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10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Cinnamon

10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Modern science has now confirmed what people have instinctively known for ages. Here are 10 health benefits of cinnamon that are supported by scientific research.

1. Cinnamon is High in a Substance With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Cinnamon is a spice that is made from the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum.

It has been used as an ingredient throughout history, dating back as far as Ancient Egypt. It used to be rare and valuable, and was regarded as a gift fit for kings.

These days, cinnamon is cheap, available in every supermarket and found in all sorts of foods and recipes.

There are two main types of cinnamon (1):

  • Ceylon cinnamon: Also known as “true” cinnamon.
  • Cassia cinnamon: This is the more common variety today, what people generally refer to as “cinnamon.”

Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of the cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed from it.

When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. The sticks can be ground to form cinnamon powder.

This is what cinnamon looks like:

Cinnamon Sticks and Powder on Wooden Table

The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part, which is very high in a compound called cinnamaldehyde (2).

It is this compound that is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and metabolism.

Bottom Line: Cinnamon is a popular spice. It is high in a substance called cinnamaldehyde, which is responsible for most of the health benefits.

2. Cinnamon is Loaded With Antioxidants

Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols (345).

In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon wound up as the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano (6).

In fact, it is so powerful that cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative (7).

Bottom Line: Cinnamon contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants.

3. Cinnamon Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation in the body is incredibly important. It helps the body fight infections and repair tissue damage.

However, inflammation can become a problem when it is chronic (long-term) and directed against the body’s own tissues.

Cinnamon may be useful in this regard, because some studies show that the antioxidants in it have potent anti-inflammatory activity (3).

Bottom Line: The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of disease.

4. Cinnamon May Cut the Risk of Heart Disease

Cinnamon has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease, the world’s most common cause of premature death.

In people with type 2 diabetes, 1 gram of cinnamon per day has beneficial effects on blood markers.

It reduces levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while HDL cholesterol remains stable (8).

More recently, a big review study concluded that a cinnamon dose of just 120 milligrams per day can have these effects. In this study, cinnamon also increased HDL (the “good”) cholesterol (9).

In animal studies, cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood pressure (3).

When combined, all these factors may drastically cut the risk of heart disease.

Bottom Line: Cinnamon can improve some key risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.

5. Cinnamon Can Improve Sensitivity to The Hormone Insulin

Insulin is one of the key hormones that regulate metabolism and energy use.

Girl Smelling Cup of Coffee

It is also essential for the transport of blood sugar from the bloodstream and into cells.

The problem is that many people are resistant to the effects of insulin.

This condition, known as insulin resistance, is a hallmark of serious conditions like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Well, the good news is that cinnamon can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, helping this incredibly important hormone to do its job (1011).

By helping insulin do its job, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels, which brings us to the next point…

Bottom Line: Cinnamon has been shown to significantly increase sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

6. Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar Levels and Has a Powerful Anti-Diabetic Effect

Cinnamon is well known for its blood sugar lowering effects.

Apart from the beneficial effects on insulin resistance, cinnamon can lower blood sugar by several other mechanisms.

First, cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal.

It does this by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract (1213).

Second, a compound in cinnamon can act on cells by mimicking insulin (1415).

This greatly improves glucose uptake by cells, although it acts much slower than insulin itself.

Numerous human trials have confirmed the anti-diabetic effects of cinnamon, showing that it can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 10-29% (161718).

The effective dose is typically 1-6 grams of cinnamon per day (around 0.5-2 teaspoons).

Bottom Line: Cinnamon has been shown to both reduce fasting blood sugar levels, having a potent anti-diabetic effect at 1 to 6 grams per day.

7. Cinnamon May Have Beneficial Effects on Neurodegenerative Diseases

Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells.

Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common types.

Two compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (192021).

In a study looking at mice with Parkinson’s disease, cinnamon helped to protect neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function (22).

These effects need to be studied further in humans.

Bottom Line: Cinnamon has been shown to lead to various improvements for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in animal studies.

8. Cinnamon May Be Protective Against Cancer

Cancer is a serious disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells.

Vintage Cookbook With Cinnamon Sticks

Cinnamon has been widely studied for its potential use in cancer prevention and treatment.

Overall, the evidence is limited to test tube experiments and animal studies, which suggest that cinnamon extracts may protect against cancer (2324252627).

It acts by reducing the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumors, and appears to be toxic to cancer cells, causing cell death.

A study in mice with colon cancer revealed cinnamon to be a potent activator of detoxifying enzymes in the colon, protecting against further cancer growth (28).

These findings were supported by test tube experiments, which showed that cinnamon activates protective antioxidant responses in human colon cells (29).

Whether cinnamon has any effect in living, breathing humans needs to be confirmed in controlled trials.

Bottom Line: Animal studies and test tube experiments indicate that cinnamon may have protective effects against cancer.

9. Cinnamon Helps Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections

Cinnamaldehyde, the main active component of cinnamon, may help fight various kinds of infection.

