Advertising
Advertising

Amazing Benefits Of Cinnamon (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits Of Cinnamon (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

We are very familiar with cinnamon as a spice used all around the world, but did you know that cinnamon actually has a lot of proven health benefits? This fine spice has been used for millennia—there are records of cinnamon in the diets of people who lived in ancient Egypt and India. Furthermore, old Chinese recipes include cinnamon, underlining its undisputable benefits for a healthy life.

A German study has shown that cinnamon indeed has many properties that have a relieving effect on an array of health issues. Cinnamon acts as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial medicine, as well as having a mild effect on the cardiovascular system, among other uses.

Although originally from Southeast Asia, cinnamon has conquered the whole world. If you’re interested in understanding why this is, check out our list of 10 amazing benefits of cinnamon.

Disputed benefits of cinnamon

Before we start our list, we would like to point out that cinnamon has made its way into the lore of many cultures. This spice has achieved great fame throughout the centuries, and there are naturally many myths and legends surrounding the capabilities of cinnamon.

One of the biggest debates has risen from the belief that cinnamon can induce the creation of insulin and in other ways help those suffering from diabetes. Probably the most significant problem is the lack of serious medical research on humans. There was a review done in Sri Lanka (the most famous producer of cinnamon) about various studies done on animals, and the results, although encouraging, were inconclusive because of the lack of clinical trials.

The U.S. Department of Health has noted a lack of studies in people that can support the use of cinnamon in treating any medical condition. Nevertheless, there are still many health benefits that cinnamon has to offer that have stood the test of time—the most important test of all.

1. Anti-inflammation

One of the most prominent assets of cinnamon is that it is an anti-inflammatory partly thanks to cinnamaldehyde (a substance that can be found in cinnamon). An Iranian study has proven that cinnamon can reduce inflammation and muscle soreness.

Because of its ability to lower swelling and inflammation, cinnamon can be very beneficial in managing various kinds of pain, such as PMS pain, allergy-related pain, and many types of pain related to aging.

Advertising

Chronic inflammation can be a cause for the development of acute neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, meningitis, etc.). This may be why in Asia, where spices are regularly consumed, certain neurodegenerative diseases aren’t as common as in the US.

2. Boosting brain power

As recent researchers imply, there seems to be a direct link between the scent of cinnamon and brain functionality. More accurately, cinnamon scent improves attention span, recognition memory, visual-motoric capabilities (response speed), and working memory.

The scent of cinnamon has even surpassed the famed peppermint and jasmine when it comes to boosting cognitive function.

An interesting fact about cinnamon is that cinnamon-flavored gum delivers the same benefits when chewed. It may seem a bit unrealistic, but chewing cinnamon can really make you smarter.

3. Soothing for sore throats

Soothing a sore throat or “coating” is a wish made by anyone who has ever come down with a cold. Did you know that cinnamon can be a real help in these situations?

The method is quite simple. Take a few cinnamon sticks and soak them in water for a short period of time. If you do it right, you will create a cinnamon water filled with a type of fiber called mucilage. The mucilage is what coats your throat as it dissolves in the water to relieve your throat pain.

Cinnamon can also help people suffering from bacterial infections that are commonly found in the throat due to its antibacterial capabilities. Centuries-old traditional Chinese medicine has long been using cinnamon as a cure for phlegmy coughs.

4. Antibacterial properties

Cinnamon is an impressive and potent antibacterial agent. According to a recent study conducted in Hong Kong, cinnamon sticks have strong antibacterial properties that are effective against foodborne bacteria. It has been proven that cinnamon can be used to preserve food even when it comes to dangerous bacteria like Salmonella and Escherichia coli.

Advertising

The same properties are possible to exploit to defend the human body from illnesses. The secret lies within cinnamon oils that are used in many cultures to boost the immune system with a natural way to fight harmful infections.

Cinnamon oils are so powerful in boosting immunity that scientists are conducting studies surrounding the possibility of it reducing the risk of contracting HIV.

5. Steady supply of antioxidants

Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation process within other molecules. In layman’s terms, antioxidants act as a safety against cellular damage, thus slowing down the aging process. There are 41 different types of antioxidants that scientists have found in cinnamon.

On the scale used to measure the amounts of antioxidants in various foods (the OTAC scale), cinnamon ranks number 7 of all types of food, spice, and herbs anywhere on the planet. When compared to other spices, cinnamon has more antioxidants than garlic, rosemary, and oregano, which are all famous for being very healthy.

When it comes to cinnamon, most of the health benefits come from polyphenols, phenolic acid, and flavonoids.

6. Breath freshener

It is proven that the extracts from cinnamon can protect your mouth against bacteria that are the main cause of tooth decay, cavities, mouth infections, and bad breath. Essential oils made from cinnamon act as a natural mouthwash with antibacterial properties.

Cinnamon, much like peppermint, is used as a natural flavor that is added to chewing gums because of its mouth refreshing capabilities. By fighting oral bacteria, cinnamon removes bad breath naturally without the need to use any unhealthy chemicals. This is the reason why traditional medicine uses cinnamon to cure toothaches and mouth sores.

Beauty products, shampoos, and perfumes also have portions of cinnamon because of its health benefits and pleasant smell.

Advertising

7. Treatment or prevention of candida

Long it was suspected that because of its anti-fungal properties, cinnamon could be very effective in battling with candida growth in the digestive tract. Scientists have confirmed that cinnamon lowers the amounts of Candida Albicans (yeast responsible for candida overgrowth) that can cause damage to the digestive and autoimmune symptoms.

