains.
- Digestive Discomfort
It is common to suffer from indigestion. A quick and natural way to relieve bloating and indigestion is having cinnamon. Cinnamon bark oil is cited as the active part for treating flatulence and digestive imbalance. As a result of this, it helps in weight loss. Cinnamon also protects the walls of the stomach and small intestines, basically protecting the integrity of the gut, by reducing the production of gastric acid which causes ulcers.
- Protects dental health
Traditionally, cinnamon was used to treat toothaches and as toothpaste. Now it has several oral uses. Cinnamon is used as a flavour in chewing gum. Further, it helps in preventing mouth odour for fresh breath. Cinnamon extracts also prevent oral bacteria that cause decay and cavities. General oral health is important not only for beauty purposes but because it prevents infections which can lead to other diseases.
- Protects brain functionality
Studies have shown that cinnamon enhances learning abilities. It activates neuro-proteins that prevent brain cells from mutation or damage thus preventing disease like Alzheimer’s for ageing brains. Inhaling cinnamon fragrances or chewing cinnamon-flavoured gum was found to improve cognitive performance in an adult. Therefore, if you’re studying for an exam, chewing cinnamon gum might result in better grades.
- Sweeter substitute
Cinnamon is a great substitute for sugar in recipes since it has a sweet taste. For diabetic people, it not only cuts on sugar but helps in preventing sensitivity to insulin.
There is no denying that cinnamon is one of the most valuable products on earth. In fact, it once cost more than a gold bar. This shows the true value of cinnamon. Though it is readily available and affordable now, many people still don’t realize its benefits.
Here are some other spices you should be taking regularly – ginger, cloves, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin and garlic. Also check out Turning to nature for relief: 8 common spices that act as medicines.