Cinnamon oil has been shown to effectively treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi.

It can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella (3031).

The antimicrobial effects of cinnamon may also help prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath (323334).

Bottom Line: Cinnamaldehyde has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which may reduce infections and help fight tooth decay and bad breath.

122442788

10. Cinnamon May Help Fight The HIV Virus

HIV is a virus that slowly breaks down the immune system, which can eventually lead to AIDS if untreated.

Cinnamon extracted from Cassia varieties is thought to help fight against HIV-1 (3536).

This is the most common strain of the HIV virus in humans.

A laboratory study looking at HIV infected cells found that cinnamon was the most effective treatment of all 69 medicinal plants studied (37).

Human trials are needed to confirm these effects.

Bottom Line: Test tube studies have shown that cinnamon can help fight HIV-1, the main type of HIV virus in humans.

It is Better to Use Ceylon (“True” Cinnamon)

Not all cinnamon is created equal.

The Cassia variety contains significant amounts of a compound called coumarin, which is believed to be harmful in large doses.

All cinnamon should have health benefits, but Cassia may cause problems in large doses due to the coumarin content.

Ceylon (“true” cinnamon) is much better in this regard, and studies show that it ismuch lower in coumarin than the Cassia variety (38).

Unfortunately, most cinnamon found in supermarkets is the cheaper Cassia variety.

You may be able to find Ceylon in some health food stores, and there is a good selection on Amazon.

Take Home Message

At the end of the day, cinnamon is one of the most delicious and healthiest spices on the planet.

It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors, and has a plethora of other impressive health benefits.

Just make sure to get Ceylon cinnamon, or stick to small doses (no more than 0.5-2 teaspoons a day) if you’re using the Cassia variety.

Leesa recommends using organic cinnamon!

By Joe Leech, Authority Nutrition.

AuthorityNutrition.com – a site that helps people make informed decisions about their health based on the best scientific evidence available.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Leesa A. Wheeler

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Sexual Nutrition

Sexual Nutrition


An aphrodisiac, a substance that puts one in the mood for love, can include food, herbs, good conversation, moonlight and even lingerie! Aphrodisiacs are named after, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, fruitfulness, and beauty. They may have a direct effect on the erogenous zones. Some may stimulate, irritate or be a diuretic, causing one to experience more sensation.

Aphrodisiacs may affect the mind, cause relaxation and prolong lovemaking. Their shape, texture or smell may be reminiscent of sex; according to an ancient worldwide belief called The Doctrine of Signatures, plants give us hints as to what they are good for, by the way they look, smell, taste, and grow. They may be highly nutritious and by improving health, bring about healthier libido. Both sex and food are closely related by being pleasurable and physical.

Aphrodisiacs can be enjoyed anywhere from half an hour to an hour before making love. Best when they are incorporated into one’s daily life for their health tonifying properties. As good health is essential to sexual vitality, good nutrition is imperative. When we are in poor health, sexual vitality decreases.

Many of the foods mentioned here contain the seeds of life: the design and pattern for creating new life, with the potential to grow into a replica of themselves. For example a pumpkin seed planted, could spread into an awesome vine, bearing several pumpkins, resplendent with nourishing seeds, benefiting the reproductive system. A raw pumpkin seed contains this spark of life, yet a roasted salted one would not grow.

Grains for libido include rice (no wonder it is thrown at weddings), wild rice, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet and oats.

In Asian medicine, it is the Water Element or Kidney that governs sexual vitality. According to this tradition, black (and blue) colored and salty foods such as chia seeds, miso, black olives, sea vegetables, black sesame seeds and blueberries contribute to a healthy sex life.

Vegetables play a part in the food pharmacopoeia of sexuality as well. Some have suggestive shapes like asparagus (a genito-urinary stimulant), which was cultivated by the Arabs and Greeks as an aphrodisiac. English herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper (1616-1654) said that asparagus “stirreth up bodily lust in man and woman.”

Shiitake mushrooms are used in the orient to make women more responsive. In general, roots such as carrots, dandelion and burdock help energize the lower chakras. A Japanese proverb says, “A man who likes carrots, likes women. It would be unwise to serve your beloved wilted carrots.” Okra is stiff and exudes a slimy fluid, not unlike sexual fluids.

Garlic and onions are warming and stimulating. Egyptian priests and devout Hindus were forbidden from consuming them in the belief that they would lose control over their sensual desires.

Arugula was often used in ancient love potions. It is still found growing around phallic statues in Greece and Rome. Celery contains androsterone, which is released in the sweat after being consumed. It attracts women and has traditionally been included in aphrodisiac recipes.

Artichokes are an unopened flower. Paris street vendors of the 1700’s used to cry out “Artichokes! Artichokes! Heats the body and the spirit. Heats the genitals!” It is the one vegetable there is more of, after you eat it.

The French word for beet, betterave, is slang for penis or “man root.” Avocados are called ahuactl in South America, meaning “testicle. ” Sea vegetables, both salty and dark colored are mineral rich and nourish the thyroid gland and entire endocrine system, which when under active, lessen libido. Winter squash and cabbage are warming nutritive sexual tonic foods.

