Method 1 Incorporating Cinnamon Into Your Diet
- Use cinnamon to replace sugar.
Because cinnamon is so flavorful, it can often replace small amounts of sugar in stove-top recipes, sauces, meat, and vegetable dishes. Replacing a sweetener with this spice can help reduce the amount of sugar you consume and improve your blood glucose levels.
- Cinnamon is considered safe when used in the amounts normally found as foods– this works out to roughly ½ to 1 teaspoon or about 1000 mg per day.
- Add cinnamon to your breakfast.
For instance, stir cinnamon and a small amount of agave nectar into oatmeal in the morning, adding berries and nuts to make it an even more nutritious breakfast. Or top off buttered whole grain toast with a dash of cinnamon and a sprinkle of a crystallized sweetener like Stevia or Splenda.
- Cinnamon also goes well with peanut butter or sugar-free jam on toast.
Use cinnamon in meat sauces. Cinnamon pairs well with poultry, pork, and beef spice rubs as well as Asian-themed dishes, marinades, and salad dressings. Mixing to taste, replace some of the sugar or brown sugar with cinnamon for homemade barbecue sauces, pulled pork marinade, berry compotes, and even marinara sauces.
Replace sugar in vegetable dishes. Use cinnamon in place of brown sugar or regular sugar in candied vegetable dishes, such as candied yams, baby carrots, or sweet stir fry. Cinnamon lends a complex, sweet flavor without the spike in glucose.
- Use cinnamon in baking.
Baking is perhaps the easiest way to incorporate more cinnamon into your diet. If you enjoy homemade breads, muffins, breakfast bars, cookies, or pies, cinnamon can be easily added to virtually any recipe you love.
- Stir cinnamon into baked good recipes. Extra cinnamon mixes best with dry flour, and you should mix thoroughly to prevent clumping. If a recipe already calls for some cinnamon, try doubling the amount or reducing the amount of a spice like nutmeg to replace it with cinnamon.
- Use cinnamon to dust baked goods. If cinnamon has already been incorporated into a baked good recipe, try using a baker’s brush or sifter to lightly dust the top of the muffin, cake, or bread with cinnamon while it is still warm from the oven.
- Add cinnamon to sweet and savory canning recipes.
Canning fruits and vegetables offers an easy way to sneak cinnamon into snacks and sides that otherwise would be free of cinnamon. When used appropriately, cinnamon can make an excellent addition to sweet and savory canning recipes.
- Use cinnamon heavily in recipes like apple or pumpkin butter, canned apples, and applesauce.
- Add a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon to each large Mason jar of other fruits, like canned peaches or strawberries.
- If you are canning or pickling savory foods, consider adding cinnamon with cucumbers, green beans, onions, beets, and even bell peppers.
Use cinnamon in drinks. Try adding a little cinnamon to your coffee grounds in the morning to get a cinnamon-flavored cup of caffeine, or mix it into smoothies, diet shakes, and dairy-based blended drinks to get an extra dose of cinnamon in your day.
Method 2 Adding a Cinnamon Supplement to Your Treatment Regimen
Consider taking a cinnamon supplement. If you don’t want to add cinnamon to your meals, you can still add it to your diet by taking a supplement. Many health supplement and natural food stores sell cinnamon supplements at affordable prices.
- Talk to your health professional about adding a cinnamon supplement.
While a low-dose cinnamon supplement is unlikely to harm you, your medical advisor may be aware of potential interaction effects with your medications that would make it risky to take cinnamon regularly. It can interact with your diabetes medications, as both the cinnamon and the hypoglycemics work to lower your blood sugar and it is important to be certain that your blood glucose levels drop too low.
- Keep track of how much cinnamon you are taking and keep track of your blood sugar levels using a home glucose monitor– you will soon be able to determine how much cinnamon you need to help control your blood sugar.
- Consider a supplement of 500mg of cinnamon per day.
500 mg of cinnamon taken twice a day has been shown to improve A1c levels (and the levels of blood fats). A1c is used to determine average glucose levels for the previous 3 months, thus lowered A1c levels reflect improved diabetic control.
Method 3 Understanding Why Cinnamon Helps with Diabetes
- Learn about diabetes.
Diabetes is a group of chronic hormonal disorders that results in too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. There are a number of forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, usually appearing when a person is quite young. Type 2 diabetes is an acquired disorder that used to be considered an adult condition that is unfortunately appearing more and more often in children. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. A third form of diabetes is called gestational diabetes and occurs in the second half of pregnancy and is relatively common, occurring in less than 10% of pregnant women.
- Some physicians include pre-diabetes as an early form of diabetes. Individuals with prediabetes have higher than normal levels of blood glucose, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetics. Individuals with pre-diabetes (also known as insulin resistance) have a very high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Investigate how insulin affects blood sugar.
Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is the main chemical messenger that “tells” the cells that it is time to take up glucose. Insulin is involved in messaging the liver to take up glucose and transform it into the storage form of glucose known as glycogen. Insulin is also involved in a wide range of other functions like protein and fat metabolism.
- All diabetics can also be said to have insulin resistance. The reason they have high blood glucose is that the cells in their body do not take up glucose. The reason for this is that the cells in their body do not respond normally to insulin.
- If the cells become insulin resistant, they “ignore” or can’t respond to the signal from insulin. This can increase the levels of glucose in the blood. When this happens the pancreas responds by producing even more insulin in an attempt to “force” the glucose into the cells. The problem is that since the insulin has no effect on the insulin-resistant cells, the blood glucose levels can keep rising. The body’s response is to convert the high levels of glucose in the blood into fat, and that can set up a scenario of chronic inflammation and other disorders like full blown Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
- Understand how Type 2 diabetes functions and its traditional treatment.
