Cinnamon powder comes from the bark of tropical, evergreen trees. In order to harvest cinnamon, it's peeled off of the inside of the bark of the tree.
There are two main types of cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia. The majority of the cinnamon you'll find at the grocery store is Cassia. Ceylon grows primarily in Sri Lanka and isn't as common.
Ceylon cinnamon may sometimes be referred to as "true" cinnamon. But there's some debate about whether or not that's the case. Ceylon and Cassia are both cinnamon, but from different parts of the world and from slightly different types of trees.
You've probably sprinkled cinnamon on foods like toast, rolls, and desserts. But cinnamon has uses other than for topping sweets, including improving your health.
This article looks at the health benefits and side effects of eating cinnamon powder.
Fast facts on cinnamon
Here are some key points about cinnamon. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
- Cinnamon has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is known for its health benefits.
- You would have to eat very high amounts of cinnamon powder to experience any dangerous side effects.
- Studies have shown that cinnamon does have an effect on blood glucose levels in those with type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon's medicinal purposes date back to ancient times. In the past, it was used to help treat a number of medical conditions, including:
- respiratory illness
- gynecological issues
- digestive problems
In more recent decades, it has shown promise as an anti-inflammatory and to help with improving cognitive function.
Still, there hasn't been enough scientific research done at this point to determine how much cinnamon is needed to help various conditions.
Cinnamon and diabetes
Some smaller studies have shown that cinnamon does have an effect on blood glucose levels in those with type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, there seems to be a different effect based on the type of cinnamon used.
Cassia cinnamon has shown the most promise in controlling blood glucose, while the Ceylon species of cinnamon is just beginning to be studied. This may be partially because Ceylon is harder to come by than Cassia.
A smaller Chinese study published in the journal Nutrition Research found evidence of cinnamon lowering blood glucose levels in patients that took cinnamon supplements, in contrast to those who were given a placebo.
Cinnamon and weight loss
Cinnamon has been shown to reduce some of the bad effects of eating high-fat foods. This can help in an overall weight loss plan. Its effect on blood glucose levels can also help your body ultimately lose weight.
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of cinnamon can provide additional help to those trying to lose weight by promoting an overall healthy body that'll process food better.
It's important to note that cinnamon alone will not lead to long-term weight loss. But it might be beneficial to add cinnamon to your healthy diet and exercise plan to help you reach your weight loss goal. One teaspoon of cinnamon does contain 1.6 grams of fiber, which can help you reach your daily fiber goal and increase a feeling of fullness at meals.
Other health benefits of cinnamon
Studies have shown that a variety of other medical conditions can be improved (or in some way positively affected) through the use of cinnamon.
Some of these include:
Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon both contain coumarin. When coumarin is consumed in extremely high doses, it may cause some dangerous side effects. Ceylon cinnamon contains far less coumarin than Cassia cinnamon.
However, as a spice, it would be unusual for someone to consume large enough amounts of either type of cinnamon to cause concern.
Always talk to your doctor before making significant changes your diet.
As mentioned previously, cinnamon powder is commonly added to toast and baked into pastries, but there are numerous other delicious ways to incorporate cinnamon into your diet. Many ethnic cuisines including Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and North African use cinnamon as a primary spice in savory dishes. Try the following recipes for ideas.
You can make a large batch of these and have them handy for healthy snacks. They are easy to take on the go and to satisfy your sweet tooth. Get the recipe.
These cinnamon twists make for a fun dessert or breakfast treat. They take very little time to prepare and they can cook while you eat your meal. Get the recipe.
Apple cinnamon streusel galette
Whether it's for Thanksgiving or just Monday night dinner, this streusel galette will make any meal feel special. Get the recipe.
You can't forget about the classic cinnamon roll! With just a few hours lead time, the result is sure to get everyone to the table quickly on a busy morning. Get the recipe.
Cinnamon raisin bread pudding
This delicious version of bread pudding is simple to make in your slow cooker! Get the recipe.
Pork loin chops with cinnamon apples
Pork loin is delicious already, but when you add this cinnamon apple mixture to it, you will take it to a whole new level. Get the recipe.
Pork noodle soup with cinnamon and anise
The next time you're fighting a cold, or just need something comforting to eat, try this unique spin on noodle soup. You can make a large batch and have it ready to heat up on days you don't feel like making dinner. Get the recipe.
Not only is cinnamon delicious, but adding it to your diet might be beneficial to your health. Cinnamon can help you feel better if you have digestive issues. It also has been a popular remedy for combating the common cold.
While you shouldn't consume it in very large quantities, try adding it to fruit, breads, desserts, and other foods for a healthy boost.