Harry G. Psaros is the publisher of HealthNutritionandWellness.com
zeylancium, Cinnamomum cassia) is a universally loved and vastly underappreciated spice. When you simply hear the word ‘cinnamon’, your mouth begins to salivate at the thought of cinnamon strudel, buns and hot apple cider. Millions of people on a daily basis march to their local coffee shop for their morning caffeine. Cinnamon is commonly added to enhance the taste. It’s exciting to know that something that tastes so good is amazingly healthy.
The two most common types are Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon. They are obtained from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. Cassia or Chinese cinnamon is less expensive and the kind most individuals use for baking and cooking. The Cassia tree is found in Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Burma, China and Vietnam. Ceylon or ‘true cinnamon’ is lighter, sweeter and a bit more expensive.
Cinnamon is an aromatic and warm spice that is available in two forms – the cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon powder.
Cinnamon can enhance brain function
Cinnamon can make you smarter. It’s true. According to research led by Dr. Phillip Zoladz (assistant professor of psychology at Ohio Northern University), simply smelling cinnamon or chewing cinnamon gum can enhance cognitive function, memory function, and increase visual-motor alertness and concentration (presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences). Are you feeling a bit foggy in the morning? Sniff some cinnamon. Looking for a brain boost prior to your next exam or major board meeting? Sniff some cinnamon.
Cinnamon can shrink your waist
Everyone is looking for a magic pill that will help them eliminate fat in their midsection. Most of the commercial options are loaded with artificial ingredients and extraordinarily taxing on your liver. Several of the stimulant-based diet pills can become habit forming. Prescription diet pills are significantly stronger and their side effects can be relatively dangerous. You can naturally shrink your waist by taking cinnamon capsules. A recent British study revealed that individuals given cinnamon pills lost 500% more weight and eliminated 300% more abdominal fat than individuals taking placebos.
The individuals in the study took four 500 mg cinnamon pills on a daily basis – one at breakfast, two at lunch and one at dinner (equivalent to four quarter-teaspoon doses of cinnamon). Although the individuals in the study were told to eat healthy and exercise, few adhered to the advice.
The study revealed that cinnamon triggered a significant reduction in blood sugar and acted as an effective appetite suppressant.
Cinnamon for diabetes
Diabetes affects 246 million people worldwide. That gruesome number is expected to rise to 380 million by the year 2025. There are a large number of oral anti-diabetics on the market. Many of them, in particular the Thiazolidinedione class (TZDs), have recently been vilified in the press due to their horrific side effects (weight gain, edema, bone fractures and cardiovascular issues). Cinnamon, along with diet and exercise, is proving to be a strong natural alternative to prescription medication.
In one study of 60 patients with Type 2 diabetes, patients were asked to consume between 1 to 6 grams of Cassia cinnamon on a daily basis for a 40 day period (roughly half a teaspoon). The results were impressive.lowered by 18 to 29 percent, triglycerides by 23 to 30 percent, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) by 7 to 27 percent and total cholesterol by 12 to 26 percent. The effects of the consumed cinnamon actually lasted for 20 days following the end of the study, indicating that the spice might have some sort of ‘depot effect’ in the body.
Pre-diabetes is the state that occurs when an individual’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. These individuals are on the edge of a very ‘slippery slope’. With a bit of effort and heightened focus on their health, they work their way out of the condition. If you have a loved one with pre-diabetics, I strongly suggest you recommend cinnamon therapy, exercise and a low fat/low sugar diet. A French study focused on 22 overweight and pre-diabetic individuals. They divided the group in half. One group was given a placebo while the other took a supplement containing 250 mg of a water extract of cinnamon twice a day. Blood was collected after an overnight fast at the beginning of the study, after 6 weeks and 12 weeks to measure the changes in blood glucose and antioxidants. The results for the ‘cinnamon group’ were impressive. Individuals taking the water extract of cinnamon improved a number of antioxidant variables by as much as 13 to 23 percent. The improvements in antioxidant status correlated to decreases in fasting glucose.
Cinnamon an antibacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic
The essential oils of cinnamon have strong antibacterial properties. They are capable prohibiting the growth of bacteria and fungi. Candida is the most common form of fungi. The overgrowth of Candida is called candidiasis. Candidiasis can lead to issues such as vaginal yeast infections, itching, abdominal bloating and thrush. Children on the autism spectrum often suffer from an overgrowth of yeast due to immune systemdysfunction. In one study, a few drops of cinnamon essential oil in 3 ounces of carrot broth inhibited the growth of bacteria for roughly 60 days. Yeast infections are primarily caused by Candida albicans. In various laboratory tests, cinnamon extract prohibited the growth ofC. albicans resistant to fluconazole (Diflucan).
Cinnamon has been shown to be effective in fighting the E. coli bacterium as well. Recent studies have shown that cinnamon oil was capable of eliminating pneumonia and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Cinnamon for arthritis pain
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, affecting nearly 27 million Americans and 151 million individuals worldwide. A power combination of honey and cinnamon can significantly reduce, if not eliminate, arthritis. It’s recommended that arthritis patients mix two teaspoons of honey and a single teaspoon of cinnamon powder in cup of hot water. This mixture taken regularly can eliminate the use of most prescription medication. The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for arthritis has started to dissipate due to the vast array of side effects. Merck & Co., Inc. was forced to remove their popular prescription pain drug Rofecoxib (brand names Vioxx, Ceoxx, and Ceeoxx) because of data showing an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. Over the counter NSAIDs have less side effects but their long term use significant long-term gastrointestinal issues. Those that suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are unable to take them. Cinnamon is a smart and natural alternative.
Research recently conducted at Copenhagen University further proves cinnamon’s efficacy. A group physicians mixed one teaspoon of honey and a half teaspoon of cinnamon powder. The mixture was fed to 200 arthritis patients prior to breakfast. Within a week, 73 of the patients were totally relieved of pain.
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