The most common symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include: increased thirst along with more frequent urination, increased appetite, weight gain or unexpected weight loss, blurry or changed vision, fatigue, and increased number of infections.
Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed by your symptoms and a number of specific blood tests that measure how well your body handles sugars.
- Most cases of diabetes can be controlled with a combination of medications (hypoglycemics — medicines that lower blood sugars), diet, and exercise. Insulin may be ordered for some patients, especially those with Type 1 diabetes.
- Find out why cinnamon can help control Type 2 diabetes.
Current research indicates that one of the components of cinnamon, methylhydroxychalcone polymer or MHCP, can improve how cells respond to insulin. MHCP seems to mimic some of insulin’s activity. It also appears to work side by side with insulin, by improving the effectiveness of insulin. MHCP also has antioxidant effects, though it is not clear that these have anything to do with the ability of cinnamon to control blood glucose.
Add New Question
Can cinnamon cure my diabetes or just control it?
It seems that, in some people, cinnamon can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. In others, it does nothing. So it won’t completely cure your diabetes, but yes, it is possible that it could help control it.
How do you cure Type 1 diabetes?
There is no known cure for Type 1 diabetes. However, you can use cinnamon to lower your A1C levels.
Can I mix cinnamon powder with butter milk or curds and drink it?
Yes, it’s easy to consume. I add 3 tbsp of thick curd and half tbsp of ceylon cinnamon powder. Stir well and it will taste yummy.
Does it matter what form of cinnamon sticks?
Cinnamon sticks are cinnamon sticks and there’s not much deviating from that. However, if at all possible, try to obtain an organic brand and non-GMO variety if at all possible for maximum health benefits.
What is apple cider vinegar good for?
Vinegar and apple contain pectin which helps in burning fat around the belly area, and other areas as well.
What happens to the sugar in your blood when you take cinnamon?
There are no significant changes to blood sugar when you add cinnamon to your diet.
If I wanted to boil cinnamon, would I do it with powered cinnamon or sticks?
How much cinnamon is good for me to eat in one day?
How much should I drink a day?
How much cinnamon should be used daily?
Can cinnamon work for type 1 diabetes?
Will including cinnamon into your diet help your blood sugar readings?
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- Do not use cinnamon supplements as a replacement for diabetes medication except under the supervision of a medical professional. Cinnamon supplementation is likely most effective in combination with healthy diet and lifestyle choices and a medical treatment regimen.
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If you’re looking to get healthier, there is one spice you definitely need in your pantry—cinnamon!
Here are thirty science-backed health benefits of cinnamon.
What is Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice you need more of in your life if you’re looking to get healthy.
Today, we commonly use cinnamon in both sweet and savory dishes, such as cinnamon rolls, apple pie, and many Indian meals.
Cinnamon is also commonly sprinkled over coffee or used in herbal teas.
It definitely has a place in the modern pantry for cooking and other tasty purposes, but aside from the sweet, yet savory zip it adds to drinks and dishes, cinnamon also has many health benefits when consumed regularly.
Commonly regarded as a ground spice, cinnamon or “cinnamon bark” actually comes from a tree.
Cinnamomum is a genus of the laurel family, with more than 200 species.
The inner bark of these trees is used to make the ground cinnamon spice we know today and can also be used to create aromatic and potent cinnamon oils. (1)
Many different types of cinnamon can be found as well as variations of how to use it, including Vietnamese (Saigon) cinnamon, cinnamon buds, ground cinnamon, and cinnamon sticks, but the most common types used today are cassia (the average cinnamon spice used in the United States) and Ceylon.
Grown in South India and Sri Lanka, Ceylon cinnamon trees are grown for two years without harvesting.
After two years, farmers will prune the trees so that the branches begin shooting off in all different directions.
Then farmers will have two harvesting seasons a year.
Cinnamon trees will be covered to ferment before their bark is stripped to make cinnamon.
Cassia cinnamon is native to Indonesia, China, and Vietnam.
This tree will reach more than ten feet tall and is harvested for its bark, leaves, and buds, all of which are dried and sold. (2)
Aside from tasting delicious, enhancing food’s natural flavor, and being used for medicinal purposes, cinnamon has been known for thousands of years as being healthy for you.
Here are some fun facts about this popular spice.
- Cinnamon bark can be cultivated so that it grows into a bush instead of a full-grown tree.
- The largest production of cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka.
- Used as a natural cure for many different ailments, cinnamon contains fiber, iron, calcium, manganese, and zinc.
- Cinnamon is perhaps one of the oldest spices. Its origins trace back to ancient Egypt and is even mentioned in the Bible.
- In ancient Egypt, cinnamon was used to embalm bodies. (3)
- This favored spice is used in both savory and sweet dishes.
- Cinnamon is commonly used both in food and for medicinal purposes.
- The leaves on a cinnamon tree are anywhere from three to seven inches long and highly fragrant.
- The health benefits of cinnamon explored in ancient China, even being mentioned in a publication about botanical medicine that dates back to 2,700 B.C. (4)
- Cinnamon is made from grinding down the inner bark of cinnamon trees.
- Roman Emperor Nero actually burned cinnamon at his wife’s funeral as a show of regret for murdering her. (3)
- Due to its antimicrobial properties, cinnamon can actually be used to preserve other foods.
- Cinnamon was one of the first regular products that were traded between Europe and the Near East.
- In the cosmetic world, cinnamon is used for its pleasant fragrance as well as its natural plumping or “swelling” properties on the lips.
- When grown in the wild, cinnamon trees have a lifespan of forty years.
How to Select Cinnamon
When choosing cinnamon at the store or market, you’ll first want to decide which type interests you.
Cassia, or Chinese cinnamon, is produced in Indonesia, China, and Vietnam.
