Cinnamon is a spice that is made from the inner bark of trees scientifically known as Cinnamomum.
It has been used as an ingredient throughout history, dating back as far as Ancient Egypt. It used to be rare and valuable and was regarded as a gift fit for kings.
These days, cinnamon is cheap, available in every supermarket and found as an ingredient in various foods and recipes.
There are two main types of cinnamon
- Ceylon cinnamon: Also known as “true” cinnamon.
- Cassia cinnamon: The more common variety today and what people generally refer to as “cinnamon.”
Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of cinnamon trees. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed.
When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. These sticks can be ground to form cinnamon powder.
The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon are due to the oily part, which is very high in the compound cinnamaldehyde.
Scientists believe that this compound is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and metabolism.
Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols.
In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon wound up as the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano.
In fact, it is so powerful that cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative.
Cinnamon has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, the world’s most common cause of premature death.
In people with type 2 diabetes, 1 gram or about half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood markers.
It reduces levels of total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while “good” HDL cholesterol remains stable
More recently, a big review study concluded that a cinnamon dose of just 120 mg per day can have these effects. In this study, cinnamon also increased “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
In animal studies, cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
When combined, all these factors may drastically cut your risk of heart disease.