This medicinal herb not only grows on trees, it is a tree. Have you ever seen cinnamon sticks in the spice aisle? Those are actually the bark of a cinnamon tree; and the oils they contain have truly dazzling health benefits.
Whether you prefer it sweet or savory, cinnamon livens up the taste of food while warming our tastebuds — and giving our home that freshly-baked holiday sentiment. It’s comforting to know that while we’re enjoying our cinnamon spice, it’s as busy as a Christmas elf working to heal and protect us from harm.
Here are 5 health benefits of this seasonal super-spice:
1. A Sprinkle A Day Keeps Cell Damage Away
The antioxidant ingredients of cinnamon that make this spice so powerfully protective are called the polyphenols. They actually fend off the free radicals that are out to destroy our body’s system. Just a sprinkle a day can keep the doctor (and cell damage) away.
2. Happy Spice, Happy Life
Inflammation is the number one cause of pain and stress. Cinnamon contains anti-inflammatory properties which can help muscles recover after a workout by reducing swelling, soothe a bloated belly by aiding in our digestion, and ease the pain of arthritis.
3. Ain’t No Fungus Among Us
Nobody wants a holiday cold. Luckily, cinnamon has proven antibacterial and antiviral qualities. The extract can potentially kill E-coli. Since cinnamon helps to preserve the freshness of our foods, it makes sense that it also fights the little bugs that can sneak in and give us a winter sniffles.
4. The Nose Knows
Used to tantalize our nose buds, cinnamon oils in diffusers envelope our home with a warm spicy scent. Don’t be surprised if your memory and cognitive abilities spring into action — studies show the fragrance of cinnamon can actually improve your mood.
5. Hey Sugar, Cinnamon is Insulin Friendly
This seasonal super-spice lowers triglycerides, LDL (the bad cholesterol) and increases glucose metabolism. This is great news because once you lower your insulin resistance, you’re better armed to fight diabetes.
Now that you know the skinny on cinnamon, start blending it into your fall and winter seasonal foods, such as: baked veggies and fruit like yams, carrots, apples, squash; classic cinnamon roll, toast or coffee cake; yogurt and fresh fruit; smoothies; and warm drinks like coffee or, for a soul-warming treat this holiday, try this Cinnamon Pear Cider.