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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 August 15, 2018

        7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

        7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

        Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

        Video Summary

        Why is it important to train up our core strength?

        There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

        This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

        Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

        In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

        One Exercise, multiple benefits

        There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

        By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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        When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

        Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

        In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

        What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

        What will happen when you start doing planks every day

          1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

          Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

          • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
          • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
          • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
          • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

          2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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            Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

            Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

            3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

              Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

              4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                5. You’ll improve overall balance

                  Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                  6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                    Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                    7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                      Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                      How to hold a plank position

                      1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                      2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                      3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                      4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                      5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                      6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                      7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                      Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                      Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                        How to improve your plank time gradually

                        1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                        2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                        3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                        Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                        Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                        You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                        • Prolapse
                        • After prolapse surgery
                        • Pelvic pain conditions
                        • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                        • Previous childbirth
                        • Overweight

                        Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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