This variety is hot and pungent in taste.
It is low in price and brown to reddish-brown in color.
When sold in stick form, it will only fold inward and has an empty cavity in the center.
Cassia cinnamon will be difficult to grind down and also contains high levels of coumarin, which can be harmful or damaging to the liver.
Ceylon, or “Real Cinnamon,” is the sweeter spice variety found in Sri Lanka.
It is light brown with a soft texture and has many folds if bought in stick form.
It is generally more expensive than other cinnamon varieties.
Unlike Cassia cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon contains a minuscule amount of coumarin that is not harmful when consumed regularly.
Keep these differences in mind when checking your local market for the right cinnamon.
How to Store Cinnamon
Cinnamon can last for years when stored in your pantry, but its potency in both smell and taste will lessen after just a couple of months.
It’s important to properly store your cinnamon so that you can get the most out of your purchase and give your product lasting freshness.
Keep your ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks in a glass container with an air-locked, tight-fitting lid.
Store your cinnamon in a cool, dry space, such as a pantry or cupboard.
Ground cinnamon spices will keep for six months, while cinnamon sticks stored tightly will last for a year before freshness and flavor begin to fade.
Keep your cinnamon away from direct sunlight or heat sources, and be sure to seal your container tightly when not in use.
Tightly sealed cinnamon can also be stored in the refrigerator for optimum freshness.
When fresh, cinnamon should have a spicy, sweet aroma.
If it lacks this quality and the taste is no longer significant, it should be thrown out.
Best Ways to Consume Cinnamon
Since cinnamon comes in so many different variations, it can be taken in many different ways.
Mixed with tea is a primary option, but it is also used topically in the form of cinnamon oil (which can be consumed or used topically) as well as in other cosmetic lotions.
Cinnamon capsules can also be purchased in the vitamin section of your local drugstore.
Consuming Cinnamon for Diabetes
When used correctly, cinnamon has a positive effect on blood sugar and can be beneficial for those who have a resistance to insulin.
All ingestion of cinnamon for diabetes should be done in moderation—once a day, five days a week at most.
Two great methods for consuming cinnamon for diabetes include:
#1 Cinnamon tea is a great way to use cinnamon for diabetes.
Simply use a cinnamon stick or cinnamon powder and mix it into your herbal tea.
Ceylon cinnamon tea is often suggested, since it uses cinnamon bark oil, which contains cinnamaldehyde.
#2 Use cinnamon bark oil for diabetes by adding a drop or two to your food or beverage each day.
Be sure to monitor your blood sugar level and cease consumption if you experience any side effects.
Consuming Cinnamon for Dietary Purposes
Many people ingest cinnamon for its flare of spice and vitamin-packed benefits, while others use it strictly in their diet as an appetite suppressant.
Whatever the reason, cinnamon can be incorporated into your daily diet in several convenient ways.
- Sprinkling cinnamon on top of oatmeal, cereal, or toast in the morning.
- Baking homemade cinnamon rolls, which is a particularly delicious way of getting your cinnamon each day.
- Incorporating cinnamon into your dinners and sauces, such as with Indian Butter Chicken or spaghetti sauce.
- Adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to your protein shake or morning smoothie.
- Having a teaspoon of cinnamon or inserting a cinnamon stick into a glass of herbal tea.
- Cinnamon vanilla milk. Move over chocolate milk. There’s a new tasty treat in town. Simply combine three cups of milk with one tsp of vanilla extract and one tsp of cinnamon. Stir or blend until ingredients have combined. Serve chilled.
- Use a sprinkling of cinnamon in your morning coffee.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Now that you know the best ways to consume cinnamon, here are thirty benefits you can receive by adding at least one teaspoon of cinnamon to your daily diet.
Cinnamon and Type 2 Diabetes
Those living with type 2 diabetes may want to add a daily dose of cinnamon to their healthy diet.
Several studies (5) suggest that Ceylon cinnamon can be great for those with insulin resistance because it may help certain individuals control their blood sugar.
Talk to your doctor, though, before raising your intake of cinnamon or using cinnamon supplements for your type 2 diabetes.
Another study (6) suggests that because of cinnamon’s natural effect on blood sugar and lowering the body’s insulin resistance it may also be ideal for those who are categorized as being prediabetic.
Fights Free Radicals
Cinnamon is full of healthy antioxidants, which can help protect and heal your body from various ailments.
For example, the body produces what are called free radicals, which are small molecules that arise when atoms are paired with unpaired electrons.
When this happens, free radicals start damaging other areas of the body, such as DNA, and cause cell deterioration.
If your body has enough antioxidants available, they will react safely with free radicals and prevent any cell damage to the body. (8)
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
There is still much debate about cinnamon’s effects on cholesterol, or more specifically, bad cholesterol.
One study done on the effects of cinnamon on triglycerides indicated a 23% to 30% reduction in triglycerides in patients and up to a 27% reduction in LDL cholesterol.
What’s more, patients actually saw a spike in HDL-C, or “good cholesterol.” (9)
Those who do not suffer from diabetes can also benefit from cinnamon’s possible effect on cholesterol.
Research suggests that cinnamon may also have a positive effect on lowering fasting blood glucose, reducing triglycerides, improving serum glucose, and improving both good and bad cholesterol. (10, 46, 47)
Provides Bone Health
Cinnamon offers many benefits for your teeth.
Bacteria is important in the buildup of plaque on the teeth, which can lead to gum disease.
Since cinnamon is rich in antibacterial properties, it is useful for keeping your mouth free of harmful bacteria that may damage your teeth.
Cinnamon also strengthens your bones, including your teeth. (11)
Have a toothache? Cinnamon may ease tooth pain until you can see a dentist.
Clean your aching tooth through brushing and then wipe it dry with a cotton swab.
