Have you ever heard someone comment that cinnamon slims down , takes away hunger or treats diarrhea? Well know that all these statements have a basis of truth.
This is because the spice, which is obtained from the inner bark of some trees of the Cinnamomum genus , is rich in several substances that are important for the maintenance of bodily functioning.
To better understand the power of this herb, food engineer and gastronomy teacher Jacqueline Monica Pagliuso Venturoso Barauna spoke with us and explained all about the health benefits of cinnamon and also gave tips on how to consume it.
The 9 Top Benefits of Cinnamon
1. Helps control diabetes
Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices around the world. In addition to the strong flavor and aroma, it has health benefits when consumed regularly. One of the main ones is diabetes control.
According to Jacqueline Barauna, the herb bark “improves tissue sensitivity to the action of insulin ”.
In other words, it makes the body able to process this hormone better, which serves to metabolize sugar and prevent its excess in the blood. This effect, as she explains, happens especially because cinnamon has good amounts of substances such as the mineral chromium and the polyphenol MHCP.
The rind is also rich in a compound capable of increasing the rate of insulin release from the pancreas. ( 1 )
2. Treats diarrhea
Drinking cinnamon tea or adding the spice to some food is a natural treatment option for diarrhea. As explained by the food engineer, this is because it has antispasmodic, probiotic and anti-inflammatory actions.
This set of factors acts by preventing the body’s reaction that causes the problem, reducing the spasms that cause pain and frequent trips to the bathroom, and also stimulates the proliferation of intestinal flora, which are bacteria that help protect the body. In this way, it ends up providing quick relief for all symptoms.
Jacqueline also points out that, thanks to these properties, cinnamon can also reduce the problem with gases, which, in addition to being uncomfortable, can cause severe pain.
3. Assists in the treatment of respiratory problems
The spice is a ‘hands-on’ in the treatment of symptoms of infections and respiratory allergies, especially due to its “drying effect on mucous membranes and natural expectorant”, explains Barauna.
Do not think that it stops there, the essential oil of cinnamon is also a potent antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial agent, and has an effect on reducing inflammation , the main cause of allergic crises .
In this way, it acts in two ways in respiratory problems: both bringing a quick relief for those super annoying symptoms, as directly treating the cause of the illnesses.
4. Lowers cholesterol
The food engineer says that cinnamon “helps control cholesterol, especially if combined with a healthy diet.”
This is due to the presence of several antioxidant compounds , which help to reduce the oxidation (degradation) of this type of fat, preventing it from starting to accumulate in tissues and arteries.
Cinnamon essential oil also showed a lowering effect on triglycerides, another type of fat that also increases the risk of cardiovascular problems when found in excess in the body. ( 2 )
5. Boosts immunity
Cinnamon is also an ideal supplement for those who have a weakened immune system, which is the body’s defense against diseases, which leaves the doors open to useful illnesses, such as the flu .
All due to the “immunomodulating effect (of increasing the production of cells that make up this system), which ends up helping to improve the body’s response against the virus that causes flu”, exemplifies Jacqueline.
And the increase in antibodies makes the body able to act more quickly against several other disease-causing agents.
6. Favors weight loss
You may have heard at some point in your life that cinnamon tea helps you lose weight and know that this statement does have some truth to it. According to Jacqueline, what happens is that the spice is a powerful thermogenic .
This means that it raises the body temperature and thus is “able to increase the body’s caloric expenditure during digestion and the metabolic process”, she says, noting that this works as long as the consumption of cinnamon is associated with the practice of exercise physicists.
To top it off, eating cinnamon can delay gastric emptying. That is, the time it takes for food to leave the stomach, which ends up helping to reduce hunger throughout the day. (3)
7. Gives more energy and improves mood
According to Jacqueline, cinnamon also helps to give you more energy and improve your mood. That’s because the spice has the ability to increase resistance to stress and also increase concentration.
That’s why starting the day consuming the herb can help you have more mental energy and motivation to complete all your goals and ease irritation.
