Do you have cinnamon in your spice cabinet? OF COURSE YOU DO!!! But what TYPE of cinnamon do you have? Did you even know that there two main types of cinnamon?
If you buy cinnamon in the supermarket, chances are good that you are purchasing Cassia cinnamon. It's the more common variety. Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of the cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is extracted, woody parts are removed and dried, which forms the curly strips that you see around the holidays. These cinnamon sticks are then ground to form the powder.
But not all cinnamon is created equal. In fact, researchers are now warning that over consumption of Cassia cinnamon may cause liver damage. A 2010 German study found that on average, Cassia cinnamon powder had up to 63 times more coumarin compared to Ceylon cinnamon powder, while Cassia cinnamon sticks contained 18 times more than Ceylon cinnamon sticks.
Coumarin adds a pleasant note to many natural flavorings, including vanilla, but it primarily occurs in cassia. Until 1954, coumarin was legal to use as a food additive in the U.S., but the FDA banned its use after researchers found it caused liver damage in laboratory animals. Being exposed to the chemical in small quantities is still safe for humans, but when consumed on the daily, it may be problematic.
So, how do we get all of the health benefits of cinnamon without the risky side effects? That's easy -- make sure to purchase CEYLON cinnamon for your daily consumption. I add cinnamon to everything. In my coffee grinds when I make my morning cup of joe, in my overnight oats, in my vegan supplement shake -- I find myself reaching for the cinnamon at least 3 times a day sometimes!
And while Ceylon cinnamon is a BIT more pricey, it's more mild in taste, and has all of the same benefits, with LESS chance for liver damage. And if you're using it together with a balanced and healthy diet, your organs should be protected, anyway!
Here are the top 5 reasons why you should be using cinnamon daily:
1. It's an Antioxidant Powerhouse.
Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols. In fact, in a study that compared the antioxidant levels of 26 spices, cinnamon took the trophy, even outranking "superfoods" like garlic and oregano!
2. It Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Insulin is one of the key hormones that regulate metabolism and energy use. It is also essential for the transport of blood sugar from the bloodstream and into cells.
A 2002 study showed that 32.2% of the US population may be insulin resistant, and that this number may rise to 70% in obese adult women. About a third of obese children and teenagers may also have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
"Human studies involving control subjects and subjects with metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and polycystic ovary syndrome all show beneficial effects of whole cinnamon and/or aqueous extracts of cinnamon on glucose, insulin, insulin sensitivity, lipids, antioxidant status, blood pressure, lean body mass, and gastric emptying."
3. It Lowers Blood Sugar Levels.
Cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal. It does this by interfering with digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract. And then there's the insulin (see above).
This greatly improves glucose uptake by cells, although it acts much slower than insulin itself.
Numerous human trials have confirmed the anti-diabetic effects of cinnamon, showing that it can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 10-29%. Adding up to 2 teaspoons of Ceylon cinnamon a day is an effective dose.
4. It's Anti-Inflammatory.
The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, brain function decline, and more. Because cinnamon lowers swelling and inflammation, it can help with pain management, with studies showing that cinnamon helps to relive muscle soreness, PMS pains, severity of allergic reactions, and other age-related symptoms of pain. Dump the Midol and pick up a cinnamon roll, instead. I see LOTS of benefits there!
5. It Fights Viruses.
Cinnamon is the Superman of your spice rack. As we all know, it is SO ANNOYING when you go to the doctor with that runny nose, sore throat, and achy pains all over just to have her say, "It's viral. Drink lots of fluids and get some rest." Well, cinnamon might be able to help with that.
Cinnamon is a natural anti-microbial, antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-viral agent. The essential oils of cinnamon boast of incredible immune-boosting abilities. It also has protective abilities against bacteria which can cause symptoms in the digestive tract, skin, and can lead to colds or flu.
No colds? No flu? At this time of year? WHERE DO I SIGN UP??!
When all is said and done, cinnamon is an often-overlooked naturally occurring medicinal FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH. Add it to your tea, your coffee, sprinkle it on a whole wheat English muffin with some sliced banana and almond butter, blend it into your smoothie...whatever you do, try to add it to your daily diet and EAT UP.
And if you want more tips like these, reach out to me for a one-on-one counseling session TODAY. I can help you look at your cupboards and decide what to keep and what to toss for your OPTIMAL healthy day.