Sunday Health Hack No. 15 – Cinnamon your health

Sunday Health Hack No. 15 – Just put some cinnamon on or in “everything” you eat (not only).

Cinnamon was already acquired by the ancient Greeks and Romans from Arabian traders, and at times the spice was more costly than gold. But not as a delicious food ingredient but for its strong healing powers, having been used as medicine long before the Romans by the Chinese or in India for thousands of years. And the ancient Egyptians used cinnamon even as part of their embalming rituals for their mummies due to its strong anti-fungal properties.

Cinnamon, native to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), is derived from the inner bark of a small evergreen tree. The bark is peeled and laid in the sun to dry, where it curls into rolls known as cinnamon sticks. Today Cinnamon is most commonly available in powdered form.
The distinct smell and flavour of cinnamon is due to the oily part, which is very high in the compound “cinnamaldehyde”. And cinnamaldehyde is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and metabolism.

Let’s go through some of the most important health benefits of cinnamon quickly.
Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols. Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. And these antioxidants have also anti-inflammatory effects, which help lower your risk of inflammatory disease like headaches, joint pains, cystitis (bladder infection) or even arthritis.
Cinnamon dramatically reduces insulin resistance, helping this important hormone do its job Insulin is one of the key hormones that regulate metabolism and energy use. It’s also essential for transporting blood sugar from your bloodstream to your cells. The problem is that today many people are “resistant” to the effects of insulin, a hallmark of serious conditions like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Apart from the beneficial effects on insulin resistance, cinnamon also lowers blood sugar by several other mechanisms. For example, cinnamon significantly decreases the “rush” of glucose that enters your bloodstream after a meal by levelling and protracting the “sugar spikes”.
Cinnamon is high in gut beneficial fibres and many other nutrients like magnesium, calcium, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. Potassium helps to counteract sodium’s effect on blood pressure and regulates the heart rate. And Potassium is also involved in nerve function.
So cinnamon is a great “brain-food” too. Neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Alzheimer or Parkinson are characterized by progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells. Cinnamon protects neurons, normalizes neurotransmitter levels and improves motor function.

Extra “weight-loss” tip: Cinnamon boosts your metabolism, it reduces some of the bad effects of eating high-fat foods, and its positive effect on blood glucose levels works as an appetite suppressant and prevents that “sugar” is stored as fat.
Quite the opposite, the improved body metabolism somehow specifically targets the fat deposited in the abdominal area as an energy source.

So, my Sunday Health Hack for today is – put some cinnamon in and on “everything” you see fit. That could be your smoothy, your muesli, your peanut butter jam sandwich, cookies and cakes, whatever especially “sweet” related, just give it a try.

Extra tip: Even dash some cinnamon in your coffee. It not only delicious but appetite suppressing abilities of both coffee and cinnamon combine to create a powerful recipe for weight loss.
And also sprinkle some cinnamon in your evening Rooibos tea, so your belly fat gets burned away while you sleep. 🙂

Fitness tip: Add some cinnamon to your post-workout-shake. Due to its strong antioxidant and inflammatory effects Cinnamon tremendously aids exercise recovery and eases muscle soreness.

Skin tip: Cinnamon also has been used in ancient medicine for thousands of years as a potent “wound healer”. If you do have any cuts, rashes, irritated or inflamed skin spots, eczemas, mix a DIY crème of some ghee, turmeric, honey and cinnamon, put it on the spot, let it dry, wash it off, and repeat as long as necessary.

But again, quality matters. Not all cinnamon is created equal. There are two main types of cinnamon – Ceylon cinnamon, also known as “true” cinnamon. And Cassia cinnamon, the more common variety and what people generally refer to as “cinnamon” today.
Unfortunately, the cheaper Cassia variety, which you find in the supermarket store or in your cinnamon roll (!!), contains significant amounts of a compound called coumarin, which can be harmful in large doses.
Thus, the Ceylon variety, the “true” cinnamon, is the much better choice as it contains almost none coumarin.
And generally, 2-5gr of cinnamon daily is regarded as safe, securing all the health benefits mentioned above.

Shopping tip – I buy cinnamon in a “bulk”. Most Indian shops do have (organic) cinnamon powder in 500gr or 1.000gr bags. Or I order it online directly from a trusted source like Azafran (in Germany).
Emphasizing once again, that I have no relation and no affiliation with this company. But people keep on asking for recommendations, and I don’t want to let them buy some (supermarket) junk either.

In Love & Cinnamon, Yours  Andreas

Sunday Quote
The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.

Sunday Music
Just fall in love with it … and savour!