Cinnamon is in a number of recipes in both Volumes One and Two of The Alchemist’s Cookbook Series. It has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years and is used for its beneficial digestive qualities. It is part of the “sweet” category of foods and is thus beneficial for the spleen and stomach. The fabulous news is that modern science has now confirmed what people have instinctively known for ages, so here are some of the health benefits associated with this fabulously delicious spice:-
There are two main types of cinnamon
Ceylon cinnamon: Also known as “true” cinnamon.
Cassia cinnamon: This is the more common variety today, and is generally what people refer to as “cinnamon.”
There is an oily part of cinnamon and it is this which gives its very distinct smell and flavour. It is a compound called cinnamaldehyde. It is this compound which is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on our health and metabolism.
Here is more about its health benefits:-
Antioxidants – Cinnamon is packed full of antioxidants
Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which are cells which have mutated from healthy to abnormal cells
Some of these antioxidants are called polyphenols. If you have a diet rich in these properties, it can help to reduce heart disease as well as other types of diseases and health conditions humans can suffer from
Antioxidants are also exceptionally important in reducing and eliminating damage to the body by free radicals, which can cause inflammatory conditions as well as premature death of cells, so eating foods high in antioxidants can help reduce and maybe even reverse the ageing process
Free radical damage can also result in diseases such as diabetes and cancer as well as arthritis and rheumatism, so consuming foods high in antioxidants is a great idea generally!
They also help you to strengthen your immune system; soothe a sore throat and ease or prevent flu symptoms
In an antioxidant study, which compared the efficacy of 26 spices, cinnamon came out the clear winner. Apparently it is so powerful that it can be used as a natural food preservative
Due to its high levels of antioxidants, cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatory properties help the body to fight infection and repair tissue damage
Antioxidants help the body to reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, whist ensuring that the “good” HDL cholesterol remains stable
Further research showed that taking a dose of 120 mg per day of cinnamon also started to increase the levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol
Cinnamon has properties which improve sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is a vitally important hormone that regulates our metabolism and energy levels
This means that it can greatly help people suffering from type 2 diabetes because they suffer from something called insulin resistance, where the body is resistant to the effects of insulin
Therefore, cinnamon can help the body to reduce blood sugar levels and thus it has a powerful anti-diabetic effect. It does this by decreasing the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after we have eaten. Firstly, this is achieved by interfering with many digestive enzymes, which in turn slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract. Secondly, a compound in cinnamon is also able to act on cells by mimicking insulin. This in turn greatly improves the glucose uptake by cells, although it acts in a slower way than insulin itself
There have been numerous human trials that have confirmed the anti-diabetic effects of cinnamon which have shown that they can lower fasting blood sugar levels by between 10-29%
The effective dose is typically 1-6g of cinnamon per day ½-2 teaspoons