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Cinnamon Facts and Uses

By Amy Silva

Cinnamon is a popular spice because of its flavor but it may have health benefits as well. Whether ground into a powder to use on foods, made into oil, or used in its regular form of rolled bark to enjoy its aroma or stir tea, cinnamon has plenty of uses and is enjoyed in countries all over the world.

About Cinnamon

The use of cinnamon dates back to Ancient Egypt and comes from a type of tree called Cinnamomum. What we know as cinnamon is actually the bark from branches on these trees. There are two types of cinnamon with one being Cassia and the other being Ceylon. The cheaper version most are familiar with is cassia, and it comes from chin. This type should be consumed in moderation due to a specific compound that may not be healthy in large doses. The more expensive type, cassia, can often be found in health food stores and comes from Sri Lanka.

Possible Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Studies are mixed regarding health benefits, but cinnamon contains antioxidants and is an anti-inflammatory food. Also having antimicrobial effects, it could help bad breath and fight infections. It may aid in blocking the buildup of a specific protein that can cause Alzheimer's disease. One study shows cinnamon may be able to help motor function in those with Parkinson's disease. It's possible cinnamon can even lower the risk of certain cancers, such as colon cancer, and aid in lowering blood sugar. Another study shows it might lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising HDL (good) cholesterol, which could reduce the risk for heart disease.

How to Use Cinnamon

  • Sweet treats - Cookies, cakes and pastries taste great with cinnamon
  • Fruit - Adding cinnamon to fruit will add a slight sweetness and flavor, while lowering the calories if used in place of sugar
  • Drinks - Cinnamon sticks can be used to stir tea and add flavor at the same time, and adding cinnamon to smoothies is a good way to increase intake without having to add it to foods
  • Breakfast foods - Cinnamon goes great with breakfast foods such as muffins, oatmeal, pancakes and granola

Cinnamon is natural, may ward off diseases and adds a fun and tasty element to foods and drinks. Although studies on health benefits may vary, if nothing else, your taste buds can enjoy having cinnamon in your diet. Any potential health benefits would be a bonus.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Morrisville, N.C.

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