How Cinnamon Can Spice Up Your Health Routine

How Cinnamon Can Spice Up Your Health Routine

Nutritional Value of Cinnamon Supplements Infographic

Excerpts from “Cinnamon: Stimulate Health,” by Barbra Wexler, MPH

Beyond being a sweet scent that signifies something delicious is baking in the oven, cinnamon has numerous nutritional benefits that can help reinvigorate your health routine. After reading this article, you might feel a little bit better when you decide to nibble on that second Cinnamon Roll or indulge in a delicious piece of coffee cake. And with that we say— life is short and should always be sweet, get your nutrients in wherever you can!


The Nutritional Value of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a very good source of manganese, an important trace element that is essential for the utilization of vitamin B. It also provides dietary fiber, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. Two teaspoons of ground cinnamon have about 12 calories and contain vitamin A, the B vitamins thiamin, and riboflavin, as well as vitamins C, E , and K.


Cinnamon is Packed With Antioxidants

Cinnamon is a potent antioxidant. In terms of antioxidant concentration, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and oregano ranked at the top of the list of spices studied by the USDA. Research reported in 2008 confirmed that the essential oil from cinnamon twigs has excellent antioxidant activities.

Studies have shown that cinnamon is capable of inhibiting the processes that lead to the creation of certain by-products. These by-products, collectively referred to as free radicals, can injure our cell membranes, damage DNA, interfere with the proper division and replication of cells, and block the generation of energy the body needs to run.

Additionally, free radicals can be created by many other factors, including stress, illness, and poor nutrition. Free radicals are also produced in response to environmental agents, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, insecticides, some fried or burnt foods, alcohol, radiation, and environmental toxins.

Fortunately, the body is poised to effectively respond to the damage caused by free radicals and other oxidizing chemicals. Antioxidants are chemical scavengers that bind to harmful oxidants and neutralize them. Antioxidants help our bodies deal with free radical damage.


So Why Does This Matter?

Antioxidants play a key role in disease prevention, and studies reveal that even health-conscious Americans often fail to obtain the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables (which provide antioxidants) in their diets that can help in the prevention process. The addition of spices, such as ginger, could supplement Americans’ antioxidant intake, since in addition to imparting flavor, they possess potential health benefits by inhibiting lipid peroxidation.

Some researchers speculate that the medical profession’s inability to cure chronic diseases that beset us as we age, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, may be attributed to its lack of knowledge about the vital role of antioxidants in the human diet.

Ultimately, cinnamon may play an important role in helping to support the body during some of the changes observed in inflammation and aging.


Cinnamon Has Antimicrobial Action, Too

Cinnamon is known to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. Much research has confirmed its antibacterial activity; cinnamon has the potential to inhibit and help the body to kill bacteria associated with respiratory infections.

One study found that the essential oil of cinnamon was very effective at combating 21 food borne pathogens and bacteria responsible for food spoilage. Another study found that cinnamon was an excellent natural antimicrobial in milk. Other research has found that cinnamon is effective as antimicrobial agents and can help prolong the shelf life of fresh-cut fruits.

Cinnamon has also shown effectiveness against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a growing problem that continues to pose a threat to public health. Investigators at the University of Arizona found that cinnamaldehyde exhibited rapid antimicrobial activity against both antibiotic-resistant and non-resistant strains, which cause food poisoning, at concentrations of approximately 0.1 percent and higher.

Researchers found that cinnamon also helps fight fungi. Their findings suggest that cinnamon is effective at inhibiting fungi, yeast species, and the bacterial organisms responsible for food spoilage and disease.