Known for enhancing flavor in many popular foods, cinnamon is a true powerhouse in the spice category. Derived from tree bark in parts of Asia, it has been used in China for centuries to help treat various illnesses. These illnesses include colds, headaches, diarrhea, and even loss of appetite.
Cinnamon’s amazing properties do not end there. One of its most sought after benefits is that cinnamon may help reduce inflammation, according to webmd. Some scientific evidence suggests the natural antioxidant compounds present in the spice can help combat inflammation in the body.
One such study examined cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties on obese individuals, who generally have higher levels of inflammation because of excess body fat. The study, according to Realage, looked at obese people who had prediabetes (higher than normal blood sugar levels). They were given a cinnamon extract called cinnulin two times a day for 12 weeks.
At the end of the 12 week study period, it was discovered that the study participants’ antioxidant defenses against inflammation were strengthened considerably. Additionally, the participants even lost some bodyfat and gained some lean muscle.
A great deal of research promotes eating a diet high in antioxidants when engaging in regular exercise to help cool inflammation associated with tissue damage. Natural foods that contain antioxidants include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and of course, spices such as cinnamon.
A recent trip to a local Food4Less grocery store found cinnamon in two forms in the spice aisle: ground and stick form. Stick cinnamon is slightly more expensive than its ground counterpart and can be used as a stirrer for drinks such as coffee, hot chocolate, and cider. Ground cinnamon is relatively inexpensive, and used more often than the stick form. A four ounce container costs under $3.
Cinnamon enhances flavor in many foods. It can be used as an ingredient when cooking or baking. It goes well with cereals, oatmeal, pancakes, desserts, meats, and soups. Add a little cinnamon when making a homemade protein shake to consume following a workout. Not much is needed, roughly 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, according to webmd.
While some of the research behind cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory powers is mixed and inconsistent, it does suggest that adding it to a healthy diet can be beneficial. Invest in your health, try a little cinnamon in some of your favorite foods.