The Magic of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the world’s oldest known spices.  Dating back to 2000 BC, Arab merchants from India were trading in cinnamon with Ancient Egyptian and Chinese societies.  It was praised and adopted by these ancient cultures for both its culinary and medicinal uses.  Fast forward to the present and cinnamon has spread it reach to every corner of the globe.  Although still predominantly cultivated in Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern regions, cinnamon has found its way on to just about every spice rack around the world and with good reason.  It turns out that in addition to its wide range of great tasting culinary uses, cinnamon may also have a wide range of health benefits.  A growing body of research is beginning to confirm that the ancient societies, which used cinnamon as a natural medicine, may have been on to something.  Let’s take a look at a few of the major health benefits attributed to one of the world’s oldest spices.

Blood Sugar Levels
Recent studies have shown that cinnamon is very effective in regulating the body’s blood sugar levels, particularly for those with type 2 diabetes.  In a study completed by doctors in Germany it was found that daily consumption of 1 gram of cinnamon was effective in lowering the blood sugar levels of type 2 diabetics.  In addition to benefiting diabetics, cinnamon’s regulatory effects on blood sugar levels may also prove useful for maintaining stable energy levels throughout the day.  This will also help control food cravings and assist in weight loss.

According to studies, regular consumption of cinnamon may be effective in lowering levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, otherwise known as the “bad cholesterol”.  This could be good news for those at risk of cardiovascular disease.

Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties
The scientific studies on this are still in the very early stages, but cinnamon has been used for its antibacterial and antifungal properties since ancient times. While preliminary studies have been able to confirm that cinnamon is able to kill a variety of bacteria and fungi in a laboratory setting, large scale clinical studies have yet to be carried out to confirm this on the human body.

In addition to these primary benefits, cinnamon has also been linked with high levels of cancer fighting antioxidants, arthritis relief, and cognitive enhancement.  It is also a great source of calcium, iron, and fiber.  With so many potential health benefits and great tasting uses there is no reason not to spice up your diet with a little cinnamon.  Although it should be noted that none of the studies conducted thus far are conclusive, there is certainly enough evidence to make it worth trying.  Why not try sprinkling some cinnamon on your morning bowl of cereal, or instead of reaching for the sugar with your next cup of coffee try using some cinnamon instead.  There are many great tasting ways to add cinnamon to your diet, and the potential health benefits make it worth the effort.

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