Spice Up Your Life #2: The Benefits Of Cinnamon

December 8, 2011

Second episode of the “Spice Up Your Life” series: today we’re going to talk about cinnamon and all the health benefits that it brings along.
First of all: do you know what is cinnamon? I used to ignored it an just found out that it’s a small tree that grows in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Egypt and Vietnam.
I also discovered that cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known to humans. To prepare it, the bark of the tree is dried and then rolled into the very well-known cinnamon sticks (also called quills).
Cinnamon can also be dried and ground into powder which is the most common use in American households.
The flavor and aroma comes from a compound in the essential oil of the tree bark called cinnamonaldehyde.

Health benefits

Some recent studies have found that cinnamon has beneficial effect on blood sugar. Even if such studies have been small and the findings need to be confirmed with larger trials evidence was found that cinnamon helped reducing fasting blood glucose, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol .
But that’s not it. Some preliminary lab and animal studies have found that cinnamon may have antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Also, cinnamon has been praised for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Finally, doctors have performed studies that show that just smelling cinnamon improves our memory and performance of certain tasks (BUT don’t try this at home!).

Popular beliefs

In traditional Chinese medicine cinnamon is used for colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, and painful menstrual periods.
It's also believed to improve energy, vitality, and circulation and be particularly useful for people who tend to feel hot in their upper body but have cold feet.
Cinnamon is a common ingredient in chai tea, and it is believed to improve the digestion of fruit, milk and other dairy products.

Moderation is key

Provided that cinnamon is certainly a healthy spice what I really don’t want you to do is start taking large amounts of cinnamon every day in an attempt to extract these health benefits in increasing amounts. Cinnamon is known to be toxic in large doses.
Also, don’t get off your medications in favor of cinnamon: the rule of thumb is to never self-medicate.
Finally, the fact that cinnamon is a healthy spice doesn’t give you license to start eating hips of lot fatty foods just because they have cinnamon on them or in them.
Cinnamon rolls are delicious but let’s face they’re a carb-calorie bomb ready to explode in your hips or bellies: the fact that they contain some cinnamon doesn’t make them healthy.

My suggestion is to start using cinnamon in a smart way: sprinkle some on your oatmeal in the morning with some fresh apples (that’s my usual breakfast) or mix it with some apple sauce for a light and healthy dessert.

The Iron You


  1. I love cinnamon, good to know that it's so healthy!

  2. Those cinnamon rolls look so good!!!!!

  3. I use cinnamon every day- it helps to control my blood sugar (I have gestational diabetes).

  4. Try cinnamon with grapefruit. Score the grapefruit, put on a teaspoon of cinnamon and then bake it for 1/2 hour. Oh my ... this is good!