Cinnamon Health Benefits

By , Jason V., SparkPeople Contributor

Cinnamon awakens the senses and makes people think of pumpkin pie, spiced coffee, and the aroma of the holidays. However, cinnamon doesn't just have a pleasing smell; many often fail to recognize how much of a positive impact cinnamon may have on health. Cinnamon carries many benefits, which include antioxidant and microbial properties. Take a look at how cinnamon can make you healthier.

Cinnamon and Diabetes

Cinnamon has been widely used throughout human history for a myriad of medical treatments. Among these ailments, cinnamon has been shown to improve the prognoses of those with diabetes. In October 2013, a comprehensive analysis of cinnamon and its effect on diabetes was conducted, reports the National Library of Medicine. Throughout the two-year study of 543 patients, the levels of fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and triglycerides decreased with the assistance of a cinnamon supplement. 

Cinnamon and Bacteria

Oils from the leaves of Ceylon cinnamon trees act as a natural disinfectant. Kansas State University studied the effects of cinnamon on different strains of bacteria as well. Out of these trials, cinnamon was found to have antimicrobial properties against the potentially fatal Escherichia coli bacterium, or E. coli, within contaminated, unpasteurized juices.

Reduced Risk For Fungal Infections

Since cinnamon inhibits the growth of bacteria and resists moisture, it has the potential for preventing fungal infections. Some use cinnamon as a paste to treat fungal infections of the feet, and it also has been used as a dietary supplement to treat yeast infections, which result from the growth of yeast and other fungi.

Cinnamon and Alzheimer’s

Cinnamon contains an extract, CEppt. This compound inhibits the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by affecting the levels of neurotransmitters within the brain. Part of the impact of cinnamon derives from its ability to prevent the formation of amyloid polypeptide oligomers, which result in lesions in the brain and degeneration of neural activity.

Cinnamon as an Antioxidant

Cinnamon is also used as an antioxidant to reduce the damaging effects of free radicals in the body. In many different metabolic processes, such as the chemical reaction to access stored energy in ATP molecules, oxygen atoms become dislodged from their covalently bonded molecules. When an oxygen molecule becomes free, or radicalized, it can damage any tissue it comes into contact with as it attempts to bind to the tissue. Cinnamon acts as a safe binding site for free radicals, which are then excreted from the body.

Less Storage of Fat Following Unhealthy Meals

Cinnamon has been linked to reduced storage of excess fats and sugars following unhealthy meals. This is partially due to its significant link to diabetes. However, the exact compound responsible for this result remains unknown. Furthermore, cinnamon has been used to calm nausea, reduce vomiting, and lessen abdominal discomfort and gas by promoting healthy bowel habits.  

Decreased Progression of Multiple Sclerosis

Since cinnamon improves the communication of neurons, or brain cells, it acts as a natural way to treat Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis occurs as neurons lose their protective myelin sheaths, which enable rapid, continuous communication. Furthermore, cinnamon’s anti-brain lesion properties help to prevent progression of MS.

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