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Do You Know Cinnamon Is A Powerful Spice That Offers Amazing Health Benefits?

Do You Know Cinnamon Is A Powerful Spice That Offers Amazing Health Benefits?

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) has been one of the most commonly used ingredient in fragrances, medicine and cooking for ages. It was even used as currency at one point in history. Its rich and warm smell lights up even the coldest of winters, and its slightly spicy taste enhances the flavor of any dish it is added to.

Being a great source of dietary fiber, iron and calcium, cinnamon is truly beneficial to human health, hence it has become extremely popular spice in the healthy dieting circles. Native to Shri Lanka, cinnamon comes from the bark of a tropical evergreen tree, and can be found in rolled sticks, or ground, in powdered form.

There are two types of cinnamon available. The most commonly found is the darker colored, and more bittersweet tasting, cassia type, whereas the Ceylon type is more lighter in color and has a sweeter taste. Some of the most commonly known health benefits of cinnamon include its antioxidant function and the potential to lower blood sugar in people suffering from diabetes.

Cinnamon nutrition profile

1 tbsp of ground cinnamon contains

  • 19 calories
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 68% manganese
  • 8% calcium
  • 4% iron

With 0 g of sugar or fat, and 3% of vitamin K per 1 tbsp, cinnamon is an excellent ingredient to add to your daily diet due to its positive effect on digestion, immunity, blood sugar levels and heart health. [1]

Cinnamon health benefits

1. Cinnamon works as a great antioxidant

Antioxidant ability of cinnamon was analyzed in a 1999 study [2] where the results showed increased antioxidant enzyme activities in rats that were fed a high fat diet along with cinnamon or cardamom. Cinnamon is rich in polyphenols, phenolic acid, and flavonoids antioxidants that help the body fight the free radicals and decrease the oxidative stress in the body that leads to aging and diseases. [3]

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2. Cinnamon produces anti-inflammatory effects

Active antioxidants in cinnamon produce great anti-inflammatory effects that protect the body from developing serious diseases due to inflammation. [4] [5]

3. Cinnamon may help preserve heart health

Cinnamon could potentially improve heart health since it proved to be effective in the improvement of important factors of good cardiovascular health – cholesterol levels and triglycerides. In a 2003 study [6], type 2 diabetes patients who consumed 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day showed reduced levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, with stable levels of HDL cholesterol. Additionally, a 2013 study [7] showed even better markers HDL-C (“the good” cholesterol).

4. Cinnamon protects against diabetes

Cinnamon has positive effect on blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients. As a 2009 study [8] shows, significant reductions in blood glucose levels were related to cinnamon intake. Moreover, a number of studies have shown positive impact of cinnamon on blood sugar levels. [9]

5. Cinnamon can prevent neurodegenerative diseases

As a research shows, antioxidant effect of cinnamon can be one of the factors of decreasing the risk of oxidative stress and the aging of brain cells that causes neurological conditions known as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. [10]

6. Cinnamon fights bacteria

Cinnamon is a powerful agent against infections and viruses caused by different bacteria, and it has been traditionally used for these purposes. A 2012 study [11] shows the strong anti-fungus effect of cinnamon’s essential oils against Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, and Candida krusei.

7. Cinnamon improves oral health

Cinnamon anti-microbial effects were tested for effectiveness against causes of dental caries and were shown even more effective than clove oil. [12] Additionally, cinnamon provides a powerful solution for protecting against bad breadth. [13]

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Does Cinnamon have any side effects?

Even though cinnamon is highly beneficial to the human health, some precautions must be taken, especially for high dosages. Higher amounts of cinnamon can cause sore and irritations of the mouth and the lips. Also, it can sometimes cause irritation and redness of the skin.

People with liver problems should be specifically cautious, as higher levels of cinnamon intake can cause toxicity.

As previously noted, cinnamon reduces the blood sugar levels, which asks for caution with diabetic patients who are undergoing treatment and take cinnamon supplements.

Cinnamon intake is not recommended for children as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women.

