Yes, you read that right. Cinnamon is a superfood. It is one of the most popular spices in baking and cooking (not to mention a fabulous flavor enhancer for a good cappuccino). Along with turmeric this spice has been prized for centuries for medicinal purposes in many cultures.
When my husband and I were getting married and on our honeymoon in the Seychelles we had dozens of cinnamon trees outside our villa. Long story short, we defaced a tree, bringing back plenty of cinnamon bark, branches (sticks), and leaves and use this in a cinnamon, honey “tea” concoction that is so heady both warm in the winter and chilled in the summer that it makes me fall in love with my husband every single time I drink it because of the memories of that trip. We use cinnamon in biscuits, in coffee, but also in chicken dishes, some veggie and rice dishes, and, of course, in stewed fruit. It is a simple addition to our Corsican Quinoa Salad or Mexican Millet Salad as a background taste that will have people wonder what makes your recipes so mysterious and scrumptious.
Let’s take a look at the many surprising health benefits::
1. Studies have shown that cinnamon has anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal properties. Cinnamon has been found to be effective in treating vaginal yeast infections, oral thrush, killing lice, and treating h pylori bacteria in the stomach which may treat stomach ulcers naturally. It inhibits bacterial growth in foods making it a natural food preservative. Studies have indicated cinnamon fights the E. Coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices so, when eating and drinking a raw diet, a liberal sprinkle of cinnamon can keep bad “beasties” out of your gut.
2. Many studies have shown that a mere 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day can dramatically lower cholesterol levels.
3. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties. The Standard American Diet is notorious for causing chronic inflammation. Over time this inflammation causes both acute and chronic diseases such as arthritis, IBS, heart disease, stroke and autoimmune disease. It has even been tied to unexplained infertility. Cinnamon, when used in conjunction with a plant based anti-inflammatory diet, can further decrease inflammation in the body therefore reducing the risk and symptoms of inflammatory illnesses.
4. Cinnamon is high in manganese, iron, calcium, and fiber. Calcium and fiber together help to eliminate bile which helps protect the colon from the formation of malignant cells which may prevent colon cancer. Dietary fiber helps fight IBS symptoms, Chron’s Disease, and constipation along with aiding in detoxifying compounds that are excreted through the colon such as estrogen which makes cinnamon an excellent addition to any nutrition plan geared to eliminating estrogen dominance.
5. Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes. In 2003 the USDA, in a landmark study, found 60 people in Pakistan who had Type 2 diabetes, when given 1 gram of cinnamon each day to eat over a period of 40 days, experienced a significant decrease in their blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides.
Author’s note:: If you are on prescription medication such as statins, insulin, or other medication for a chronic illness, do not go off your prescription medications without speaking to your doctor first. Do not eat a half a bottle of cinnamon every day. As with everything, more is not better. Cinnamon can be toxic in high doses. The key is balance. Cinnamon has been shown to have amazing anti-clotting properties for the blood which make it great for stroke and other blood clotting disorders but if you are on medications such as Coumadin or Heparin, please consult your doctor to find out how cinnamon affects these drugs.