Cinnamon is not only an aromatic treasure used in cuisines around the world, it is a nutritional gem known for its health benefits.
In the fascinating world of condiments, cinnamon emerges as a culinary gem that goes beyond its appealing aroma and distinctive flavor. This spice, derived from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree has gained attention not only for its role in cooking, but also for its notable health benefits.
There is around 12 tree species, but only four are sold . Among these, the most marketed is cassia or Chinese cinnamon, because it comes from the south of this country (the type Aromatic cinnamon), and Ceylon or true cinnamon, which is extracted from the tree Cinnamon Verum and was born in countries like Sri Lanka or South India.
Among its advantages, the Spanish Nutrition Foundation (FEN) emphasizes that it is distinguished by its content of calcium and iron, as well as zinc, selenium, potassium, vitamins B6 and C in addition to having fiber, carbohydrates, vitamin A, vitamin B8, magnesium and phosphorus.
Additionally, cinnamon also contains high percentages of coumarins, tannins and mucilage which They give it anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anesthetic, probiotic, antispasmodic and antioxidant properties.
5 Powerful Benefits of Cinnamon You Probably Didn’t Know About
Discover 5 benefits of cinnamon below:
1. It can reduce cholesterol
Some studies suggest that cinnamon may have a positive impact on reducing cholesterol levels. It was observed that Cinnamon can help reduce total cholesterol levels as well as LDL cholesterol levels. (low-density lipoprotein, commonly known as “bad cholesterol”).
The active components of cinnamon, Cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid are cardioprotective due to their anti-inflammatory property and ability to produce nitric oxide. , a compound that causes arteries to relax and blood to flow more easily. Additionally, they also help inhibit calcium channels which, along with nitric oxide, help keep blood pressure low.
“Daily consumption of cinnamon has been linked to heart health in several long-term ways . Especially, Cinnamon is known to reduce levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while maintaining HDL cholesterol levels,” he said.
This directly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease what is it the leading cause of death in the United States and in Chile more than a quarter of all deaths recorded each year nearly 30,000 in total, are due to these diseases .
2. Helps Control Diabetes
Some research suggests that cinnamon may have beneficial effects on controlling diabetes. especially in the improved insulin sensitivity and in the regulation of blood sugar.
He cinnamtanin or compound B1 Present in cinnamon promotes the reduction of blood sugar levels. Specialists point out that B1 manages to stimulate insulin receptors, thus increasing the cellular capacity to assimilate glucose.
“This means that cinnamon has been shown to make you more sensitive to the insulin your body produces. Your body’s cells respond better to insulin, which is the hormone that controls blood sugar. » Sharon Palmer explains to Aol, American dietitian nutritionist and co-founder of Food+Planet .
All of this helps protect against type 2 diabetes because when the body begins to become resistant to insulin, glucose cannot enter the body’s cells and produces a rise in blood sugar, triggering type 2 diabetes.
In addition, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon also influences the proper functioning of the pancreas, which is the organ responsible for insulin production.
3. Stimulates brain functions
Beyond being a simple condiment, cinnamon has been linked to improvements in brain function. Studies suggest that its consumption may contribute to concentration and memory, providing an additional cognitive benefit.
Cinnamon contains phytochemicals that improve the brain’s ability to use glucose. Additionally, it has antioxidant properties that prevent free radical damage to cells, thereby reducing oxidative stress and improving learning and memory, which may provide protection against Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and dementia. of Parkinson’s.
“Cinnamon contains compounds that inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Manaker. It is therefore thought that this could reduce the risk of dementia. But data is still lacking to confirm this relationship.
However, according to some scientific studies, Cinnamon helps improve mood, as it inhibits the inflammatory process in the brain, helping to increase serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, increasing happiness and feelings of well-being.
4. Promotes digestion
The digestive benefits of cinnamon are numerous, one of them being to facilitate digestion. The fibers, iron and calcium contained in cinnamon adhere to bile salts, responsible for solubilizing ingested lipids and fat-soluble vitamins, to eliminate them effectively.
Additionally, because cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory spice, Manaker says it can help maintain a healthy gut, suppressing the growth of bad bacteria and allowing good bacteria to thrive.
According to Aol, some studies show that cinnamon can help relieve the symptoms of people who regularly suffer from diarrhea due to irritable bowel syndrome.
5. May Lower Blood Pressure
Cinnamon contains compounds that may have vasodilatory and anti-inflammatory properties, which could contribute to the regulation of blood pressure.
Manaker says that eat cinnamon every day It can also lower blood pressure. Given that High blood pressure linked to cardiovascular disease This is another way that cinnamon consumption reduces risk.
5 risks of excess cinnamon
Although cinnamon is generally safe when consumed in moderate amounts as part of the diet, Excessive consumption of cinnamon or certain types of cinnamon may pose potential risks.
“As beneficial as cinnamon is, it is important to remember that too much can be harmful. The potentially dangerous compound in cinnamon is called coumarin which can cause liver damage in large quantities,” says Manaker.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Coumarin: Coumarin is a compound found in some varieties of cinnamon, particularly cassia cinnamon, which is the most common variety in many places. Consuming large amounts of coumarin can cause adverse health effects, as it has been linked to possible liver damage. People with pre-existing liver problems should be especially careful.
2. Allergies: As with any food, some people may be allergic to cinnamon. Allergic reactions can range from mild, such as itching and redness, to more serious reactions, such as difficulty breathing. If you experience allergy symptoms after consuming cinnamon, it is important to consult a doctor.
3. Interaction with drugs: Cinnamon may interact with certain medications, such as those intended to control diabetes. May increase the effects of some blood sugar-lowering medications, which could lead to hypoglycemia . People taking medication should talk to their doctor before incorporating large amounts of cinnamon into their diet.
4. Gastrointestinal irritation: In some people, consuming cinnamon in large quantities or concentrated form (for example, via supplements) may cause gastrointestinal irritation, causing stomach upset, nausea, or diarrhea.
5. Type of cinnamon: Cassia cinnamon, commonly available in supermarkets, tends to contain higher levels of coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon. Opting for Ceylon cinnamon can be a safer choice if you consume it regularly.
Like always, It is advisable to maintain a balance in your diet and consult a healthcare professional if you have any particular concerns regarding your cinnamon intake. especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are taking medications.
Manaker says that The European Food Safety Authority recommends a daily intake of no more than 0.1 milligrams of coumarin per kilogram of body weight. “This means that a person weighing 70 kilograms should consume no more than 7 milligrams of coumarin, which is found in about one teaspoon of Cassia cinnamon,” he said to Aol. Which is equivalent to one teaspoon of cinnamon per day, or less if weight is less than 70 kg.