It is crucial that you consult your doctor for exact cinnamon supplements intake recommendations as they could react with antibiotics, heart medicines, blood thinners and diabetic drugs.

Recommended daily intake

As mentioned earlier, cinnamon has great potential to help fight diabetes and cardiovascular diseases as it tested positive for aiding insulin function, reducing blood glucose levels [14] [15] [16] and regulating lipid metabolism. [17]

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Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid cinnamon intake due to insufficient research regarding its potential toxicity.

The suggested dose of cinnamon for diabetic patients is 1-6 g per day, with Ceylon cinnamon being a better option due to lower levels of coumarin, a hepatotoxic and carcinogenic phytochemical. [18]

What to look for when buying cinnamon

As mentioned earlier, there are two types of cinnamon, the more easily found and less expensive Cassia cinnamon, and the Ceylon cinnamon that is supposed to have more health benefits, but is not so easily found. When purchasing cinnamon, pay attention to the type of it, and if it isn’t stated, it usually means that it is Cassia cinnamon.

While cinnamon sticks are the better choice, it is tricky to grate them yourself into a perfect powder most of the recipes require. When buying a powder, pay attention to the smell of it, since it is an indicator of its freshness.

Cinnamon recipes for you to try at home

Homemade Almond Butter with Honey & Cinnamon

    Super easy to make, sweet and healthy butter to spice up your breakfast toast.

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    Chicken Stewed with Tomatoes, Cinnamon & Preserved Lemon

      Amazingly rich and spicy twist to your regular dinner.

      Cinnamon-Hazelnut Pavlova with Coconut Cream

        Healthy, light and delightful cinnamon desert.

        Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

        Reference

        [1]SOURCE: Cinnamon and health.
        [2]SOURCE: Anti-oxidant effects of cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) bark and greater cardamom (Amomum subulatum) seeds in rats fed high fat diet.
        [3]SOURCE: Cinnamon: A Multifaceted Medicinal Plant
        [4]SOURCE:Influence of ginger and cinnamon intake on inflammation and muscle soreness endued by exercise in Iranian female athletes.
        [5]SOURCE: Anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon (C. zeylanicum and C. cassia) extracts – identification of E-cinnamaldehyde and o-methoxy cinnamaldehyde as the most potent bioactive compounds.
        [6]SOURCE: Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes.
        [7]SOURCE: Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis.
        [8]SOURCE: The potential of cinnamon to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
        [9]SOURCE: Cinnamon: A Multifaceted Medicinal Plant
        [10]SOURCE: Cinnamon: A Multifaceted Medicinal Plant
        [11]SOURCE: Mechanisms, clinically curative effects, and antifungal activities of cinnamon oil and pogostemon oil complex against three species of Candida.
        [12]SOURCE: Comparative study of cinnamon oil and clove oil on some oral microbiota.
        [13]SOURCE: Short-term germ-killing effect of sugar-sweetened cinnamon chewing gum on salivary anaerobes associated with halitosis.
        [14]SOURCE: The potential of cinnamon to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
        [15]SOURCE: Cinnamon supplementation in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
        [16]SOURCE: Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2.
        [17]SOURCE: Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes.
        [18]SOURCE: Solvent-assisted supercritical fluid extraction for the isolation of semivolatile flavor compounds from the cinnamons of commerce and their separation by series-coupled column gas chromatography

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        Last Updated on October 16, 2018

        The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

        The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

        It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

        If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

        One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

        Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

        In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

        Why you can’t sleep through the night

        The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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        Stress

        If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

        Exposure to blue light before sleep time

        We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

        While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

        Eating close to bedtime

        Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

        Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

        Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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        Medical conditions

        In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

        The vicious sleep cycle

        The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

        Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

        You get a bad night’s sleep
        –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
        –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
        –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

          You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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          How to sleep better (throughout the night)

          To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

          1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

          What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

          Here are a few suggestions:

          • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
          • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
          • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
          • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
          • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

          2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

          What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

          • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
          • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
          • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
          • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

          3. Adjust your sleep temperature

          Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

          Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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          Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

          Sleep better form now on

          Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

          I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

          As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

          Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

          Reference

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