Apply two drops of cinnamon oil to the aching tooth and any teeth directly surrounding it.
This cinnamon remedy should ease pain caused by tooth decay. (12)
Antibacterial and Antimicrobial Properties
Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties.
Harmful microbes include bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses and can cause decay or make you extremely ill.
Some microbes may even cause disease.
Cinnamon will combat bad microbes and keep your body healthy.
Cinnamon bark contains strong antibacterial properties. (13)
Ingest cinnamon in powdered form or through a cinnamon capsule to gain antibacterial benefits for the body.
Such benefits aside, cinnamon can also be used as a green cleaning ingredient and natural disinfectant.
Avoid household cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals.
Instead, mix cinnamon in a spray bottle with some warm water, and use it to disinfect your kitchen, bathroom, door knobs, countertops, or patio furniture. (14)
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Symptoms of ADHD include becoming easily distracted, daydreaming, difficulty sitting for a long period of time, difficulty keeping organized, forgetfulness, general inattention, fidgeting or unable to keep still, excessive talking, impatience, anxiety, procrastination, and difficulty concentrating.
These symptoms can affect both children and adults.
Cinnamon is being used more and more as a homeopathic treatment for ADHD.
In a study regarding the effects of aromatherapy on children with ADHD, results indicated that cinnamon may help calm those suffering from ADHD. (15)
Antioxidants and blood sugar control are just a few other examples of how cinnamon may help with ADHD.
Helps Treat Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease.
With a slow progression at first, symptoms include involuntary movements, tremors, shaking, changes or loss of automatic speech, rigid or stiff muscles throughout the body, slowed speech or movement, decreased blinking, lightheadedness, and more.
While the exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is not known, some studies indicate that cinnamon may be used to reverse anatomical and biomechanical cellular changes.
This study was done on mice affected by Parkinson’s disease and presents an exciting potential for Parkinson’s disease research. (16) (17)
Cinnamon and Weight Loss
The best results for weight loss and maintenance will always be a healthy diet and daily exercise, but cinnamon can also be helpful for weight loss and maintenance.
It decreases blood sugar, which is important for losing weight.
Cinnamon also controls insulin levels, which aid in speeding up the metabolism.
When your metabolism level is high, it will be able to store healthy carbohydrates for energy without turning them into fat.
A boosted metabolism will also allow you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
Cinnamon is often used in detox drinks because of its natural appetite suppression qualities.
This reaction in the body will help you feel fuller for a longer period of time and help you avoid unnecessary snacking throughout the day. (18)
Treats Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease has no known cure, but its symptoms can be treated in many ways.
These treatments can increase the quality of life in patients.
One such treatment involves cinnamon.
Its health benefits have been shown to improve general motor function and aid neurons.
While cinnamon is not a cure for Alzheimer’s, it can help treat the symptoms and ease impairment, making daily routines easier to follow at the onset of the disease. (19)
One study shows that cinnamon inhibits tau aggregation, which is a distinctive characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. (20)
Cinnamon for the Common Cold
Want to stop the common cold in its tracks?
While it is often thought that there is no cure for the common cold, you can stop its symptoms from worsening.
Within the first twenty minutes of common cold symptoms, such as sore throat, coughing, or sniffing, treat it with strong cinnamon tea.
Cinnamon contains healthy antioxidants and antibacterial properties that can fight harmful bacteria, improve blood flow and blood oxygen levels, and create a pleasant warming sensation in the body.
Say goodbye to common cold symptoms and hello to cinnamon. (21)
Fights Against Salmonella
Fight salmonella with all-natural cinnamon oil.
Salmonella is a bacterial infection that inflames the intestines.
Commonly referred to as “food poisoning,” salmonella occurs after eating raw eggs, raw meats, and seafood and when ingesting improperly washed fruits or vegetables.
Symptoms include diarrhea, cramping, and fever.
Because cinnamon contains antibacterial properties, it’s a perfect combatant of infectious salmonella. (22)
Boosts Your Sex Drive
Cinnamon is a great option for those who love using aphrodisiacs to get into the mood.
Aphrodisiacs have been used for centuries to stimulate sexual desire and heighten the senses. (23)
While some say it’s merely a mind over matter placebo effect, others find that eating hot foods, such as chilies or spicy hot cinnamon, can strengthen body heat and incite sexual passion. (24)
One study involving cassia bark was used on rats to study whether or not it affected their libido.
The result was a significant increase in sexual function. (25)
Cinnamon for Your Skin
If you haven’t thought to use cinnamon in your beauty routine, now is the time to start.
When used cosmetically, cinnamon will bring blood to the surface of the skin with a “burning” sensation and make the skin appear plump and supple.
Cinnamon promotes collagen production, which can make the skin appear younger and firmer. (26)
Because of its antibacterial properties, cinnamon is becoming a fast favorite in treating acne, eczema, and can even be used in a homemade facial scrub.
Cinnamon is also good for exfoliating the skin and scalp and will make it feel nourished and clean.
Inflammation is often the body’s natural reaction to pain.
Even though this is a necessary bodily response, it can still be painful. Inflammation may be chronic or acute.
Cinnamon contains a natural anti-inflammatory property, making it a perfect herbal remedy for pain and swelling.
Using cinnamon to ease inflammation may help reduce the risk of developing heart disease, issues with the lungs, certain cancers, and diabetes.
Use cinnamon to combat inflammation through cinnamon capsules or by sprinkling a teaspoon of it into a smoothie, oatmeal, or in your coffee. (27)
Combats Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Cinnamon has been used to ease stomach issues, such as cramps, for decades.
Women who suffer from PMS and the cramping that comes along with it may benefit from the fiber, manganese, and calcium found in cinnamon.
