Cinnamon is one of my favourite spices and is perfect for this time a year. Most commonly known for its sweet and warming fragrance, cinnamon is, unbeknown to most, loaded with some ridiculously healthy and beneficial nutrition qualities.
Cinnamon & Nutrition
Nutritionally cinnamon is an excellent source of manganese and fiber and a very good source of calcium. In fact just 2 tsp (5gm) provides all of 46% of the daily requirement for manganese and 11% of our daily need for fiber. It is packed with a variety of powerful antioxidants, which effectively help protect our cells from oxidative damage including sun damage, wrinkles and other signs of ageing.
Cinnamon Promote Healthy Blood Sugar & Weight
Cinnamon impacts our weight and metabolism by positively affecting and promoting a healthy response to blood sugar. When we consume sugar (refined carbohydrates, processed foods, sweet beverages, candy etc) the body responds by releasing insulin, which then removes the sugar from our blood and into our cells. When insulin is too high, the body effectively and quickly stores sugar as fat (fat storing mode), whereas low insulin levels make the body release and use sugar and fat (fat-burning mode). Cinnamon effectively stimulates insulin receptors’ affinity for insulin, which as result means the body needs to produce less insulin to achieve the desired effect. This in turn decreases insulin levels, reducing stress on the pancreas and any inflammation associated with high insulin levels, while improving the body’s metabolic rate and blood sugar profile, all of which are essential for optimal health and healthy weight. [source #1, source #2]
Cinnamon Boosts Brain Function
Aside from the fact that consuming cinnamon improves the body’s ability to utilise and regulate blood sugar, the mere scent of this sweet spice is also beneficial. Research have shown that the fragrance of cinnamon powerfully stimulate regions of the brain, leading to greater attention span and memory. [source]
Lastly, cinnamon acts as a natural food preservative, preventing growth of bacteria and fungi in food. This anti-microbial activity is also beneficial inside the body where it helps prevent overgrowth of candida as well as bacteria.
Cinnamon Helps Promote Healthy Hormone Balance in Women
Cinnamon contains a natural chemical called cinnamaldehyde, which research has shown helps increase the hormone progesterone while decreasing testosterone production in women, helping to balance female reproductive hormones and therefore also fertility. On a similar note, cinnamon is also helpful for reducing symptoms of PMS in women. [source]
My favourite recipes & ways to use cinnamon
- The warming sweetness of cinnamon adds a great touch to sweet breads and cakes of all varieties. My spelt banana bread & paleo pumpkin spice cake are two of favourites of mine and both recipes call for generous amounts of cinnamon.
- I love adding a cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon in a warm cup of almond milk. Such a tasty & cosy winter drink.
- Cinnamon is versatile and can be sprinkled on top your breakfast cereal, porridge or muesli. I also like to add 2-3 tsp to my homemade Healthy Granola Clusters.
- For an easy and healthy dessert, bake an apple sprinkled with plenty of cinnamon and serve with a dollop or Greek yogurt.
- Cinnamon is a great addition to any Indian curry, lamb roasts & Mediterranean dishes.
- For an easy cinnamon toast, sprinkle the sweet spice on a piece of grainy bread topped with nut butter.