Following are nutritional value and efficacy of cinnamon. Cinnamon contains powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious and anticlotting properties. It is an exceptional source of antioxidants, polyphenols and minerals such as calcium, manganese, iron and dietary fiber – all essential nutrients that help keep your body healthy. In addition, it is a natural source of sugars, carbohydrates, fatty acids and amino acids. Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine. In fact in ancient times, this spice was so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold. It is made from the brown bark of the cinnamon tree and is available in a dried tubular form (known as a quills or sticks) or as a ground powder. Cinnamon has a nice fragrance and a sweet, warm taste. There are approximately one hundred varieties of cinnamon. Key health benefits come from the essential oils found in the bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol.
Nutritional value and efficacy of cinnamon:
Studies have shown that cinnamon may reduce the proliferation of cancer cells, holding promise for cancer prevention and sufferers of the disease. According to research done at the University of Texas, cinnamon may minimize the increase in cancerous cells in the body and, when included regularly in the diet, it can help prevent cancer. Cinnamon also helps reduce the growth rate of leukemia and lymphoma cancerous cells.
Improves Colon Functioning
Cinnamon is an excellent source of fiber, calcium and the trace mineral manganese. The combination of calcium and fiber can improve the functionality of the colon. Both calcium and fiber bind to bile salts and help remove them from the body. By removing bile, fiber helps prevent damage that certain bile salts can cause to colon cells, thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer. The dietary fiber also is very useful in relieving symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome including diarrhea and constipation.
Controls Blood Sugar
Cinnamon has significant benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. It helps their body respond to insulin, thus normalizing blood sugar levels. Certain compounds in cinnamon stimulate insulin receptors and inhibit an enzyme that inactivates them, improving the cells’ ability to use glucose. Regularly consuming less than one-half teaspoon per day reduces blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. It’s easy to incorporate into your daily diet. Simply sprinkle it on your morning oatmeal or cereal, or add a small pinch to your evening tea or coffee.
Boosts Brain Function
Cinnamon has been shown to greatly improve mental alertness. Just smelling the wonderful odor of this sweet spice boosts brain activity! The fragrance can enhance cognitive processing and greatly improve brain functioning related to attention, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed while working on a computer-based program. People who suffer from exam anxiety or nervousness can drink cinnamon tea for its soothing properties that actually calm the mind.
Protects Against Heart Disease
Due to its various anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is very effective in safeguarding the heart and surrounding arteries from damage and infection. The many fatty foods that people snack on nowadays contain cholesterol and unhealthy fats that are known to clogarteries. The plaque and toxins that eventually build up can lead to cardiovascular disease and various other threats to the heart. Cinnamon helps fight the ‘bad’ cholesterol, significantly lowering total cholesterol levels. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help heal inflammation in internal tissues and reduce the risk of heart attacks and disease.
Reduces Arthritis Pain
Cinnamon has been shown in studies to reduce cytokines linked to arthritic pain. Patients given one-half teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week, and could walk without pain within one month.
Treats Respiratory Infection
Cinnamon is believed to heal and provide relief from common colds and flus. To relieve a sore throat, add one to two teaspoons of ground cinnamon to a steaming hot cup of green tea or cider. Add lemon juice to help combat a respiratory infection. If you have a common cold or cough, make a mixture of lukewarm honey and one-quarter teaspoon of cinnamon and drink it twice daily, after breakfast and before bed.
Reduces Bad Cholesterol
Cinnamon can significantly reduce the level of triglycerides and LDL (“bad cholesterol”) in your blood, thereby lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease. The active ingredient, methylhydroxychalcone polymers, present in cinnamon also can increase your cells’ ability to metabolize sugar by up to 20 times. To help control your cholesterol level, just sprinkle a bit of cinnamon powder into your coffee or on your oatmeal once a day.
Treats Neurodegenerative Diseases
Cinnamon has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that reduce constant inflammation of the internal tissues of the brain, thereby protecting it from numerous neurological disorders. Cinnamon’s powerful and natural ingredient also may curb or delay the onset of a variety of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors and meningitis.
Improves Blood Circulation
Cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin that has blood thinning properties. This helps improve blood circulation throughout the body. However, it is important to bear in mind that too much coumarin may lead to liver damage and malfunctioning, so it is best to consume cinnamon in small amounts.
Although cinnamon is very beneficial to your health, don’t overdo it thinking you’ll get more benefits by consuming large doses at a time. In fact, large quantities of cinnamon may be poisonous and damage your liver. Nursing and pregnant mothers should also be cautious when consuming cinnamon.