Who knew that a spice derived from tree bark would be one of the most lasting, widespread culinary contributions? Cinnamon was once a mysterious luxury good brought to the west via the Silk Road, but now cinnamon is a mainstay in modern cuisine. It is one of the spices that we always have in our spice drawer. And for a good reason too - whether it is the anti-inflammatory properties or new research about how it impacts blood sugar levels, we were so intrigued that we wanted to dedicate a whole article to it.
So, how does cinnamon fit into an active and healthy lifestyle? More importantly, what can cinnamon do for you?
The first benefit most people think about is cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is an immune response marked by increased blood flow, and over time can lead to other symptoms. While swelling is an important function of the immune system, chronic inflammation causes other problems. Think chronic allergies, stomach ulcers, digestive issues, joint issues, and even forms of cancer. Many people who suffer from these issues To that end, pursuing an anti-inflammatory diet can be an excellent way to manage and reduce inflammation in the body and reduce your risks of chronic disease; and cinnamon can be an excellent addition to an anti-inflammatory diet.
It’s worth mentioning that there are several varieties of cinnamon on the market. This may come as a surprise to some, considering that cinnamon is typically not distinguished. The two most prominent types of cinnamon are cassia, which is more common in food and supplements, and Ceylon, which is less common but known as “true” cinnamon. While the two varieties are different in their nutritional profiles, the key similarity they share is an abundance of a compound called cinnamaldehyde. This compound, which is found in the oily part of the cinnamon bark, is what gives cinnamon it’s distinct smell and taste - and is believed to be the source of it’s myriad of health benefits.
As mentioned previously, cinnamon can help reduce inflammation in your body. This is because cinnamon has a high level of antioxidants, which can be helpful for improving or treating weight loss or management issues, digestive issues, and even heart issues. Antioxidants can also reduce levels of “free radicals” in the body, which are molecules that are created in the body as byproducts of chemical reactions. In other words, free radicals are like industrial waste, and antioxidants are a trash disposal unit that get rid of the waste in your body. This is incredibly important in managing and eliminating inflammation, as free radicals can be both a cause for and a byproduct of inflammation - so ridding yourself of free radicals allows you to kill two birds with one stone and stop the inflammation at it’s source!
What's more, cinnamon may have potential as a way to stabilize blood sugar levels. In fact, it has shown promise as an effective supplement for individuals with pre, or type 2 diabetes looking to reduce their overall blood sugar; as several studies determined that those with pre-diabetes who consumed a moderate amount of cinnamon had lower blood glucose levels overall (throughout the day and right after meals) than individuals who did not. So if you're concerned about diabetes or insulin sensitivity, consider adding cinnamon to your supplements!
Cinnamon has plenty of other health benefits aside from inflammation reduction. Among other things, cinnamon can promote weight loss and fat burning efforts, reduce insulin resistance, increase cardiovascular function and prevent cardiovascular disease, and can even lower risks of Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis. In short, the benefits of cinnamon are palpable. That’s why here at Caveman Foods, we use cinnamon in a variety of our products; not just for the taste, but for the wonderful, holistic health benefits including cinnamon in a balanced diet can provide - like our Cinnamon Crunch Grain-Free Granola or our Cinnamon Raisin Grain-Free Granola Bars for something on the go.