You may think of cinnamon as a winter spice - but this fragrant, potent bark can actually play an important role in your summer dishes, along with offering many health benefits in the process.
Here are five reasons you should include cinnamon in your diet, regardless of season:
- Anti-inflammatory properties - essential oils found in cinnamon bark regulate blood flow, prevent clumping of blood platelets, and lower the release of certain cell membrane acids that contribute to inflammatory diseases, particularly arthritis. Additionally, a recent study showed that athletes who regularly ingested cinnamon powder showed a decrease in muscle soreness. Also, did you know that cinnamon can ease menstrual symptoms? Cinnamon contains the natural chemical cinnamaldehyde, which is known to balance hormones, reduce heavy bleeding and alleviate cramps.
- Blood sugar control - a recent study showed that adding cinnamon to carb-heavy meals increased the time it took to empty the stomach after eating. In other words, the spice reduced the rise in blood sugar that is normally associated with such meals. Previous studies had already indicated that cinnamon lowers total cholesterol concentrations. Regulated blood sugar levels work to stabilize both energy levels and mood - so adding cinnamon to your diet not only reduces your risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, but also prevents the onset of fatigue or depression typically seen after carb-heavy meals.
- Antimicrobial actions - cinnamon prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi, making it a natural food preservative.
- Boosting brain activity - simply smelling cinnamon can increase cognitive functions such as memory and visual motor speed. When ingested, cinnamon is metabolized into sodium benzoate. Elevated sodium benzoate levels in the brain have been linked to a boost in brain activity as well as lowered risk for some brain disorders.
- Delivering essential nutrients - cinnamon provides the body with fiber, calcium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and more - all of which are known to improve overall body and heart health.
So, are you ready to spice up your summer?
Just add a few pinches to your cereal, stir it into your oatmeal or sprinkle over peanut butter toast - and you’re good to go.
Source: Five Health Benefits of Cinnamon.