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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 September 28, 2020

        The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

        The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

        At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

        Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

        One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

        When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

        So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

        Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

        This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

        Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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        When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

        Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

        One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

        Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

        An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

        When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

        Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

        Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

        We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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        By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

        Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

        While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

        I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

        You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

        Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

        When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

        Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

        Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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        Con #2: Less Human Interaction

        One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

        Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

        Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

        This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

        While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

        Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

        Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

        This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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        For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

        Con #4: Unique Distractions

        Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

        For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

        To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

        Final Thoughts

        Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

        We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

        More About Working From Home

        Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

        Reference

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