Valued in ancient times as currency and once considered more precious than gold, cinnamon is one of the world’s oldest known spices. Cinnamon is actually the brown bark of cinnamon trees. It is available in its dried tubular form known as a quill or as ground powder. The two varieties of cinnamon are Chinese and Ceylon. They have similar flavor but the cinnamon from Ceylon is sweeter, more refined, and more difficult to find in local markets. Cinnamon has a blood sugar control effect. If you season a high-carb food with cinnamon, it will help lower the impact of your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon also slows the rate at which the stomach empties meals. Cinnamon is proven to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon has unique healing abilities that come from oils found in its bark. If you have a physical injury, blood clumps together in blood platelets to stop your bleeding. When your blood does this, it makes it hard for your blood to flow. Cinnamon prevents unwanted clumping of blood platelets by releasing a fatty acid that reduces the formation of inflammatory molecules. This puts cinnamon in the “anti-inflammatory” category. Cinnamon is also considered “anti-microbial”. It can be used as a food preservative and can stop the growth of bacteria, yeast, and fungi. Cinnamon is such a powerful antioxidant that compared to many others, it prevents oxidation more than any other spice. Cinnamon is not only anti-microbial, but even just smelling cinnamon boosts brain activity! Scientists did an experiment where participants were exposed to four different conditions. The smells were no odors, peppermint odor, jasmine, and cinnamon. Cinnamon showed the most positive effect on brain function. Cinnamon is an excellent source of manganese, dietary fiber, iron, and calcium. This enables cinnamon to improve colon health and protect against heart disease.
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