Are you looking for the most powerful herb on planet Earth? Cinnamon.
According to researchers, out of twenty-six of the most popular herbs and medicinal spices in the world, cinnamon actually ranks #1 in terms of its protective antioxidant levels!
What is anti-oxidant?
When certain types of oxygen molecules are allowed to travel freely in the body, they cause what’s known as oxidative damage, which is the formation of free radicals. When antioxidant levels in the body are lower than that of free radicals — due to poor nutrition, toxin exposure or other factors — oxidation wreaks havoc in the body. The effect? Accelerated aging, damaged or mutated cells, broken-down tissue, the activation of harmful genes within DNA, and an overloaded immune system.
Every single one of us has both antioxidants and free radicals present inside of our bodies at all times. Some antioxidants are made from the body itself, while we must get others from our diets by eating high antioxidant foods that double as anti-inflammatory foods. Our bodies also produce free radicals as byproducts of cellular reactions. For example, the liver produces and uses free radicals to detoxify the body, while white blood cells send free radicals to destroy bacteria, viruses and damaged cells.
OK back to cinnamon and this #1 super herb.
HOW TO GET THE RIGHT CINNAMON
All cinnamon is not the same. To date, approximately 250 species of cinnamon have been identified because the cinnamon tree is grown all over the world, with different species being found on different continents.
There is actually a plant that looks, tastes and smells like cinnamon but is not really cinnamon – known as cassia or saigon or chinese cinnamon.
There are two main types of cinnamon spice used today: Ceylon cinnamon (which is sometimes labeled as true cinnamon) and Cassia cinnamon which is more widely available and used. Both kinds of cinnamon have a notable spicy taste and fragrance which is due to the presence of cinnamaldehyde and occurs when cinnamon absorbs oxygen. Both types contain the mentioned health benefits, but one kind (ceylon) is actually considered to have more health benefits than the other.
What’s the difference between ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon?
Ceylon and cassia cinnamons actually come from two different, but related, trees. Ceylon cinnamon (called true cinnamon) comes from trees grown in areas like Sri Lanka and Thailand that are rarer, therefore ceylon cinnamon is more expensive and hard to find in stores. Cassia cinnamon (also called Saigon or Chinese cinnamon) comes from trees grown in China normally, is less expensive, and is more widely available. (27)
Ceylon cinnamon actually has potential for having more health benefits than cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon also contains less of a compound called coumarins than the cassia variety of cinnamon does. Coumarins are believed to be potentially damaging to the liver when you consume a lot of them. This is why researchers believe that ceylon cinnamon is the better option for producing cinnamon extracts that feature high doses of cinnamon.
If you cannot find ceylon cinnamon, cassia cinnamon is still beneficial, and as long as you don’t consume large amounts of cinnamon – more than 1-2 teaspoons a day for example.
As far as taste goes, ceylon cinnamon is said to have a lighter and more citrusy taste than cassia, which has a deeper and spicer taste.
Look for organic ceylon cinnamon powder and cinnamon essential oil in health food stores or ethnic markets to get the most benefits from cinnamon. You can check the label to determine which type for cinnamon you’re buying, and if the label doesn’t indicate which type it is, keep in mind it’s most likely the cassia variety of cinnamon, which is less expensive and more popular.
4 Amazing Benefits of Cinnamon
- Fights Diabetes
You are just going to love this for yourself and family members who suffer from diabetes. Cinnamon is super powerful at fighting diabetes.
Diabetes is formed when insulin resistance occurs and poor glycemic control takes places, or someone develops the inability to manage how much sugar (glucose) enters the blood stream. The same problem with insulin resistence is also associated with other conditions like metabolic syndrome and weight gain.
Cinnamon blocks certain enzymes called alanines, which allows for glucose (sugar) to be absorbed into the blood. Therefore, it has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a high-sugar meal, which is especially important for those with diabetes. For this reason, many studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes can experience significant positive effects on blood sugar markers by supplementing with cinnamon extract.
2. High in Antioxidants
Cinnamon is packed with a variety of protective antioxidants that reduce free radical damage and slow the ageing process; in fact, researchers have identified 41 different protective compounds of cinnamon to date.
According to the ORAC scale, which is used to measure the concentration of antioxidants in different foods, cinnamon ranks #7 of all foods, spices and herbs across the world. And in a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon was deemed the winner and proved to be higher in antioxidants than other powerful herbs and spices.
Cinnamon health benefits are attributed to the type of antioxidants called polyphenols, phenolic acid and flavonoids. These are similar antioxidants to those that can be found in other “superfoods,” including berries, red wine and dark chocolate. These compounds work to fight oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to disease formation when uncontrolled, especially as someone ages.
The different antioxidants present in cinnamon help to reduce a multitude of symptoms and diseases because they are free radical scavengers. The health benefits of cinnamon include its ability to reduce many forms of oxidative stress, including the ability to limit nitric oxide build up in the blood and lipid (fat) peroxidation, which can both add to instances of brain disorders, cancer, heart disease and other conditions.
3. Improves and Protects Heart Health
Studies have shown that cinnamon reduces several of the most common risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels and high blood pressure.
The special compounds in cinnamon are able to help reduce levels of total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, while HDL “good” cholesterol remains stable. Cinnamon has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure, which is another threat for causing heart disease or a stroke.
Cinnamon also increases blood circulation and advances bodily tissue’s ability to repair itself after it’s been damaged. This includes heart tissue, which is in need of regeneration in order to help fight heart attacks, heart disease and stroke.
4. Improves the Brain and Protects from Cognitive Decline
Cinnamon’s protective antioxidant properties helps defend the brain against developing neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
One way cinnamon protects cognitive function and brain health is by activating neuro-protective proteins that protect brain cells from mutation and undergoing damage. This further reduces the negative effects of oxidative stress by stopping cells from morphing and self-destructing.
Because cinnamon contains so many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce the effects of aging on the body and brain, in the future, we may see it being used as a possible natural therapeutic treatment or prevention for age-related neuro-degenerative diseases.
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