8. Protects against free radicals
Another strong point of the spice is that it is a source of several antioxidants, which are compounds that delay cell degradation (oxidation).
And it is precisely “because it contains a high amount of antioxidants, which eliminate metabolites and free radicals responsible for various types of diseases in the body”, she explains, that cinnamon is considered an ally in cancer prevention .
To better understand:
During this oxidation process, the body ends up releasing unstable molecules called free radicals, which “stick” to healthy cells and thus cause their degradation.
Because of this, the body becomes more fragile and, therefore, more susceptible to diseases such as cancer and even cardiovascular and neurodegenerative problems.
9. Provides relief from muscle pain
Finally, cinnamon is very useful for relieving muscle and joint pain, such as rheumatism, and all this because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions.
Jacqueline explained that the spice is a natural source of magnesium, a mineral that helps control muscle pain and stiffness, which is ideal for those who practice physical exercise.
For this purpose, in addition to drinking tea or eating cinnamon in food, it is possible to use the essential oil to massage painful areas!
Cinnamon powder and stick: differences and the best option
If you have any doubts about which version to consume, whether powdered or in husk, know that both are equally good for your health.
The main difference between them is the intensity of flavor , since the powder version better concentrates and delivers this characteristic. The vines, on the other hand, are ideal for those looking for a milder flavor, as the compounds are released more delicately into food.
In general, the powder is mostly used for sprinkling ready-made dishes, such as bananas and coffee, while cinnamon sticks are recommended for preparing tea or recipes that cook longer.
How to use cinnamon?
Did you know that adding a little cinnamon before brewing the coffee helps to enhance the flavor and even reduce the bitterness of the drink? To prepare you just need to put 1 vine or 1 teaspoon in the coffee powder and strain as usual. Pretty simple, isn’t it?
Milk and cinnamon is a more than perfect combination, especially to drink before going to bed for a peaceful night’s sleep. There’s no secret to prepare: heat 1 cup of milk, along with 1 cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Let it boil for a few minutes and it’s ready. If you want a stronger flavor, you can sprinkle ½ teaspoon of cinnamon on top of the drink.
Another delicious way to eat cinnamon is to sprinkle the powder over the fruit for breakfast, banana being one of the best options when it comes to combining flavors.
All you need to do is mash or slice the bananas and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. The spice is also perfect with the roasted fruit.
The cinnamon is an option for those seeking concentrated effects of this spice. To prepare, you just need to put 1 vine in 1 cup of boiling water and let it rest for 10 minutes.
After that time, remove the chopstick and drink this infusion up to 3 times a day, always without adding sugar.
In the water
For those who do not like tea, a good alternative is to drink water flavored with cinnamon, which has a milder flavor and therefore can be consumed throughout the day and deliver the same benefits.
To prepare, you just need to put a cinnamon branch in 1 liter of water and let it rest in the fridge overnight. The next day just go drinking when you feel thirsty.
Lastly, you can use a few drops of the essential oil, which you can find in essence houses or stores that sell herbal products, to massage aching joints or muscles.
Contraindications and precautions when consuming cinnamon
Cinnamon is considered a very safe spice, especially because it is used for food purposes, but this does not mean that no care should be taken when consuming it.
The internal use of it, for example, can “provoke intestinal irritation (… and) increase in blood pressure”, as Jacqueline warns. In addition, cinnamon contains coumarin, which is a substance with anticoagulant properties, which can increase the risk of bleeding in people who suffer from clotting problems or who use such synthetic drugs.
Cinnamon should also be avoided during pregnancy, as it “favors uterine contraction and increases the risk of miscarriage or [may] cause premature birth,” adds the professional.
Also pay attention to the amount of consumption, which should be 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon per day.
The use of essential oil, on the other hand, can cause irritation to the skin and mucous membranes and even allergies in more sensitive people. Therefore, always be aware and any negative symptoms seek advice from a doctor or nutritionist.