How can a person not love cinnamon? It’s versatile, tastes great, and offers a host of health benefits for those who use it on a regular basis. So Let’s have a look at Cinnamon and the benefits of this amazing spice.
THE HISTORY OF CINNAMON
It’s believed that cinnamon has been used by the human race for many thousands of years. As a matter of fact, the Egyptians were big fans of Cinnamon and were using it back in about 2,000 B.C.
It’s believed that it was used all over the ancient world. Arab traders brought it to Europe where it was a big hit. It took so long for the Arabs to transport it overland that the scarcity of this amazing spice made it a status symbol.
Apparently, cinnamon also worked very well as a meat preservative over the long winter months. For years the Arabs had the market cornered on the spice and could pretty much ask any price.
The Dutch enjoyed a monopoly on cinnamon when they helped the Ceylon Kingdom of Kandy overthrow Portuguese occupiers in 1638. Part of the payment for the Dutch help in defeating the Portuguese was to hand over the cinnamon trade to the Dutch. The monopoly lasted for 150 years.
Today, consumers typically enjoy two kinds of cinnamon. One is called Ceylon cinnamon and the other is Cassia cinnamon. Cassia is the least expensive of the two and the choice of North Americans to sprinkle in their oatmeal or on their French toast. Ceylon cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka and has a milder, sweeter flavor.
Cinnamon has many health benefits.
This remarkable spice can protect the body from free radicals as it contains copious amounts of antioxidants.
It’s often believed that garlic and Oregano were the leaders in antioxidant spices, but it turns out that cinnamon outshines them both and is rated as the number one antioxidant-rich spice for combating free radicals.
Cinnamon is a very powerful spice and is often used as a natural food preservative.
Inflammation serves an important purpose, although many people do not realize it.
Its main positive function is to help the body fight infections and also to repair tissue damage. Inflammation becomes a problem if it becomes a chronic condition that targets a person’s body tissue.
This is where cinnamon comes in handy. With its anti-inflammatory properties, it is able to combat unwanted inflammation. So actually, cinnamon can help ease the risk of disease.
It’s no secret that heart disease if the most common cause of premature death. Cinnamon has been known to reduce the risk of heart disease.
People who suffer from Type 2 diabetes show beneficial results to their blood markers by consuming just half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day. Cinnamon also reduces the bad LDL cholesterol while the good cholesterol remains stable.
Cinnamon also appears to reduce blood pressure.
In the event people can manage the above diseases with cinnamon it would greatly reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating the proper foods and exercising on a regular basis both contribute to improved heart health.
This makes it an excellent spice for seniors to include in their diet.
It’s no secret that cinnamon has qualities that enable it to lower blood sugar.
Cinnamon will decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream. Basically, it impacts digestive enzymes and this slows the assimilation of carbohydrates into the digestive tract. Cinnamon can also mimic insulin and this helps improve the glucose intake by the cells.
There have been numerous tests on people that confirmed that cinnamon has an anti-diabetic effect as it can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 25%. This requires daily usage of anywhere between half a teaspoon and two teaspoons.
Although there is no definitive proof that cinnamon will protect humans against cancer, there have been some promising results in test-tube and animal research.
Studies seem to show that cinnamon will reduce the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumors. It appears to be toxic to cancer cells and may cause cancer cell death. A study with mice who had colon cancer showed that cinnamon protected against further cancer growth.
Although this all sounds very promising, there is no evidence that cinnamon will prevent or stop cancer growth in humans. Hopefully, there will be further tests done on humans that can clarify the impact it has on people suffering from cancer.
One of the main components of cinnamon is called cinnamaldehyde. It’s believed that this component might help different kinds of infection.
As a matter of fact, cinnamon oil has been used to treat respiratory tract infections that are caused by fungi. It also works well in slowing the growth of certain bacteria. These include Listeria and Salmonella.
Once again, studies and evidence are quite limited, but hopefully, more studies will be done in the future to get a clearer understanding of cinnamon’s ability to fight bacteria and fungi infections.
It wouldn’t hurt for seniors to include a half or full teaspoon of cinnamon into their daily diet.
However, it’s important to use true cinnamon. The Cassia variety should be used sparingly as it contains significant amounts of coumarin, which is believed to be harmful in large doses.
Seniors should spend a little extra money and buy Ceylon cinnamon. This is actually the true cinnamon and it’s much lower in the harmful coumarin.
Most likely, consumers will have to check out health food stores, as supermarkets normally carry the less expensive(and less healthy)Cassia variety of cinnamon. Amazon is another excellent choice and usually has Ceylon cinnamon for sale.
Although more studies have to be done to confirm the benefits cinnamon has in combating a number of diseases seniors are prone to, there is no denying that it’s an amazing spice to be used to enhance the flavor a number of foods.
My personal favorites are french toast, pancakes, and oatmeal all sprinkled with cinnamon. And who doesn’t love decadent cinnamon buns once in a while?
Would you like to share your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.