Dull, throbbing cramps associated with menstruation are caused by contraction of the uterus.
Cinnamon contains key anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that ease pain associated with PMS.
One study used cinnamon to combat premenstrual pain and found the severity of this pain was reduced significantly in the subjects. (28)
Helps Fight Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Cinnamon has been helpful in trials for women who live with PCOS, which is a condition where women develop small cysts on their ovaries.
These cysts are mostly benign and are caused by a hormone imbalance of estrogen and progesterone.
Symptoms of PCOS include excess hair on the body, thin hair, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, infertility, breast size decrease, pain in the pelvic region, and acne.
While cinnamon cannot eliminate PCOS, it can help manage the syndrome.
In more than thirty-three studies regarding herbal medicine for PCOS, there was sufficient evidence that cinnamon aided in improved metabolic hormone profiles, ovulation regulation, and improved fertility in patients. (29)
Helps Manage Yeast Infections
Fight off yeast infections with cinnamon.
Yeast infections result when there is an overgrowth of fungus, or “yeast.”
The most common type of yeast infection is candida strains.
While yeast infections commonly occur in the vagina, a buildup of yeast can happen anywhere on the body, such as under the breasts, under the knee, or around the testicles.
Cinnamon contains antifungal mechanisms, making it the perfect fighter against candida yeast infections.
One study found that cinnamon oil was a particularly effective essential oil treatment against candida yeast infections. (30)
Cinnamon may smell pleasant to you, but mosquitoes certainly don’t share your taste.
One study suggests that pleasant-smelling cinnamon oil is a greener way to repel and repel mosquitoes and kill their hatchlings. (31)
In this study, cinnamon oil was shown to kill mosquito larvae and may also repel adult mosquitos.
Avoid the potentially harmful insecticides and go green with the environmentally friendly cinnamon insect repellent.
Combats Neurodegenerative Diseases
Besides Parkinson’s disease, cinnamon may also help combat symptoms of other neurodegenerative diseases, such as HIV-related cognitive impairment, vascular dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.
One study published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology tested cinnamon’s effectiveness on mice affected by a neurodegenerative disease.
The study found that the natural ingestion of cinnamon had positive effects on such diseases as multiple sclerosis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
The results also showed improved motor function as well as anatomical and physical symptom improvements.
Researchers hope to continue studies on cinnamon’s effects on neurodegenerative disease advancement. (32)
Ready for a relaxing massage?
Cinnamon can easily be used as a warming agent because of its natural spicy aroma, which can be particularly soothing when using cinnamon oil or bark oil during a massage.
When used, this oil will warm the skin and act as a mild muscle relaxant.
This oil is also soothing for those suffering from chills or flu.
Be sure to dilute the cinnamon or bark oil with water before use to avoid irritating the skin.
Fighting HIV with Cinnamon
Cinnamon may also be used to treat HIV.
One study suggests that cinnamon can block type-1 HIV from infecting cells in the body and prevent HIV from developing into AIDS.
Cinnamon should not be used as a single treatment for HIV but should be used alongside other medical treatments. (33) (34)
Battles Stomach Flu
Medically referred to as gastroenteritis, stomach flu is caused by bacteria and viruses.
This virus centers around the gastrointestinal tract, often resulting in upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea, on top of other flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, dehydration, and fever.
Cinnamon can be an effective agent against the stomach flu, combating viruses with its antibacterial properties.
Cinnamon works quickly to help relieve nausea and reduce bloating.
Cinnamon can also act as a warming agent, causing a soothing effect for those suffering from colds and flu.
Fights Against Heart Disease
Cinnamon is a great way to help prevent heart disease and maintain cardiovascular health.
Cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory and anticlotting tool.
The fiber and calcium found in cinnamon aids in removing toxins from the body.
Furthermore, reducing high cholesterol can help prevent heart disease from developing in the future.
Use cinnamon in your journey to heart health by adding cinnamon to your breakfasts, sprinkle a teaspoon of cinnamon in your coffee or herbal tea, or simmer a cinnamon stick in savory dishes. (35)
Eases Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a disorder involving the large intestine.
Symptoms of IBS are often painful and can be debilitating in some patients.
Symptoms include bloating, pain in the stomach, inconsistent bowel movements, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.
Cinnamon can help ease symptoms and pain associated with IBS, particularly with bloating.
Cinnamon can remove harmful bacteria in the intestines and may clear the GI tract from infections.
The removal of bacteria from the intestines can encourage smooth use of the gastrointestinal tract. (36)
Can Improve Your Mood
Have you ever driven under duress?
No matter what your emotional state in life, cinnamon may be the mood enhancer you’ve been looking for.
One study found that the scent of cinnamon alone was enough to reduce irritability in drivers. (37)
Use cinnamon to combat depression and enhance your mood by using cinnamon candles, air fresheners, and using cinnamon in foods on a daily basis.
Its antibacterial properties can also remove harmful strains of gut bacteria that may also cause depression.
Helps Fighting Cancer
Though currently limited to animal studies, cinnamon is thought to have anticarcinogenic effects.
Promising research shows that cinnamon oil may be effective in treating gastric cancers, melanoma, leukemia, lymphoma, and various tumors. (38)
Cinnamon can also help control and maintain healthy blood sugar levels, effectively starving the cancer cells of the sugar that they need to live.
Cinnamon leaf oil contains eugenol, which contains strong antifungal properties.
Candida, the same fungus responsible for yeast infections, can also infect toenails and cause other rashes and fungus-related infections.
Within seven days, you will be able to see antifungal results from applying cinnamon oil. (39)
In one study where patients suffered from intestinal fungus and antibiotics had not been successful in getting rid of the infection, cinnamon oil was used.
After two weeks, 72% of patients were completely flushed of their infections and all traces of candida fungus.
