The scent of cinnamon seems to always elevate the olfactory perceptions. The sweet flavorful scent of cinnamon is common in many of our favorite breads, muffins, cakes and sweets. The cinnamon raisin bread, the cinnamon rolls, cinnamon cookies, cinnamon bread sticks, even many of the East Indian sweets are all irresistible and mouthwatering recipes with cinnamon. However, this spice can offer a lot more health-wise.
The Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon, cinnamonum verum or C. zeylanicum, is a spice with a variety of uses like many other spices. It is used for flavoring and preserving. It is also an ingredient in many pharmaceuticals. This is another super-spice because of its usefulness in treating a number of ailments, such as: arthritis, asthma, cancer, diarrhea, fever, heart problems, insomnia, menstrual problems, peptic ulcers, colds, psoriasis, epilepsy, spastic muscles, etc. It is even used to improve brain wave patterns. However, most studies boasts some major benefits of cinnamon.
Cinnamon, Diabetes and Weight Loss
One of the most celebrated effects of cinnamon is its effect on glucose, insulin and lipid metabolism. Studies show that whole cinnamon and aqueous extracts of cinnamon has compounds that can alleviate signs and symptoms of diabetes and related insulin resistance. It can do this 20-fold higher than any other compound (with similar potentials) tested. Because of this remarkable effect, this delicious spice can be used to help control hunger and help in weight loss while lean muscle mass is maintained. It does this by increasing sugar metabolism; thus freeing up insulin to do its job in lean muscle development.
Cinnamon and Inflammatory and Cardiovascular Diseases
Another major benefit of cinnamon involves the alleviation of signs and symptoms of inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases. It lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. It is noted in the Journal of American College of Cardiology that: "Cinnamon is a calorie-free herb rich in antioxidants that, when added to a high-glycemic-index meal, significantly reduces the post-prandial glucose excursion, partly by slowing gastric emptying".
The latest studies in the benefits of cinnamon suggest that it can delay or mitigate the effects of Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of progressive dementia. Compounds found in cinnamon can "prevent the development of the filamentous "tangles" found in the brain cells that characterize Alzheimer's". (Source)
This is certainly good news for cinnamon lovers and an even better reason to include cinnamon in baked goods, drinks and ice-creams. Cinnamon also complements a wide variety of cuisines and can be used to season poultry, added to curries to enhance its taste, and sweeten fruit salads and cereals.
If you wish to learn more about cinnamon and its health benefits, here are a number of books you can refer to: