[Functional Food] Cinnamon I
Cinnamon has always been a winter top choice to warm us up and a precious and healthy spice documented in many countries (the Bible, ancient Chinese medicine, ancient Egyptian documents, etc.). In these few years, cinnamon has taken the world by storm in the form of “cinnamon rolls”. In addition to its presence in desserts (e.g. cinnamon rolls and apple pies), cinnamon is also used as medicine. Its versatility and health benefits makes it a worth mentioning “functional food”. We will look at the nutritional benefits of Cinnamon in today’s article.
Nutritional Benefits of Cinnamon
1. Promote blood circulation and warm the body
Research in India pointed out that cinnamon could relax blood vessels, help dilate blood vessels, and make more blood flow to improve blood circulation.
2. Lower blood sugar and blood lipid levels
A study of type 2 diabetes found that taking cinnamon powder helps reduce blood sugar and blood lipids. When compared to those who did not take cinnamon powder, those who took cinnamon powder (at doses 1 g, 3 g, and 6 g in three respective study groups) for consecutively 40 days, blood sugar levels were found to be reduced by 18-29%, blood lipids reduced by 23-30%, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) also reduced by 7-27%.
Another study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that a water-soluble polyphenol named MHCP (Methyl Hydroxy-Chalcone Polymer) derived from cinnamon could mimic insulin in our body, therefore increasing insulin sensitivity.
3. Help burn fat and fight obesity
From the study published in the journal “Metabolism-Clinical and Experimental”, it was found that the cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon (responsible for the source of cinnamon’s unique fragrance) could induce thermogenesis of fat cells and promote fat metabolism.
4. Improve digestive tract function and improve stomach discomfort
According to the gut health study by the Australian RMIT University in Melbourne, cinnamon could help maintain the integrity of the gastrointestinal lining and improve the health of the digestive tract.
Cinnamon could also be used to treat indigestion, abdominal cramps, intestinal spasms, nausea, flatulence and diarrhea with reference to the Manipal Journal of Medical Sciences”.
5. Alleviate women’s gynecological health problems
Study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), women who consumed cinnamon experienced less menstrual pain.
The American PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) Awareness Association pointed out that drinking cinnamon-soaked water can help improve the insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS.
Research conducted by the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal pointed out that taking cinnamon could improve menstrual cramps and menstrual-related discomforts, such as heavy menstrual bleeding, nausea and vomiting.
Cinnamon Fun Fact I
In the ancient Western countries, cinnamon was worth more than gold and silver.
Recorded in “Natural History” by Pliny the Elder, the value of cinnamon in the first century AD was 15 times more than silver. In the 11th century, after the Crusades introduced cinnamon and other spices to Europe, cinnamon became a favorite and a status symbol of society.
Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, Manipal Journal of Medical Sciences, RMIT University in Melbourne, National Centre for Biotechnology Information, PCOS Awareness Association, Metabolism – Clinical and Experimental, Journal of Comparative Chemistry, International Journal of Food Science Volume 2019, Food Control Volume 38, The Scientific World Journal Volume 2012, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Volume 61, Issue 18, PMID: 23627682, 24148965, 10725162, 16896937, 11506060, 26109781, 26023350