Countless homes, cafes, and bakeshops around the world adore cinnamon! Commonly used as a food flavoring, cinnamon was also utilized medicinally for thousands of years.
Today, this beloved spice is still enjoyed by many cultures due to its generous health benefits. Its distinct warm flavor and ease of use also bring cinnamon much closer to people.
The great news is, you can enjoy the widespread health benefits of cinnamon provided you get the right kind. These wellness perks are in addition to Ceylon cinnamon’s comforting taste that never fails to perk up our favorite foods and drinks.
So, if you want to know how good Ceylon cinnamon can get, read on. This article will dive into its benefits, some easy and tasty ways you can add it to your diet, as well as its potential risks to your health.
What is Ceylon Cinnamon?
Before we dig deeper into the amazing health benefits of Ceylon cinnamon, it would be useful to get to know cinnamon a little bit more first.
Did you know that cinnamon comes in two varieties? Yep, there are two different kinds of cinnamon sold in markets globally: Ceylon cinnamon, and Cassia cinnamon.
This is some huge information because one cinnamon is real, while the other is not. Dubbed as the “true” cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon is the one packed with essential properties and health advantages.
Cassia, on the other hand, contains high levels of coumarin, which can cause liver toxicity.
Because of this crucial contrast, it is important to know what kind of cinnamon you’re adding to your diet. Unfortunately, Cassia cinnamon is the one commonly sold in many supermarkets and grocery stores.
This is because Ceylon cinnamon is typically harder to find, and more expensive compared to its counterpart.
Ceylon cinnamon tastes sweeter and more refined than the Cassia variant. And, it comes only from the Cinnamomum zeylanicum tree, which is primarily cultivated in Sri Lanka, the Caribbean, Brazil, Madagascar, and India.
While it can also be found in Sri Lanka, Cassia cinnamon is more commonly grown in China and Vietnam.
Ceylon Cinnamon: Fun Facts
More than 300 species of trees and shrubs are a part of the genus Cinnamomum. The Ceylon variant, however, is thought to be the only true cinnamon.
Ceylon cinnamon is derived from a tree’s inner bark. Farmers cut the branches for harvesting, and peel off the bark. Once the bark is peeled, they roll the inner bark into quills like a cigar. And then, they hung it up to dry before sending it to the market.
Cinnamon was also used in the embalming process! During the ancient times, Egyptians used cinnamon in embalming mummies due to its pleasant odors and preservative qualities.
What are the Health Benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon?
Ceylon cinnamon can help treat diabetes
People suffering from diabetes mellitus may be able to find help from Ceylon cinnamon. According to a study, both Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon have the potential to reduce blood sugar in human and animal subjects.
Researchers, however, strongly recommend the use of Ceylon cinnamon since the Cassia variant contains coumarin. Ceylon cinnamon was found to stimulate an insulin-like activity, which helps to metabolize glucose in the liver.
Meantime, other studies are supporting the potential of Ceylon cinnamon in treating diabetes. People who are looking for an alternative therapy to diabetes may find Ceylon cinnamon useful.
Ceylon cinnamon may prevent the risk of cancer
Ceylon cinnamon also contains antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that help support your immune system, and fight free radical damage.
One research revealed that Ceylon cinnamon improved antioxidant enzyme activity, suggesting that it can prevent or treat certain cancer types.
This sheds some ray of light for people who are searching for dietary supplements that can hamper cancer growth.
But, keep in mind that it’s best to talk to your oncologist first before experimenting with Ceylon cinnamon or other supplements.
Ceylon cinnamon promotes heart health
All cinnamon varieties have cinnamic acid, which contains anti-inflammatory effects. These anti-inflammatory properties help regulate blood flow and protect the heart.
Studies show that Ceylon cinnamon is good for the heart as it helps regulate triglyceride levels and blood pressure.
Researchers also suggest that cinnamon may be helpful in preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases as it reduces high blood pressure, a known risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Ceylon cinnamon boosts brain function
Ceylon cinnamon is good for your brain, too! According to research, cinnamon may boost mental health and prevent the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, especially among the elderly.