The other patients saw a drastic reduction of the fungus and were all on the road to healing. (40)
Helps with Arthritis
Arthritis is severe inflammation of the joints, causing pain, redness, and reduced motion.
While medications are available to help treat arthritis, these can have negative side effects, such as kidney damage and internal bleeding.
For those seeking a safer, more natural approach, cinnamon is the way to go.
Cinnamon has long been used as an all-natural relief of arthritis pain because of its natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Not only does cinnamon ease inflammations and therefore reduce pain, but it also slows the aging process of cells that could potentially lead to painful inflammations.
Regarding the shelf life of your foods, you may not think of cinnamon as a preserving agent, but you should!
Because of the antifungal activity found in cinnamon, its essential oil can actually be used as a natural preservative of foods.
Cinnamon also inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold that would otherwise break down foods.
Some even suggest that foods that contain cinnamon could even extend their shelf life without ever being refrigerated. (41) (42) (43)
Helps Fighting Bad Odors
Cinnamon has a spicy, sweet aroma that is reminiscent of sweet pies, fall mornings, and scented candles, but it can also be used to make breath smell pleasant.
Cinnamon contains antibacterial properties that kill bacteria in the mouth and leave breath smelling fresh.
Cinnamon is a natural odor neutralizer for both your home and your body.
You can have fresher breath and combat bacteria in the mouth by simply snacking on a cinnamon stick or using a cinnamon-based mouthwash.
Mix lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon spice together to create a homemade mouthwash to combat bad breath and halitosis.
While cinnamon is commonly regarded as a healthy spice and delicious condiment, occasional side effects may occur when taking it.
Although cinnamon is a natural spice, cinnamon allergies can happen.
If you are allergic to cinnamon, it is highly recommended that you refrain from taking it in any form.
Bear in mind that cinnamon reactions can be caused by any food, vitamin, or cosmetics that contain cinnamon as an ingredient.
While there have been extreme cases of allergic reaction, most cases of cinnamon allergies are not serious.
The most common allergic reactions to cinnamon, taken orally or topically, include:
- Congestion commonly associated with having a cold
- Itchy eyes
- Red eyes
- Flushed or red skin
- Swelling and inflammation in the skin
- Itchy skin
- Difficulty swallowing
- Runny nose
- Skin reactions
These are the most common reactions to cinnamon products, such as oils, creams, cinnamon bark, cinnamon spice, and cinnamon supplements.
Other cinnamon side effects and conditions include:
- Contact dermatitis
Some people who are allergic to cinnamon display what is called contact dermatitis, which is a symptom that occurs when the cinnamon comes directly into contact with the skin as opposed to being ingested.
The resulting reaction is redness on the skin, rash, hives, or other skin-related inflammations. (44)
- If you are pregnant
Avoid consuming large amounts of cinnamon bark if you are breastfeeding or pregnant.
While there is little known about the potential hazards of doing so, Web MD and other doctors have suggested it is possibly unsafe. (45)
- Do a spot test
Before applying a topical cream or cinnamon oil, always do a spot test first.
Rub a dime-size spot of oil on the skin and massage in a circular motion.
Leave it on for several minutes before wiping off with a soft cloth.
Doing this will help you determine whether or not your skin will be irritated by the oil.
- Dilute cinnamon oils
If applied topically, as with cinnamon oils, it is highly recommended that you dilute the potent oil with water to avoid skin irritation.
- Diabetes and blood sugar
Cinnamon has the potential to lower blood sugar, especially in cases of those who have type 2 diabetes.
Be sure to actively monitor blood sugar levels if you are taking cinnamon bark.
- Avoid inhaling cinnamon oil
Even if you are not allergic, odds are your nasal passages will not thank you for the strong smell.
- Liver problems
Those taking cinnamon supplements will need to keep an eye on their liver, since other ingredients found in these supplements, such as coumarin, may react poorly with the liver and cause issues down the road.
- Cinnamon’s reaction with other medications
If you take any prescription medications, always consult your doctor before using cinnamon supplements, as they could have an adverse reaction with other medications.
What to Do if You are Allergic to Cinnamon
Although cinnamon allergies are usually mild, that does not mean you should ignore the symptoms altogether.
If you break out after using cinnamon topically or by ingestion, inform your doctor.
You should also stop using cinnamon in your diet.
Your doctor may prescribe nasal spray, antihistamines, or eye drops, as they would combat any other common allergies.
Extreme allergic reactions may have different treatment options, such as hospitalization, bronchodilators, or IV fluid treatments.
In conclusion, whether you’re looking to heal your body or simply keep it healthy, cinnamon is an absolute must-have spice for your pantry.
Many different types of cinnamon are available, and it can be used in many ways on a day-to-day basis for numerous health benefits.
Cinnamon is available at local grocery stores and spice markets in a wide variety of flavors and applications.
The more you know about the health benefits of cinnamon, the more excited you’ll be to find ways of incorporating this natural spice into your daily meals.
Once upon a time, cinnamon was more valuable than gold. And while these days, most of us would rather get our hands on 24 karats instead of 24 ounces – a gold bar over a brown stick – this bark-cum-spice has just as much bite as it does bark. The potential health benefits of cinnamon could be stated as nothing short of astonishing.
To help us sort myth from fact, we’ve enlisted the help of several health experts to give us their two cents on one of our favorite spices.
7 Proven Health Benefits of Cinnamon
1. Cinnamon may help treat Type 2 diabetes.
While it’s true that there’s no cure for Type 2 diabetes, cinnamon can be an effective tool in managing the disease.
