Cinnamon is one of the world’s oldest known spices. The tree is native to Sri Lanka where it was found thousands of years ago. It is the best spice available in terms of its nutrition and health. It contains unique healthy and healing property comes from the active components in the essential oils found in its bark. Experts do not yet agree on the health benefits of cinnamon, though it is agreed that cinnamon is full of antioxidants. The plant from which cinnamon is derived, C. zeylanicum, contains a host of various antioxidants making it a possibly viable food usable for managing oxidative stress.
The use of cinnamon goes far back in history. Even the Bible speaks of using cinnamon, especially because of its aroma. China was using cinnamon 2800 years before Christ. In Ancient Egypt and Rome, cinnamon was part of the embalming process. Medicine and flavoring were other reasons Egyptians used cinnamon. A person’s social rank could be determined by the number of spices he owned.
Beyond antioxidants, cinnamon is also rich in natural compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols appear to mimic the action of insulin and may help regulate blood sugar levels. That’s great news for people with diabetes. Cinnamon is also a good source of the minerals manganese, iron, and calcium. Regular use of cinnamon also boosts cognitive function and memory, and fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices. It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium. The combination of calcium and fiber can help to remove bile, which prevents damage to colon cells. This helps prevent colon cancer. Fiber also can help with the relief of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
Cinnamon does much more than just flavor cookies and apple pies Mmm…) – The connection between cinnamon and weight loss is perhaps difficult for you to understand, but by reducing the fat that your body fat cells store then you will be able to lose weight faster. So get that apple pie out and send me some! Most cinnamon consumed in North America is in fact cassia, a related species and native to China and Japan, although much of it now is imported from Indonesia and Vietnam. There are several varieties of cassia with different botanical names, but all lumped under the appellative, false cinnamon. These cassias shouldn’t be confused with the leguminosae (the pea family) cassias such as senna.
Cinnamon won’t help you if you gobble down your meals really fast. It won’t help you if you feel a need to eat everything in sight. But if you use cinnamon on your oatmeal at the beginning of your breakfast, for example, you are less likely to feel the urge to eat a doughnut an hour later. If you put cinnamon on baked apples for dessert, you’ll feel more satisfied (at least in terms of your growling stomach), than if you ate a tiny chocolate truffle.
Although there are four main varieties, Ceylon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), and Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia) are the most popular. Cinnamon health benefits don’t seem to be significantly different from one type to another. Studies made on cinnamon, concluded that cinnamon is not effective in lowering blood glucose levels among type 1 diabetics. Type 1 diabetics have completely lost their ability to produce insulin naturally. These teen diabetics were given 1g of cinnamon, or a placebo, for 30 days. When A1C tests were taken at the end of thirty days to measure glucose control over time, the group taking cinnamon actually fared slightly worse than the placebo group.
Chinese Herbalists suggest that people who are in the 70’s or 80’s and develop a cough which involves the spitting of whitish phlegm from their throats of a frequent basis should chew and swallow a small pinch of powdered cinnamon. This remedy also seems to help those people who suffer from cold hands and feet.
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