Cinnamon is a very common and delicious spice. However, many people do not know where cinnamon comes from and the many health benefits that it can provide them if they take a small amount each day. Continue reading to learn more about the health benefits of cinnamon.
What Is Cinnamon
As previously mentioned, cinnamon is a common spice. It comes from the inner layer of bark off of trees called Cinnamomum trees. Most of the worlds cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka where it is grown and harvested. There are also two different kinds of cinnamon. These two being Cassia and Ceylon.
Cassia cinnamon is made from Cinnamomum cassia trees, a type of Cinnamomum tree. It tends to be darker than the Ceylon cinnamon and is considered lower quality. However, it is very cheap and is the most commonly used cinnamon around the world. You can find this cinnamon in your local supermarket.
Ceylon cinnamon, also called “true” cinnamon is made from Cinnamomum Verum trees. It has a tan-brown color. It is less common than cassia and is a little expensive compared to cassia cinnamon. If available, use this kind of cinnamon, however, cassia can work too.
Health Benefits Of Cinnamon
Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds that can damage the body if their levels become too high. Your body is exposed to them when it metabolizes the food that you eat. It is also exposed to them through things like cigarette smoke, air pollution, and UV light from the sun.
Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants. One study published back in 2005 compared the antioxidant activity of 26 different spices. Cinnamon had the most antioxidant activity and even beat known superfoods such as garlic and oregano.
Heart disease is the world’s most common cause of death. If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, you are at risk of developing heart disease. One study showed that in people with type two diabetes, half a teaspoon of cinnamon each day could reduce LDL cholesterol levels while the good HDL cholesterol levels remained the same.
Another big review study showed that a 120mg serving of cinnamon can have the same effects. This study also showed that it can increase the good HDL cholesterol levels.
In addition to being able to help lower the risk of heart disease, cinnamon can help fight bacterial and fungal infections. This is due to Cinnamaldehyde, one of the active components of cinnamon. One study showed that cinnamon could prohibit the growth of certain bacteria like salmonella.
Another study showed that these anti micro bacterial effects of cinnamon could also help prevent tooth decay. The same study also concluded that cinnamon could reduce bad breath.
Possible Side Effects
There are many great health benefits of cinnamon. However, there are some side effects that you should be cautious of. These side effects only are present in the cassia cinnamon as it contains quite a bit of coumarin. Coumarin is a colorless compound found in plants that are used as a chemical defense against predators. Some possible side effects include possible liver damage, mouth sores, low blood sugar, and even breathing problems.
While a little bit of cinnamon each day won’t be harmful to your health if you take cassia cinnamon excessively you are at risk of these. Ceylon cinnamon does contain some coumarin, however, it only contains trace amounts that are not harmful.
There are many great dishes that contain plenty of cinnamon. To start, you can simply make a piece of toast and cover it with a little cinnamon. Another option is to simply eat the cinnamon straight. However, do not approach this like the cinnamon challenge as if you get too much cinnamon in one bite, you could accidentally inhale it. All Recipes has a list of cinnamon recipes that you can see here.
To recap, the two main kinds of cinnamon are Cassia and Ceylon. Cassia is more common and cheaper than Ceylon, but it contains more coumarin. If you have too much coumarin, you are at risk of side effects. Cinnamon can have many health benefits that you can receive. These include being loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals. Another benefit is being able to reduce the risk of heart disease. The last health benefit covered is cinnamon’s ability to fight bacterial and fungal infections.
Be sure to check out one of our previous articles to learn about the Best Indoor Plants for Your Health