According to Lori Kenyon Farley, a Certified Nutrition Consultant specializing in wellness, fitness and anti-aging and one of the experts behind Project Juice, cinnamon can help manage this disease in two different ways. “It can reduce blood pressure and have a positive effect on blood markers for those with Type 2 diabetes,” she explains. Cinnamon can also reduce insulin resistance, which, Farley explains, “has been shown to lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 29%, which can reduce the instance of Type 2 diabetes.”
Shane Ellison, MS, a medicinal chemist and founder of the Sugar Detox, explains how exactly this works. “(Cinnamon) works directly on the muscle cells to force them to remove sugar from the bloodstream, where it is converted to energy,” he says. “It’s even shown to work better than most prescription meds.”
The key is in increasing insulin sensitivity in the body, a sensitivity that, while present at birth for those without type 1 diabetes, slowly decreases as we age and consume more sugar. As a result, sugar floats around in the blood, causing diabetes and other health problems. “Cinnamon, which is completely non-toxic, repairs the receptors so they are once again responsive to insulin,” Ellison explains. “In time, sugar levels normalize due to an increase in insulin sensitivity.”
Add to this the fact that cinnamon has a naturally sweet taste that is devoid of sugar, making it a great addition to foods like plain yogurt as a dessert or snack, and you’ll soon see why we suggest it as a staple for the pantries of those with Type 2 diabetes.
2. Cinnamon can lower your bad cholesterol (or LDL).
Even if you do not suffer from diabetes, you may want to include cinnamon in your diet for many of the same reasons as those who do.
As Carina Parikh, MScN, MSiMR, the holistic nutritionist for Kate Naumes ND Holistic Wellness in Dallas explains, the positive impact on Type 2 diabetes symptoms is due to a number of factors, notably “improving serum glucose, lowering fasting blood glucose, and reducing triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol.” These are all benefits that can help even those not suffering from diabetes, including those with hereditary cholesterol worries or problems.
“(Cinnamon) also raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol,” she explains. HDL cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol from the body.
And that’s not all. “Regular intake of cinnamon may also help to mitigate the effects of high-fat meals by slowing the increase in blood sugar post-meal,” says Parikh. This means that when cinnamon is added to your diet, the effects of occasional high-fat choices may not be quite as detrimental to your health as they would otherwise be.
3. Cinnamon has antifungal, antibacterial, and even antiviral properties.
Cinnamon has been proven to fight fungal, bacterial, and viral elements in foods, thus preventing spoilage. It’s no surprise that in the Middle Ages, when food spoilage was far more frequent due to lack of refrigeration, many recipes, both sweet and savory, were flavored with the spice.
But these properties of cinnamon do not extend merely to the foods cinnamon seasons. Consumers of cinnamon can benefit from these properties as well, according to our experts, who say cinnamon can be used as part of a treatment for anything from lung problems to the common cold.
Denise Baron, a wellness educator and director of Ayurveda for Modern Living explains that cinnamon can help with all sorts of lung congestion issues. “It helps clear up mucus and encourages circulation,” she explains, thus lending its powers to everything from a simple seasonal cough to bronchitis, when used in tandem with other remedies.
But perhaps the most surprising use of cinnamon is in combatting viruses, and not just the common cold. “Research shows that cinnamon extract may help fight the HIV virus by preventing the virus from entering cells,” says Parikh. “Therefore, cinnamon extract could potentially contribute to the management of HIV.”
4. Cinnamon can help treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are two neurological conditions that, for the moment, are incurable. An enormous part of treating these diseases is therefore in symptom management, and this can be boosted with the addition of cinnamon to a regular regime.
“Cinnamon has been shown to help neurons and improve motor function in those suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s,” explains Farley. These contributions can help sufferers of these two diseases continue their regular routines with far less impediment.
5. Cinnamon may have anti-carcinogenic properties.
Many superfoods are attributed with anti-carcinogenic properties, but it’s important not to jump from super food to super power. Parikh explains why it’s important not to get carried away.
“Evidence suggests that cinnamon may have anti-carcinogenic effects as well, although the research thus far is limited to animal studies,” she says. “These experiments demonstrate that cinnamon extract slows the growth of cancer cells and induces cancerous cell death.”
If these properties do extend to humans, then cinnamon may in fact be able to slow growth and kill cancerous cells. And even if these properties do not extend to a cure or treatment for cancer in humans, other characteristics of cinnamon, including the presence of antioxidants and free radicals, can contribute to its possible anti-carcinogenic effects.
6. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties.
Consumption of cinnamon can reduce both systemic and specific inflammation. The former is particularly important in the Western world, according to Parekh.
She says that in the West, “Systemic inflammation is a prominent problem that has led to the rise in chronic disease.” By adding cinnamon to a regular diet, this systemic inflammation can be reduced significantly.”
Specific inflammation reduction means that consumption of cinnamon can help treat certain types of pain and headaches, as well as arthritis pain. It plays a double role in this particular type of pain, according to Baron, as cinnamon can also boost circulation. “With circulation problems such as Raynaud’s syndrome or arthritis, this helps stimulate and push circulation to the joints,” she explains.
7. Cinnamon can help manage PCOS.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a problem with numerous symptoms that need to be managed, and cinnamon can be a key element of this management due to a number of characteristics.
First would be the management of insulin resistance in women with PCOS, which can contribute to weight gain. “A recent pilot study found that cinnamon reduced insulin resistance in women with PCOS,” explains Parekh, extending cinnamon’s recommended consumption from diabetes sufferers to anyone with an insulin resistance problem.
“Cinnamon can also help mitigate heavy menstrual bleeding associated with common conditions of female health, such as endometriosis, menorrhagia, and uterine fibroids.”
