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4 Amazing Health Benefits of Cinnamon

November 15, 2013

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Cinnamon always seems to top the seasonal spice list – two tablespoons in your banana muffin mix, a heaping spoonful to the sweet potato mash, a sprinkle on top of your pumpkin spice latte. Although available throughout the year, this comforting spice tends to symbolize the seasonal changing of the leaves, warm fires, and holiday gatherings.

Cinnamon has been hailed for its culinary and medicinal benefits for centuries. A source of manganese, iron, calcium and fiber, cinnamon is traditionally used to control blood sugar, ward off bacteria, and more.

Check out these 4 reasons why cinnamon can boost not only your spirits, but your health, this holiday season.

Controls your blood sugar. Cinnamon is largely known for its ability to lower blood sugar levels and increase the levels of insulin in the body. This process is essential to reducing the risk for diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers.

Improves digestion and weight control. Cinnamon has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to cure flatulence, nausea, and diarrhea. Additionally, because it lowers your blood sugar levels, it also helps to suppress your appetite.

Helps regulate menstrual cycles. A recent study conducted by Columbia University Medical Center suggests that cinnamon can regulate the menstrual cycles of women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a disorder that plagues an estimated five million American women of childbearing age.

Wards off bacteria. Ayurvedic medicine has long used cinnamon for its antifungal properties and its ability to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungus, and Candida. When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.

There are about one hundred wild varieties of cinnamon; however, Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon are the most commonly consumed types. While the former is more refined and expensive with a sweet taste, Cassia, known commonly as Chinese cinnamon, is what is usually found in the United States and offers a harsher and more overpowering flavor.

Although this multipurpose spice offers many wonderful benefits, it is essential to enjoy it in moderation. Cassia cinnamon contains a substantial amount of coumarin, a substance that can lead to liver damage if consumed in large quantities. This shouldn’t deter you from enjoying cinnamon this season, but it is something to keep in mind, especially if you’re considering taking cinnamon supplements.

There are tons of tasty seasonal recipes that call for cinnamon (see 77 Festive and Healthy Holiday Recipes), but there is no need to pull out your whisk and baking tin to take advantage of the copious health benefits. You can add a teaspoon of cinnamon to your oatmeal or cereal, sprinkle it on yogurt, or stir a bit into your warm drink of choice.

How will you use cinnamon to spice things up this season?