There Are Two Main Types of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a common household spice that is used around the world in both cooking, and as a flavoring in drinks. It comes from a Greek word that means sweet wood. There are primarily two types of cinnamon. The first is the darker-colored ‘cassia’ which is grown in southeastern Asia. Then there is the more expensive (and more powerful) ‘Ceylon’ cinnamon, also known as ‘true cinnamon’. This type grows in Sri Lanka and is made from the bark of the Cinnamomum Zeylanicum plant.
The ancient Egyptians used cinnamon. It was so valued that it was once monetary currency. And also considered a suitable gift for kings.
Its most potent component is cinnamaldehyde. Foods like tomatoes, citrus, and chocolate contain large amounts of cinnamaldehyde. However, the amount found in cinnamon is far greater than that found in any of those other foods. Six (6) grams contains from 42 to 189 mg of cinnamaldehyde.
The Antioxidants Properties of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is full of antioxidants. These antioxidants are found in the form of polyphenols.
The Power of Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are micronutrients that we get through plants. They’re crammed with antioxidants and have potential health benefits, including:
- Fighting cancer.
- Promotes a healthy heart.
- Lowers blood sugar levels (type 2 diabetes).
- In Ayurvedic medicine cinnamon extracts are used for ailments such as arthritis, diarrhea, and menstrual irregularities.
- Metabolic syndrome.
- Insulin resistance.
- Prevents blood clots.
- Its prebiotic properties promote healthy gut bacteria, thereby aiding in the digestion process.
- It also promotes healthy brain activity, thereby aiding in concentration and memory.
- Prevents Alzheimer’s disease.
- Prevents multiple sclerosis.
- A 2000 study found that cinnamon protects against HIV. Scientists tested 69 extracts in a laboratory. The bark, and the shoot and fruit, are most effective in reducing HIV activity. A 2016 study further revealed that the extract has an anti-HIV effect.
Not only is cinnamon packed with large amounts of polyphenols, but these are also easily absorbed by the body. It also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties. Antioxidants help protect against harmful “free radicals” that damage cells.
Studies on The Effect of Cinnamon on Diabetes
The WHO has indicated that there are 347 million people with diabetes worldwide in 2015. Studies show that the compliance levels of diabetic patients, who use current conventional treatments, are poor (10). Diabetic patients are 1.6 times more likely than non-diabetics to use complementary and alternative medicines(CAM) for a number of reasons.
The increasing use of CAM is attributed to the complex treatment regimes, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, a fall in blood sugar to levels below normal. Resulting in a variety of symptoms, including clumsiness, trouble talking, confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures, or death), patient beliefs, and the side effects of medications have resulted in limited compliance with conventional treatments.
The Nutritional Value of Cinnamon
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon weighing 2.6 g contains:
- Energy: 6.42 calories.
- Carbohydrates: 2.1 g.
- Calcium: 26.1 milligrams (mg).
- Iron: 0.21 mg.
- Magnesium: 1.56 mg.
- Phosphorus: 1.66 mg.
- Potassium: 11.2 mg.
- Vitamin A: 0.39 micrograms.
It also contains traces of vitamins B and K and the antioxidants choline, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.