THE SPICE WITH AN ANCIENT HISTORY
Cinnamon. It literally is the little spice that can. Did you know that it actually comes from the bark of a bushy evergreen tree called ‘Ceylon Cinnamon’? Incredibly, cinnamon has been used by many Eastern cultures for over 4000 years.
It’s not just a flavour enhancer for your baked delectables or a sweet sprinkle on your morning porridge, cinnamon also packs a punch when it comes to health benefits too. Let us give you a sweet taste of its health benefits.
This is no ordinary spice. It’s like a hidden gem in your kitchen cabinet. One of its standout qualities, besides its unique flavour, is its rich antioxidant content.
Think of antioxidants as powerful warriors fighting to protect our cells against the damage caused by trouble making free radicals, resulting in oxidative stress. Studies have shown that free radicals may play a part in cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other diseases of ageing.
So what about inflammation? the menace behind many modern health issues. Some studies have shown that cinnamon also has some powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Those same antioxidant compounds that fight free radicals, also contribute towards cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory effects. As we age, these anti-inflammatory properties may be helpful because the process of chronic inflammation is heavily involved in the progression of many age-related diseases.
Cinnamon may have an effect on glucose too by helping to regulate blood sugar levels. It’s like cinnamon puts on a neon vest, grabs a whistle, and directs those glucose molecules to the right destinations. It appears to do this by a number of different mechanisms, including managing the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream.
In fact, recent human trials are promising and suggest that this mighty aromatic spice may have a moderate effect on lowering fasting blood sugar levels in diabetics with poor blood sugar control. More research is needed in this area, but it does appear that extracts from cinnamon actually mimic the action of insulin and could potentially reduce the risk of insulin resistance.
It turns out that this little spice has another secret weapon too – looking out for your ticker. It’s true; It appears that cinnamon supports a healthy cardiovascular system and has a positive impact on reducing blood triglycerides as well as cholesterol levels. Yep, cinnamon really does have your back (..and heart). It lowers your blood pressure, battles the villainous LDL cholesterol, and helps to maintain healthy arteries.
And let’s not forget about cinnamon’s antimicrobial superpowers. It’s like a germ-fighting ninja of the spice world! Cinnamon is thought to have many medicinal and soothing properties, which is why it’s used frequently in Chinese herbal medicine.
The distinctive smell and flavour of cinnamon derive from the essential oils contained in the bark, called cinnamaldehyde. A big word to remember but essentially Cinnamaldehyde appears to be very useful in protecting against bacterial and fungal infections.
So, there you have it, cinnamon, the spice with a secret identity and an arsenal of potential health benefits. It fights free radicals, may calm inflammation, has been shown to regulate blood sugar, may be protective for your heart, and could potentially battle against microbial villains.
Cinnamon really has got your well-being covered. It’s like a tasty sidekick that brings flavour and health benefits to the table. So, sprinkle it on your toast, add it to your recipes, and let cinnamon save the day, one delicious bite at a time!