December…Holidays, Christmas markets and smell of cinnamon embrace and follow you everywhere. Some of us can’t imagine our favourite pastry without this aromatic spice. Nowadays cinnamon is regarded as the second most popular spice in Europe, right after black pepper.
Like many other spices, cinnamon was as expensive as silver and could be used only by kings and nobilities several ages ago. Just like tobacco, cinnamon was considered as medicine and used to heal everything from coughing to rheumatism. But unlike tobacco consuming cinnamon really has health benefits, proved by nowadays’ evidences.
1 tablespoon of cinnamon contains (% of daily values, based on 2000 calories diet):
Take into consideration that there is no cholesterol, fat or sugars. Exciting 68% of daily necessity in manganese. What does manganese mean for an organism? It helps to form strong bones, helps metabolize fat and carbohydrates, regulate blood sugar, it’s essential for normal brain and nerve function. More than that it’s a component of antioxidant enzyme, which helps neutralize free radicals that can damage cell membranes and DNA. Sufficient level of manganese helps to prevent diabetes, arthritis and epilepsy.
What else can you get from cinnamon? Different sources point to these possible benefits:
May help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and brain function – cinnamon is rich in flavonoids, which are highly effective in fighting these kinds of diseases.
Protects heart health – special compounds of cinnamon can fight so-called bad cholesterol, which is one of the most common risk factors of heart disease.
Fights diabetes – cinnamon is known to have anti-diabetes effect, as it can lower the level of blood sugar and can help to improve sensitivity to hormone insulin. Some studies have shown that people can experience positive effects by taking cinnamon extract.
Protects brain function – antioxidant found in cinnamon can help to protect neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function.
May be protective against cancer – cinnamon appears to be toxic to cancer cells, as studies say that cinnamon is a potential activator of detoxifying enzymes, protecting against further cancer growth.
Fights infections – thanks to cinnamon’s essential oils it can be a natural antibiotic, antimicrobial and antiviral agent.
Protects dental health – the extracts of cinnamon can fight the bacteria causing bad breath, tooth decay and oral infections. Because it removes oral bacteria, cinnamon can be used as a natural freshener.
Also, thanks to antioxidants cinnamon is good for skin health. And because of its natural sweet taste it can be used as a sugar substitute for sweets, tea and coffee.
All these benefits are a reason for adding cinnamon to your daily diet, but it’s important to remember about the balance. Cinnamon has been found to be toxic in large amounts. If you choose to include cinnamon into your everyday diet, you shouldn’t eat more than 6 grams daily for more than 6 weeks.
And as a nice addition: smell of cinnamon can lift you up and put you in a better mood! So it’s definitely worth to start your day with the smell of this wonderful spice.