Cinnamon is packed with nutrients that can benefit people with heart disease and diabetes

There are dozens of proven health benefits when you consume the wonderful spice known as cinnamon.

Cinnamon is an ancient spice harvested from the branches of the trees of the genus Cinnamomum. It is cultivated all over the world, from South and mainland Southeast Asia to the Caribbean and South America.

Cinnamon is now the second most popular spice – after black pepper – in the United States and Europe. As a spice, it is used either in powder form or whole, as pieces of bark. It has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, even just one teaspoon of ground cinnamon is bursting to the brim with nutrients, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and vitamins K and A.

A stick of cinnamon can be consumed in a variety of ways. Cinnamon itself imparts wonderful flavors to dishes or sauces during the cooking process, with ground cinnamon regularly mixed into or sprinkled atop of evergreen and holiday-themed foods like baked goods, desserts, savory dishes and beverages.

There are records of cinnamon being used as a medicine that go as far as ancient Egypt, when it used to be a rare commodity only used by the upper echelons of ancient societies.

These ancient peoples probably did not understand how cinnamon imparted its medicinal properties, only that it had a positive effect on people with ailments and on maintaining optimal health.

Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants

What society now understands is that cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants that protect people’s bodies from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, including polyphenols. One study even found that cinnamon supplementation could significantly increase antioxidant levels in the blood, while reducing levels of markers used by scientists to measure inflammation.

Other studies have linked cinnamon to a reduced risk of heart disease, with one review suggesting that supplementing with at least 1.5 grams of cinnamon per day helps reduce levels of triglycerides, bad cholesterol and blood sugar in people with metabolic disease. Triglyceride and total cholesterol levels are risk factors for developing heart disease.

Cinnamon’s ability to lower blood sugar levels is beneficial for people with diabetes.

Studies have found that cinnamon can decrease the amount of sugar that enters people’s bloodstream after meals, doing so by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in people’s digestive tracts.

A compound in cinnamon can also mimic the effects of insulin to improve the uptake of sugar into the cells.

Furthermore, cinnamon can help reduce insulin resistance, a hallmark for people struggling with Type 2 diabetes. Reducing insulin resistance and improving sensitivity to insulin is essential, as insulin is one of the key hormones for regulating metabolism and energy use.

Dozens of other studies have examined the other positive effects of cinnamon.

Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties; exerts beneficial effects on people with neurodegenerative disease; and can help protect against certain types of cancers.

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