The Little Known Health Benefits of a Common Spice

Every morning I have the same breakfast; plain Greek yogurt and kefir, mixed together with a heavy pinch of ground cinnamon, honey and a splash of vanilla. A sprinkle of ground chia and flax seeds, topped off with a boatload of seasonal fruit, and I’m in heaven.

While I knew that most of these things in my bowl are good for me, I was surprised to learn cinnamon is ripe with health benefits. Of course it makes smoothies, breakfast bowls, oatmeal, baked goods, and even savory dishes taste so nice, but check out all the ways it can do a body good!

A Pinch of Cinnamon May Help Keep You Healthy

  • Cinnamon contains powerful antioxidants and polyphenols which studies have shown can protect our bodies from free radicals and damage from oxidation.  
  • It has been shown to combat inflammation. 
  • Cinnamon could help lower cholesterol. Participants in one study had decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduced levels of triglycerides.
  • It can help protect your brain. A study done in 2015 on animals showed improved memory and cognition and has been linked with improved memory and attention in people. Cinnamon could also help protect your brain against the plaque buildup that has been linked to Alzheimer’s. 

Are There Potential Side Effects?

  • Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin, which in very high quantities can cause liver damage. Though it appears it might be difficult to reach toxic levels just by baking with it, your doctor might suggest to steer clear of concentrated cinnamon supplements, and simply add ground cinnamon to your food. According to Healthline, a 130 pound person should not consume more than 1 teaspoon of cinnamon per day, or else they could exceed the safe amount of coumarin one can have. * Ceylon cinnamon has lower levels of coumarin, but is more expensive and can be harder to find.
  • For people with already low blood sugar or for those taking diabetes medication, cinnamon intake can be problematic as it has been shown to lower blood sugar.

The Bottom Line

Be sure to talk with your doctor before adding any amount of cinnamon to your regular diet to see if it’s safe and right for you.

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