I focus on exercise, but I also know that you have to eat healthy to truly be healthy and see great results from your workout program. Whether I’m working with clients in Calgary, Canada or those online, I focus on consuming natural foods, which includes herbs and spices. One of those spices that have received recent attention is cinnamon. There are many health benefits of cinnamon, but you have to make sure you use the right type of cinnamon. There are two types, Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. While Ceylon cinnamon is known as true cinnamon, most people only have tasted Cassia cinnamon, which is the one most commonly used for cooking and most often found on the grocery shelf.
Choose your cinnamon wisely.
The substance in cinnamon that brings much of the health benefits is called cinnamaldehyde. When cinnamon is harvested, it’s done by cutting stems from the cinnamon tree and using the inner bark after the woody part is removed. It’s dried in strips and then ground. While both Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon contain cinnamaldehyde, Cassia cinnamon also contains large amounts of a substance called coumarin that can negatively affect health when used in larger doses. Cassia cinnamon is what is found on grocery shelves and is often far cheaper than Ceylon cinnamon.
Cinnamon may protect you from diabetes.
High blood sugar levels can be dangerous and a signal you have the onset of insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon is known for its ability to help lower blood sugar levels. It can help improve insulin sensitivity by reducing insulin resistance, which allows more glucose to move into cells. It mimics insulin, letting more glucose into the cells and lower fasting blood sugar levels. It decreases blood glucose amounts that go into the bloodstream after a meal by slowing the breakdown of carbs.
Cinnamon may protect your cells and overall health.
Cinnamon has antioxidants that help prevent oxidative damage to cells. Oxidative damage can cause injury, illness and even death. It’s responsible for premature aging. The high amount of polyphenol makes it even better than garlic and oregano for health. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is good when it fights infection and helps tissue repair, but bad when it’s chronic. Inflammation is linked to a number of diseases, including heart disease.
- Besides reducing the risk of inflammation, cinnamon is also beneficial for heart disease due to its ability to lower other risk factors, like reducing triglycerides and LDL, bad cholesterol, while increasing HDL, good cholesterol. It also helps lower blood pressure.
- The chemicals found in cinnamon may help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. One study showed that using 6 grams—1 tsp—per day of Ceylon cinnamon potentially could even help people with the disease.
- Limited animal studies show that cinnamon extract may help protect the body from cancer. It inhibits both the growth of cancer cells and the blood vessels that feed the tumors.
- Cinnamon may be good for your dental health and to fight other types of fungal and bacterial infections. The anti fungal and antibacterial affects might help reduce bad breath as well.
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