Food & Drink

Benefits of cinnamon

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Uncover and discover the wondrous delights of cinnamon
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Some unexpected health benefits of the world's oldest spice

Cinnamon is a small tree that grows in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam, and Egypt. Although many of us enjoy the culinary delights of cinnamon and its very name is synonymous with old-fashioned candy, few know about the benefits of cinnamon. It's one of the oldest known spices in the world and dates back to the ancient world. It is mentioned in the Bible and was known to the Egyptians not only as a flavoring for beverages but also as an embalming agent!

Considered more precious than gold, cinnamon found its way to the Orient, where it is nobly mentioned in one of the earliest books on Chinese botanical medicine that dates around 2,700 BC. The benefits of cinnamon and popularity of this spice for use in fruit desserts and such did not diminish down through history and in Medieval Europe it became one of the first commodities traded regularly between the Near East and Europe.

What are some of the health benefits of cinnamon?

1- cinnamon as a source of fiber

The trace mineral manganese is resent in cinnamon and this is an excellent source of dietary fiber, iron and calcium. This combination of calcium and fiber can be helpful in the prevention of several different conditions. Both calcium and fiber can bind to bile salts and help remove them from the body.

2- cinnamon and the risk of colon cancer and heart disease

By removing bile, dietary fiber helps to prevent the damage that certain bile salts can cause to colon cells. It is this process which makes cinnamon intake a factor in reducing the risk of colon cancer. In addition, when bile is removed by fiber, the body must break down cholesterol in order to make new bile. This process can help to lower high cholesterol levels, which can be helpful in preventing atherosclerosis and heart disease. For sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome, the fiber in cinnamon may also provide relief from constipation or diarrhea.

3- cinnamon and diabetes

The benefits of cinnamon also include blood sugar. According to the results of several recent studies, cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.

One of the first of such studies was published in 2003 in a medical journal called Diabetes Care. Sixty people with type 2 diabetes took 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon in pill form daily, an amount roughly equivalent to one quarter of a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. After 40 days, all 3 amounts of cinnamon reduced fasting blood glucose by 18 to 29%, triglycerides by 23 to 30%, LDL cholesterol by 7 to 27%, and total cholesterol by 12 to 26%.

4- cinnamonís anti-clotting effect on the blood

The benefits of cinnamon include its profound effects on blood platelets. Research indicates that cinnamon inhibits the release of an inflammatory fatty acid from platelet membranes and can be helpful in lessening inflammation.

5- cinnamonís anti-microbial properties

Cinnamonís essential oils have been studied for their ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. In laboratory tests, growth of yeasts that were resistant to the commonly used anti-fungal medication was often (though not always) stopped by cinnamon extracts. Cinnamonís antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives.

No matter what your preference, be it for vegetarian desserts or high calories fruits and pies, the benefits of cinnamon are enormous and ingesting it as a spice will enhance both your food and your life.

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