Cinnamon: The Protective Bark
Ayurveda is the art and science of holistic healing which traces its roots back to thousands of years. It recognizes nature as true healer and treats diseases and conditions using the medicinal powers of natural herbs and spices. Cinnamon is one such natural ingredient which is known to have miraculous healing abilities. Not only is it prized for its culinary value but the spice has countless health benefits, all of which have been backed by research and scientific evidence. Let us know more about this potent kitchen spice, which has earned a well-deserved reputation of the “bark of life”.
Cinnamon: The Nutritional Profile
When it comes to using cinnamon for taste or heath, a little goes a long way because the spice is loaded with disease-curbing antioxidants. It has immense nutritional benefits, in addition to its miraculous healing abilities. Including as little as half a teaspoon in daily diet can make a huge difference and help you counter a number of conditions in an effective manner.
A tablespoon of cinnamon (ground) contains:
- 19 calories
- 4 g fiber
- 0 g fat
- 0 g sugar
- 68% manganese
- 4% iron
- 8% calcium
- 3% Vitamin K
It is easy to see how this amazing spice can pep you up and renew your health with its nutritional value and medicinal powers. Besides being high in nutrients, cinnamon is loaded with anti-oxidants which protect the body from the damage caused by free radicals and gives it an anti-inflammatory action. A compound called cinnamaldehyde gives it the ability to improve metabolism and health.
Miraculous Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon works like magic and has unexpected health benefits, some of which are listed as follows:
Lowers the risk of heart disease
Cinnamon has been scientifically proved to be effective for lowering the risk of heart disease, as it reduces the levels of total cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). Additionally, it brings down the triglyceride level and keeps HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) stable. Recent animal studies have shown that the spice also works to control blood pressure levels. Together, these parameters make it heart friendly all the way.
Improves Insulin sensitivity and acts as anti-diabetic
Cinnamon is helpful in improving the sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is responsible for regulating the blood sugar levels and regulating metabolism. As a result, the potent spice acts as a powerful anti-diabetic, with the natural ability to lower the levels of glucose in the bloodstream. In fact, several trials conducted on humans have confirmed the anti-diabetic ability of cinnamon, proving its ability to lower the blood sugar levels (fasting) by as much as 10-29%.
Beneficial for cognitive function
The amazing spice has a positive effect on brain function too, as its potent anti-oxidants provide protection against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Cinnamon curbs oxidative damage to the brain cells by activating the neuro-protective proteins, and at the same time, the anti-inflammatory action of the spice prevents the ageing of body and brain.
Several scientific studies have been made to learn about the potential benefits of the spice to prevent cancer and it has been actually found helpful in curbing the unprecedented growth of cancer cells, particularly those of colon cancer. The potent compound cinnamaldehyde is known to protect DNA from damage as well as inhibit the growth of cancer tumors.
Another one of the magical healing properties of cinnamon is that it boosts immunity by preventing infections because of its natural antibiotic, anti-microbial and anti-viral action. The essential oils found in cinnamon have the ability to fight harmful bacteria which are likely to cause problems related to the digestive tract, respiratory tract and skin. The anti-microbial property of the spice also makes it useful for preventing tooth decay and bad breath. Scientific evidence is being collated to prove the effectiveness of the spice to counter the deadly virus HIV, though human trials are to be done to reiterate the same. Additionally, infections and allergies of skin can be prevented with the essential oils of cinnamon.
The benefits of cinnamon do not end here, as it acts as a natural sweetener and adds a sweet taste to food without actually adding to the empty calories, like sugar. This means that the spice actually supports weight gain, in addition to providing diabetic support, as discussed before.
So the next time you sprinkle cinnamon in your recipe, think about the favor you are doing to your health!