6 surprising health benefits of cinnamon

Learn how the everyday spice can nourish you in surprising ways

Umnia Shahid March 02, 2015
Import price of the spice rose 26% every year between 2009 and 2013.

Who doesn’t love a dash of cinnamon on a chai latte? Cinnamon or darchini is a Pakistani staple used as a condiment in our cuisine due to its delicate aroma. It’s one of those fragrant spices that taste fantastic but flavour isn’t the only reason to love cinnamon. As compiled by whfoods.com, Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest and Health magazine, learn how the everyday spice can nourish you in surprising ways.


1. Throat soother


Calm the irritating cough with warm darchini chai or a cinnamon-infused drink: Soak cinnamon sticks in cold water for several hours, then sip. This beverage contains mucilage, a water-soluble fibre that coats and soothes the throat, says Lillian M Beard, MD, author of Salt in Your Sock and Other Tried-and-True Home Remedies. The anti-bacterial and warming property of cinnamon and its tendency to increase blood flow improves blood oxygen levels that fight illness and infections. Chinese traditional medicine too, recommends the spice for phlegm coughs.


2. Aids in weight loss



Trying to lose some weight? Grab a pinch of darchini. The spice regulates swings in blood sugar, cutting hunger spikes. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, its fat-releasing power is promising. Nutritionist Tara Ostrowe, RD, MS, of Columbia University added, “Cinnamon really is the new skinny food. Scientists already credit cinnamon in helping lower blood sugar concentration and improve insulin sensitivity.  When less sugar is stored as fat, this translates to more help for your body when it comes to weight loss.”


3. Reduces inflammation



The Pakistani staple holds promise for eliminating inflammation that give rise to various neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumour, and meningitis, according to research at the Cytokine Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas. Their research suggests that cinnamon reduces the chronic inflammation linked with these neurological disorders and can delay the effects of aggressive strains of the genes that induce the diseases.


4. Boosts brain function

Not only does consuming the super spice improve the body's ability to utilise blood sugar but just smelling the sweet and serene odour boosts brain activity. Research led by Dr P Zoladz at the annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences, in Sarasota, FL, found that chewing cinnamon-infused gum or just smelling cinnamon enhanced the study participants' cognitive processing. Specifically, cinnamon improved participants' scores on tasks related to attention processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory and visual-motor speed while performing tasks.


5. Prevents cancer


Research at the University of Texas, published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, shows that cinnamon may reduce the fabrication of cancer cells, holding promise for cancer prevention and sufferers of the disease. Research suggests that cinnamon has two chemical constituents called cinnamaldehyde and eugenol that have proven effective in fighting human colon cancer cells and human hepatoma cells. Cinnamon starves the cancer cells and promotes re-generation of healthy tissue.


6. Treats ADHD



Parents are beginning to use cinnamon as a supplementary treatment option for their kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)or ADHD like symptoms. A Taiwanese study shows that darchini’s anti-oxidant properties helped relieve symptoms of children with the condition. Because ADHD affected kids experience increased oxidative stress, it’s been found that the absence of an antioxidant-rich diet may damage delicate brain cells - and consuming cinnamon helps to control that aspect of the disorder. Also, cinnamon being a blood sugar modulator benefits ADHD affected children since they tend to be particularly sensitive to sugar and don’t react well to high blood-sugar levels.


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