Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Health Benefits of Cinnamon | Dr. Ali Ghahary

Found from the branches of trees from the cinnamomum family, cinnamon is most commonly used in many different recipes and baked goods (of both the sweet and savoury kind), and is also found almost universally in coffee shops all over the world; used as an ingredient in chai lattes or as a topping for other beverages – but what you might not know about this popular aromatic spice, however, is that it is also packed with a wide range of health benefits, including having antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.

Digestive Issues

If you suffer from different digestive issues including GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Fisease – also commonly known as acid reflux), a study that was conducted by Australian researchers found that cinnamon can reduce the amount of stomach acid as well as a digestive enzyme known as pepsin, and essentially “cools” the stomach down.

GERD is a digestive order that occurs when acidic juices back up from the stomach and into the esophagus, resulting in uncomfortable symptoms such as pain or burning sensation in the chest (known as heartburn) after eating (and can also be worse at night), a sensation of a lump in the throat or trouble swallowing, and sometimes even regurgitation of food or a sour liquid. Along with changing your eating habits and maintaining a healthy diet, you can also reduce the symptoms of GERD by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking, and even avoiding clothing that is tight fitting. In some cases, patients may also require medication.

Diabetes

According to a 2015 study, individuals with type 2 diabetes who consumed anywhere from 1 gram (about half a teaspoon) to 6 grams of cassia cinnamon per day for just under 1.5 months had lower levels of serum glucose, triglycerides, and both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol as well as total cholesterol, as well as reduced the risk factors for developing diabetes. That being said, it’s important to note that if you are taking a medication for diabetes, cinnamon may interact with it, so you should always first check with your physician or pharmacies.

If you have diabetes, you should also ensure that your diet includes more fruits, vegetables and protein, and avoid any added sugar ot trans fats. Some examples of diabetic-safe foods include green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, whole grains, berries, citrus fruits, probiotic yogurt, nuts, and beans; while foods that you should steer clear from if you’re diabetic include ones that are carb-heavy and high in the GI-scale, such as white bread, rice and pasta, pineapple, melon, pumpkin, popcorn, as well as salty foods and sugary drinks.

For more diabetic-safe meal planning tips, visit diabetes.ca.

Inflammation

When you have inflammation, this means that your body is trying to fight off an infection. It also helps repair damage to tissues. When the inflammation is chronic or fights against your tissues, however, that is when it becomes a problem. In this regard, cinnamon can be beneficial due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

As for what causes chronic inflammation, there are many things that can play a role, such as an untreated infection or injury, untreated acute inflammation, or having an autoimmune disorder.

Note: If you are going to include more cinnamon in your diet, it’s also important to know that there are some potential risks – though these risks are dependent on the type or cinnamon you’re consuming. Ceylon cinnamon, for example, contains coumarin, which is a chemical compound that is found in many different types of plants (cinnamon included.) If consumed in large amounts, this could lead to liver damage. As mentioned, it may also interact with medications used to treat diabetes, in addition to medications that are known to impact the liver (such as acetaminophen.) 

Cinnamon also has a fine texture, which makes it easy to inhale accidentally, and can lead to to coughing and gagging. Cinnamon also contains cinnamaldehyde, which can be irritating to the throat and cause breathing problems. If you suffer from asthma or other respiratory issues, you are at greater risk of experiencing these breathing-related problems associated with cinnamon.