Also, by reducing the levels of blood sugar, cinnamon indirectly lessens the risk of candida.

Researchers have confirmed that patients who were given cinnamon extracts and essential oils showed reduced levels of candida and an improvement in symptoms. By improving the immune system and fighting inflammation in the body, cinnamon reduces the risk of candida-related illnesses.

8. Cinnamon improves skin health

Daily application of oil that contains cinnamon essence can provide a mild solution to irritation, skin allergies, and all kinds of inflammation. When combined with honey, cinnamon makes a very popular and efficient mixture (which can be used as food as well), which will help you feel much better regardless of the skin problem that you might be having. When brought down to a molecular level, cinnamon’s essence bonds with the skin molecules efficiently, thus providing a sensation of relaxation in the tissue. Many cosmetic issues can be solved with cinnamon—rosacea, pimples, and marks from scars.

9. Cinnamon keeps allergies at bay

Thanks to the advantages of the cinnamon’s compounds, studies have concluded that those with allergies can finally find relief. It’s been confirmed that cinnamon is effective in fighting against common allergy symptoms since it reduces infection and fights against histamine effects in the body. Also, for the same reason, it prevents symptoms of asthma attacks. Cinnamon is also beneficial for digestive health, and it has immune-boosting abilities, which assist in cutting down on autoimmune reactions that can affect the body after consuming common allergens.

10. Cinnamon lowers your LDL (bad cholesterol)

Cinnamon reduces the effects of fat-saturated meals in junk food, which makes those occasional binges not so dangerous. With just one small spoon of cinnamon before your junk meal, you’ll have a lessened reaction and reduced cholesterol. Cinnamon does this by growing the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood and reducing the presence of bad cholesterol, LDL. This is achieved by affecting the blood glucose and the way your body processes it. Both diabetes patients and people with higher cholesterol can experience a multitude of benefits from adding cinnamon to their diets.

Bonus: 5 Refreshing Recipes

Cinnamon Dolce Iced Coffee

Benefits of Cinnamon - Bonus recipe - Dolce Iced Coffee

    via Kitchentreaty.com

    Advertising

    Cinnamon Ice Cream

    Cinnamon-Ice-Cream

      via Shariblogs.com

      Chocolate-Cinnamon Pudding with Raspberries

      shutterstock_170382518

        Cinnamon Rice Milk

        shutterstock_70402096

          Freezer Cinnamon Rolls

          Bonus Recipe - Cinnamon rolls

            via Myrecipes.com

            Featured photo credit: Chamille White via shutterstock.com

            More by this author

            Dejan Kvrgic

            Blogger, Writer

            30 Excellent Slow Cooker Recipes For Lazy People 5 Things You Must Know to Find the Best Headphones Bedroom Makeover 101: Enhancing The Most Important Place In Your Home 8 Fun Ways to Make Your Wedding Truly Memorable How to Survive Valentine’s Day – A Practical Guide

            Trending in Food and Drink

            1 15 Flavorful and Healthy Family Meals That are Perfect for Picky Eaters 2 15 Most Effective and Nutritious Healthy Foods to Lose Weight 3 Stock up on These 9 Healthy Snack Foods to Boost Your Brainpower 4 15 Brain Foods You Should Be Eating Regularly to Keep Your Mind Sharp 5 25 Ideas for Delicious and Healthy Lunches You Can Take to Work

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising

            Published on November 14, 2018

            Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

            Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

            With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

            For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

            In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

            Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

            Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

            It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

            For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

            Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

            Symptoms of Fatigue

            Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

            • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
            • mental blocks
            • lack of motivation
            • headache
            • dizziness
            • muscle weakness
            • slowed reflexes and responses
            • impaired decision-making and judgement
            • moodiness, such as irritability
            • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
            • reduced immune system function
            • blurry vision
            • short-term memory problems
            • poor concentration
            • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

            Causes of Fatigue

            The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

            • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
            • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
            • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
            • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

            Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

            Medical Causes of Fatigue

            If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

            Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

            Anemia

            Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

            Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

            There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

            Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

            Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

            Advertising

            This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

            Diabetes

            Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

            Sleep Apnea

            Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

            Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

            Thyroid disease

            An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

            Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

            • Lack of sleep
            • Too much sleep 
            • Alcohol and drugs 
            • Sleep disturbances 
            • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
            • Poor diet 

            Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

            • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
            • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
            • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
            • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

            Psychological Causes of Fatigue

            Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

            • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
            • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
            • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

            How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

            Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

            1. Tell The Truth

            Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

            To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

            Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

            The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

            One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

            • How you feel
            • What time of day it is
            • What may have contributed to your fatigue
            • How your mind and body reacts

            This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

            2. Reduce Your Commitments

            When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

            Advertising

            If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

            When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

            Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

            3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

            If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

            Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

            If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

            Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

            Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

            4. Express More Gratitude

            Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

            It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

            Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

            5. Focus On Yourself

            Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

            There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

            But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

            We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

            6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

            Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

            Advertising

            Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

            The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

            Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

            7. Take a Power Nap

            When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

            Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

            This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

            8. Take More Exercise

            The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

            Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

            The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

            You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

            9. Get More Quality Sleep

            To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

            Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

            My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

            10. Improve Your Diet

            Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

            Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

            On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

            Advertising

            To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

            Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

            Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

            11. Manage Your Stress Levels

            Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

            When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

            Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

            My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

            12. Get Hydrated

            Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

            Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

            If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

            The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

            The Bottom Line

            These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

            If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

            Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
            [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
            [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
            [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
            [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
            [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

            Read Next