Cinnamon image via Shutterstock
It’s possible we’re just brushing the surface here. After all, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have long revered cinnamon for its near superpowers, using it to treat things such as colds, indigestion and cramps, not to mention for its anti-clotting properties as well as attributes for cognitive function and memory. These societies also believed cinnamon could improve energy, vitality and circulation. It’s no wonder we’ve dubbed it a superfood!
Why is Cinnamon So Good for You?
How does such a little spice have so much power?
Many of cinnamon’s fantastic properties come from one substance, something called cinnamaldehyde, which is naturally present in cinnamon. According to Parikh, cinnamaldehyde is the source many of the antifungal and antibacterial properties that make cinnamon such a great addition to your diet.
But that’s not all. “Cinnamon’s high concentration of antioxidants can help protect the body from damage from free radicals and reduce inflammation, reducing risk of cancer and other diseases,” explains Farley.
The combination of cinnamaldehyde, antioxidants and cinnamon’s high fiber content are some of the characteristics that lend it its incredible positive effects on the human body.
How to Include Cinnamon in Your Diet
Even with all this evidence pointing to the wonders of cinnamon, we are absolutely not advocating you start guzzling it – it has been found to be toxic in large doses.
We are, however, wholeheartedly encouraging a little pinch (or stick) here and there in places you might otherwise have overlooked (in your tea or coffee, added to savory dishes, etc.) – if not for your overall health, for its undeniably enchanting aroma and flavor.
And while we all have fell victim to the irresistible smells wafting through an otherwise bleak airport experience, this does not make Cinnabon a free-for-all. Not only is it much better to use cinnamon in healthy recipes, but you’re going to want to source your cinnamon somewhere you trust for several reasons.
What Kind of Cinnamon Should I Use?
Not all cinnamons were created equal, so be careful what you buy.
“Nearly all the cinnamon in the grocery stores and health food stores is a cousin of true cinnamon,” explains Christina Major, a MS Holistic Nutritionist and Herbalist and the Health Recovery Expert of Crystal Holistic Health.
“Cinnamomum cassia, or Chinese cinnamon, has a very similar flavor and color, but it does not have the same health benefits,” she explains. “Only Cinnamomum verum provides the health benefits, and this is an expensive spice that is often illicitly substituted with Cinnamomum cassia.”
When you are perusing the supermarket shelves, you’ll likely see Cinnamomum cassia sold as Chinese or Cassia cinnamon, whereas Cinnamomum verum will be sold as Ceylon cinnamon. According to our experts, you should opt for the latter.
If you do have Cassia cinnamon on your shelf already, you can try integrating it into your diet as well, but bear in mind a few important notes.
You likely will not find that the same benefits outlined with regards to Ceylon cinnamon hold true with Cassia. “That’s why most supplements and home remedies don’t work,” explains Major. “There isn’t enough active ingredient, because the manufacturer didn’t use the right cinnamon.”
Farley also warns that the Cassia variety should be consumed in very small doses. “Not more than 2 tsp. per day,” she suggests, “Since it has a higher concentration of courmarin, which can be harmful in large doses.” Courmarin can cause liver toxicity and have blood-thinning properties, so be sure to talk to your doctor before adding this or any sort of cinnamon to your diet if you are on blood thinners or liver medication.
If you’d like to give a small amount of cinnamon a try, here’s a good starting point. If you prefer to buy in bulk to save money, click here for 1lb of cinnamon.
How Much Cinnamon Should I Eat?
Once you’ve got your hands on some true Ceylon cinnamon, the recommended dosage, according to the U.S. Department of Health, is up to 6 grams daily for 6 weeks or fewer.
“I would suggest a week rest after the 6 weeks, before beginning again,” says Farley. “Turmeric can be taken during the rest week since it has similar benefits.”
You can also reduce your cinnamon consumption to 5 days a week without a rest week, says Parehk, though she – and we – urge anyone starting a new supplement regimen to consult with a qualified practitioner first and to be very careful of over-consumption of cinnamon, no matter which variety you have. Overconsumption of cinnamon or even a rapid increase of consumption of cinnamon can have some adverse effects.
One, explains Dizon, is that cinnamon’s anti-bacterial properties do not distinguish between good or bad bacteria in the gut, meaning that you could find yourself facing some cinnamon-related digestive issues. “Incorporate fermented foods to replenish your stomach with good bacteria,” she suggests.
Our experts also warn against incorporating too much cinnamon into your diet if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a heavy menstrual cycle. If any of these things apply to you, please see a medical professional before adding cinnamon to your diet.
How Should I Add Cinnamon to My Diet?
Cinnamon can be purchased in several forms, including ground powder, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon bark oil, or even capsules.
Cinnamon infused water image via Shutterstock
Jane Dizon, a nurse and health and fitness enthusiast behind Health and Fitness, has a few suggestions for how to add cinnamon to your diet. “You could add half to one teaspoon of cinnamon powder to your coffee, or sprinkle some on your fruit platter. It’s also great with baked sweet potatoes, oatmeals and apple cider.”
And cinnamon doesn’t always have to be used alone. “You can combine ginger and cardamom with cinnamon if you have a sluggish digestive system,” explains Baron.
You don’t even have to eat your cinnamon to take advantage of it. Dizon suggests cinnamon-scented candles to boost brain function, and Baron makes a homemade toothpaste with cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and cinnamon oil. She also suggests a cinnamon and oatmeal face mask for acne.
Here are just a few of our favorite recipes for including cinnamon in your diet:
- Orange and Radish Salad with Cinnamon Vinaigrette
- An Easy Golden Milk Recipe with Turmeric, Honey and Cinnamon
- Nondairy Vegan Hazelnut Milk Recipe with Dates and Cinnamon
- Cinnamon Banana Green Smoothie Recipe
- Orange Cinnamon Breakfast Boost
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Pecan Crunch
What are your favorite ways to eat cinnamon?
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