Does anyone else have a grandma that puts cinnamon on literally everything? It was in our hot chocolate, baked apples and even vegetable soup - don’t judge it until you try it! Well, grandma may have been on to something …
While we all know and use cinnamon for baking, did you know that it has been used as medicine for thousands of years? Cinnamon is an adaptogenic spice that supports blood sugar management, has anti-inflammatory properties and even supports neurological health.
Types of Cinnamon
There are two main types of cinnamon available as a spice and supplements - Cassia and Ceylon. (1)
Cassia cinnamon is the most popular type of cinnamon found in grocery stores, and is likely what you use when baking or stirring your hot cider. Cassia is produced from trees mainly located in China and Indonesia, and is made from a single thick layer of rolled bark. (2)
Ceylon cinnamon is considered “true” cinnamon, and is considered higher-quality and more expensive to produce. Ceylon is produced from trees generally located in Sri Lanka, Madagascar and the Seychelles. Unlike Cassia, Ceylon cinnamon sticks are made from multiple thin layers of rolled bark. (2)
Both Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon are safe and effective to use as spices. However, you should only take supplements that contain Ceylon cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon contains greater amounts of coumarin than Ceylon, which is a compound that can cause liver damage if taken at a high dose.
Benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon
Ceylon cinnamon is an adaptogenic spice that has powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that support wellness and protect against disease like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
One amazing benefit of cinnamon is its ability to help improve insulin sensitivity. (3) Insulin is an important hormone that helps regulate your metabolism, energy and blood sugar levels.
When you become less sensitive to insulin, it means that your body isn’t able to use the glucose from your blood like it should. Over time, this raises blood sugar levels and increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and other diseases. Insulin resistance can be caused by a variety of factors like being overweight, not getting enough physical activity and hormonal disorders like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This is important to pay attention to as communities of color are disproportionately impacted by type 2 diabetes, and are more likely to have severe complications from it. (4)
Cinnamon has been clinically shown to improve insulin sensitivity by helping the insulin in your body more effectively utilize and transport glucose. (5) In addition, cinnamon helps decrease the amount of glucose your body absorbs from eating food, which can help you lower and better regulate your blood sugar levels.
In addition to supporting insulin sensitivity and blood sugar management, cinnamon also:
- Supports heart health by helping to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Improves gut health by acting as a prebiotic that helps regulate intestinal flora.
- Supports cognitive and neurological health by helping to protect neurons, and may even help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Helps reduce the risk and severity of infection through its antiviral and antifungal properties
Incorporating Cinnamon Daily
Here’s a few healthy ideas on how to incorporate cinnamon into your diet.
- Add cinnamon to your coffee or chai tea latte instead of adding flavored syrups.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on apple slices, a banana or popcorn for a balanced snack that won’t spike your blood sugar.
- Incorporate cinnamon during breakfast in your granola, overnight oats or pancake mix.
- Add it to your vegetable soup - we promise it’s a thing! Here’s one of our favorite recipes.
The Mela Method
While we hope you are feeling inspired to experiment cooking with cinnamon, we know how difficult it can be to do this everyday. Here at mela, we want to make it easier to experience the benefits of cinnamon on a daily basis. That’s why we have included 300mg of ceylon cinnamon in our Daily Essentials. Our multivitamin combines adaptogens like cinnamon, probiotics and essential vitamins - and as always, it is non-gmo, vegan and gluten-free.