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The Surprising Health Benefits of Cinnamon

You use it in all sorts of drinks and foods, but is there more to cinnamon than just a delicious spice?

Cinnamon is a commonly used spice that is from the inner bark a tree called the Cinnamomum. It is removed from the inner bark of the tree, all the woody pieces removed and dried. As it dries, it curls and forms cinnamon sticks. These sticks can be ground up into powder to be used, or the sticks can be used to infuse liquids. However, it is the oil found in cinnamon — which is responsible for its smell and flavor — that has powerful effects on health and metabolism.

Antioxidant

Cinnamon is a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. In fact, cinnamon is so powerful, that it out-performs garlic and oregano.

Fights Inflammation

Most people think of inflammation as swelling or even infection. But, you can have inflammation occurring in your body without always knowing it. Cinnamon can help fight inflammation by helping fight infection and repair tissues. Chronic inflammation can be a serious problem when your body is attacking its own tissues. Cinnamon may help as it has very potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Heart Health

Heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. So, anything that may help fight this disease naturally is something to consider. Cinnamon in adequate amounts has been shown to have a positive impact on blood markers. It can help lower your total cholesterol, LDLs, and triglycerides. Lowering these numbers can lower your risk of disease.

Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate metabolism and energy use in your body. Some people become less sensitive to insulin for a variety of reasons, and that can have adverse effects on their health, such as type 2 diabetes. Using cinnamon can increase insulin sensitivity so that it can do its job — and you have a lower risk of disease.

Cancer

There is still more to be studied here. Studies that investigate the use of cinnamon in the battle against cancer have not been conducted on humans, but the preliminary findings are positive. In animal studies and test tube experiments, cinnamon has been found to reduce the growth of cancer cells and formation of blood vessels in tumors. It also appears to be toxic to cancer cells. If this is true in humans as well, no one knows. But, with all of the other positive effects on the body, it couldn't hurt to try cinnamon.

As time goes on, there will be more and more in-depth studies on various natural remedies. Do your research, and always speak with your doctor about any measures you take to improve your health. Sometimes natural remedies can interact with medications, and you want to avoid any complications. However, it appears that using cinnamon daily is something that most people may want to consider to improve their health.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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