As autumn leaves speckle the ground soon to be replaced by snowmen and snow angels alike, this spice will bring to life many of our favorite holiday dishes and fill our homes with warm and cozy scents of the season. Sweet potato pie and candied yams would not be the delectable favorites we love without it. That’s right, cinnamon! Not only is cinnamon a great warming spice, it also has health benefits that cannot be ignored. From blood pressure to cholesterol, this spice will have your numbers going down, down, down!
A 2017 study published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal reports significant findings in the use of Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon) as a dietary supplement in healthy adults. The results were nothing less than impressive. This phase I clinical trial was conducted by the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Thirty healthy adults participated in the three month study, with the dose of CZ (water extract) increased at monthly intervals (85 mg, 250 mg and 500 mg).
The outcomes show systolic blood pressure readings went from a mean of 124.0 to 117.3 after three months of CZ supplementation. Just as significant, the diastolic BP mean went from 76.8 to 72.0. LDL or bad cholesterol levels dropped from a mean of 152.8 to 129.8, while HDL or good cholesterol levels went from a mean of 52.7 to 61.8. Total cholesterol also decreased from mean 226.4 to 210.2. The results are clear, Ceylon cinnamon is a top performer among effective cardiovascular supplements.
Cinnamon is also known for many other health benefits. Evidence suggests it has anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, anti-oxidant, and blood glucose lowering properties. Cinnamon aids in digestion, while also fighting tooth decay and halitosis due to the antimicrobial properties. One study shows evidence that Cassia cinnamon can be helpful for those with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. Cassia cinnamon supplementation can be dangerous at high doses due to high coumarin levels in the spice which can cause liver damage if taking too much or too long, especially if the liver is already in poor health. Cassia cinnamon can be effective at lowering blood sugar levels, so if you are taking diabetic medications, the combination can lower your blood sugar too much, causing hypoglycemia. Be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels closely. If they are lower than expected, diabetic medication doses can potentially be lowered or eliminated with this all natural option. There is no specific dosage of Cassia cinnamon that has been determined as safe, however a rule of thumb is not to consume more than you would find in foods prepared with cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is much safer to take at high doses and does not have high coumarin levels.
The University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy completed a study with promising results for colorectal cancer prevention. The study found that adding the compound that gives cinnamon its distinctive flavor and smell, cinnamaldehyde, to the diet of mice protected the mice against colorectal cancer. In response to cinnamaldehyde, the animals’ cells acquired the ability to protect themselves against exposure to a carcinogen through detoxification and repair. Cinnamaldehyde can be derived from both Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon.
Being the third most consumed spice in the world, cinnamon has much more to offer than its pleasing aroma and nostalgic feelings of grandma’s house during the holidays. This cancer fighting, breath freshening, cholesterol busting, blood pressure lowering common household staple can truly spice up our health and benefit our wellness. Enjoying a cinnamon spiced glass of warm almond milk with a slice of mom’s sweet potato pie has more benefits than soothing the soul. Here’s to a Healthy and Happy upcoming holiday season. Cheers!
Dr. Carlie Bell-Biggins is Founder and CEO of Monaco. As a licensed Natural Medicine Physician, she believes in the Healing Power of Nature and the undeniable efficacy of her Individualized Health Care approach. She has written both Didactic and Clinical Health Care Curriculum and managed Medical Faculty for various college’s Health and Wellness programs. In private practice, Dr. Bell-Biggins motivated clients to reach their Personal Health Goals with Individualized Natural Health Solutions. She travels to lecture on various health care topics as an Expert in Natural Health and a Leading Voice in the Natural Health Care industry.