The spice comes from the dried bark of the Laurel tree, native to Sri Lanka. Today, traditional Ceylon cinnamon, called the “real cinnamon”, is not as commonly used as the Cassia Cinnamon; although, they both possess interesting health benefits. Cinnamon, or Cinnamomum zeylanicum, was for a long time a very exclusive commodity in international trade. Believe it or not, during the 15th century the quest for cinnamon was a major factor to the explorations of the world.
Cinnamon is known to have medicinal health benefits. Can you recall why cinnamon has such a well-kept reputation? To refresh your memory, here are seven health-tales of our long loved Cinnamon.
1. Anti-bacterial. Cinnamon is antimicrobial and was historically used mainly to preserve meat due to its high phenol content.
2. Antioxidant. With an ORAC value at 267536 μmol TE/100g, cinnamon is one of the seven most antioxidant rich super foods.
3. Lowers blood glucose. Intake of cinnamon with food slows the blood glucose response and can reduce risk for development of type 2 Diabetes.
4. Helps weight loss. It has been shown in animal studies that cinnamon extract reduces food intake in diabetes-induced rats. Stabilized blood sugar lowers insulin resistance, which in turn promotes smaller release of appetite enhancing and inflammatory inducing insulin after a meal.
5. Antifungal. Cinnamon can be used as an antifungal for nails and feet. Most effective is Ceylon Cinnamon Leaf Oil (use no more than 1% in water).
6. Lowers cholesterol. The spice has shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels, lower overall triglycerides, and increases the “good’ HDL cholesterol.
7. Slows down Alzheimer’s. Two compounds found in cinnamon – cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin - have been shown to prevent the development of the filamentous “tangles” in the brain characterizing Alzheimer’s.
PS! Dosage is always crucial. Stick with normal doses, extreme doses of Cassia Cinnamon has been connected to liver damage.
Next week: Stress – can it be good for you?