Phosphorus found in chutneys, curries, salsas and hot foods stimulate circulation and the sex organs. The Perfumed Garden says “Green peas boiled with onions together with cinnamon, ginger and cardamoms, all aground, create passion and strength in coitus.”

Fruits entice passion with their sweetness and succulence. Consider their shape, hot colors and juicy nature. Apples, apricots, bananas, cherries, dates (especially Jujube – Chinese red dates), mangoes, mulberries, peaches, persimmons, strawberries, and watermelon (eat the seeds) are all considered sex tonic foods. Suck the fruit out of a perfectly ripe persimmon. Try eating ripe mangoes in a bathtub with your beloved.

Figs and pomegranates, known for their abundance of seeds, are traditional love tonics. Pomegranate means “apple of many seeds” and due to its blood red color has long been a symbol of fertility, birth and sexuality. If you are in the tropics where they grow, soursop and durian, you are in luck! These are considered supreme sexual foods. There is a saying in Malaysia, “When the durians fall, the sarongs rise.” Better to eat a piece of ripe fruit than to over stimulate blood sugar levels with excessive amounts of sweet juices.

Nuts and seeds are foods of love. Being fertile, they contain the reproductive energy of plants. Almonds, chia, hazelnuts, hemp seed, pine nuts, pistachios, poppy, walnuts, pumpkin, sesame (especially black) and sunflower seeds are rich in zinc, an important component of sexual fluids. Halvah, made of sesame seed and honey are food for inability to orgasm and to give courage. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of nutrients, high in protein and essential fatty acids. Soaking them overnight and rinsing the next morning, removes enzyme inhibitors, softens them and enhances their digestibility as well as “bringing them to life” as many will sprout “tails.” Always avoid rancid nuts and seeds.

Chocolate and rose water contain a chemical called phenylethylamine that is also produced by the brains of people in love and simulates post coital bliss. Chocolate was the love tonic of Montezuma who drank some fifty cups daily, before visiting his harem of six hundred women. During the 1800’s, physicians suggested chocolate to boost libido. When enjoying chocolate, allow it to slowly and sensuously melt in your mouth.

When buying rose water, make sure it says distilled to avoid buying a synthetic product. Add rosewater to desserts such as rice pudding and baklava.

Use lavish amounts of the culinary herbs in your cuisine, many of which are considered aphrodisiac, including anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, curry (a blend of herbs), paprika, pepper and turmeric.

Ideal food for sexuality should be light, moist, sweet and easily digested. Moist foods lend their yin to sexual fluids. Naturally sweet foods, such as fruits and vegetables, provide energy and stamina.

Women and men need clean arteries for optimal arousal. A diet overly rich in animal fats (including pasteurized dairy products) can block nerve sensitivity and cause stagnant chi. As erection is achieved by blood moving into the penis, hardening of the arteries can hamper that essential function. Avoid hydrogenated oils such as margarine, shortening and fried foods. Eating excessive refined sugars and carbohydrates decreases libido. Icy cold foods can cool your passions. It is also best to eat small frequent meals to be emotionally stable. In general, eating less is an excellent way to stay sexually vital. Save some hunger for your beloved! Ice cream before bed cools your jets. Make snacks an opportunity for health by eating nourishing foods. Let nuts, seeds, active yogurt, fruit and vegetables replace candy and ice cream.

By feeding a potential mate, you exhibit your ability to provide food and pleasure. Share meals with your beloved as much as possible. Say a blessing first. Enjoy beautiful, delicious, healthful food. Prepare food with a vibration of love, enjoying music, pretty things to work with and luscious organic ingredients. Food tastes great when eaten outside. Enjoy picnics, even if it’s in your own yard, under a tree.

Enjoy the sensation of eating with your fingers. Inhale the aromas of your food. Taste and savor. Let eating be a sensual pleasure. Remember to avoid any foods topically that you may be allergic to orally.

Sharing of food is simple love magic and has long signified trust and bonding.

Flowers are the sex organs of plants. Decorate your food with organic edible flowers such as violets, rose petals (organic – with the white heel removed), day lilies and hibiscus. See my book, Rawsome! for a list of over 120 edible flowers. Show your beloved that he or she is adored! Make food a healthful, beautiful and flavorful expression of your love.

The best aphrodisiac of all is to be deeply in love!

by Brigitte Mars

Brigitte Mars, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, is a nutritional consultant who has been working with Natural Medicine for over forty years. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Boulder College of Massage, and Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts and has a private practice. Brigitte is the author of twelve books, including The Country Almanac of Home Remedies, The Sexual Herbal, The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Beauty by Nature, Addiction Free Naturally, Healing Herbal Teas, and Rawsome!. Find more healthy living articles, raw food recipes, videos, workshops, books, and more at brigittemars.com. Also check out her international model yogini daughter, Rainbeau at rainbeaumars.com.

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