While there are not enough human studies, in vitro studies reveal that cinnamon inhibits a certain protein to avoid the occurrence of such disorders.
A separate study also discovered that cinnamon combats oxidative stress, preventing cell damage and inflammation in animal models.
Aside from protecting brain function, cinnamon also helps to lower the risk of cognitive decline.
Ceylon cinnamon protects the body against viruses and infections
Cinnamon has a powerful potential in protecting the body against illnesses. Aside from its natural antibiotic, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiviral effects, cinnamon also contains essential oils that boast immune-boosting properties.
In particular, the cinnamon oil contains protective effects against bacterial infections, which can lead to common colds, ear infections, meningitis, and pneumonia.
Because of this, many cultures use cinnamon to combat viruses and infections that threaten our health.
Ceylon cinnamon prevents digestive and autoimmune diseases
One research also shows that cinnamon contains powerful antifungal properties that may be beneficial in preventing and treating Candida overgrowth.
It was discovered that cinnamon reduced the presence of Candida species, which causes Candida overgrowth and other autoimmune and digestive problems.
Also, cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels, preventing an increase in sugar amounts in the digestive tract, a risk factor for Candida.
Ceylon cinnamon benefits the skin, too
Ceylon cinnamon benefits for the skin are attributed to its antimicrobial and antibiotic effects, which helps protect the skin against allergic reactions, infection, irritation, and rashes.
Cinnamon essential oils can help lessen pain, inflammation, redness, and swelling when applied directly onto the skin.
Using cinnamon and honey together can improve your skin health further due to the antimicrobial properties they both contain. This combination may help treat skin allergies, acne, and rosacea.
Ceylon cinnamon can be used as a food preservative
Even during ancient times, Ceylon cinnamon has been used to preserve meats and even corpses!
Because of its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, cinnamon can act as a natural food preservative without artificial ingredients and chemicals.
According to a study, the pectin from fruit was able to stay fresh for longer when it was coated with cinnamon extract.
The result was attributed to the high antibacterial and antioxidant effects yielded by the pectin when it was applied with cinnamon.
Cinnamon also contains anti-tyrosinase properties, which can help prevent the discoloration of fruits and veggies caused by oxidation.
How Can You Add Ceylon Cinnamon to Your Diet?
Cinnamon offers a uniquely warm, sweet taste that perks up tons of beverages and recipes. Here’s how to use Ceylon cinnamon in your diet so you can enjoy its impressive health benefits:
Spice up your drinks with Ceylon cinnamon
You can give your drinks that extra kick of flavor by adding Ceylon cinnamon powder to your fruit smoothies, turmeric lattes, hot chocolate, and even your tea!
Just make sure you’re getting the best kind of Ceylon cinnamon powder available in the market to fully enjoy it like the Burma Spice Ground Ceylon Cinnamon.
Incorporate Ceylon cinnamon into your stewed fruit
Enhance the flavors of your stewed fruits by adding some Ceylon cinnamon to it. Your stewed apples and rhubarb will definitely get a flavor boost!
Sprinkle your soups and porridge with Ceylon cinnamon
Take your basic soups and porridge to the next level by sprinkling them with some Ceylon cinnamon. It’s perfect for rainy days!
Add Ceylon cinnamon to your baked goods
Many people simply love a warmly baked goodie. Make your banana bread, cookies, and crumbles even more special by adding Ceylon cinnamon to it.
Take it as a supplement
If you aren’t a big fan of Ceylon cinnamon as a food, though, you can take it in its supplement form. There are Ceylon cinnamon capsules that you can consume as a substitute to Ceylon cinnamon powder.
Some Key Points to Keep in Mind
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), cinnamon supplements are generally safe for human consumption provided they are taken in proper doses.
Experts also recommend the use of Ceylon cinnamon instead of the Cassia variant due to its coumarin content.
Adding this beloved spice to your diet will let you enjoy the amazing Ceylon cinnamon health benefits. Taking it as a supplement is a great option too, as long as it contains the “true” Ceylon cinnamon.
This lowers your risk of adverse side effects. But as always, it is best to talk to your doctor first if you want to use Ceylon cinnamon, especially if you have certain health conditions and medications.