Is Ceylon Cinnamon Good For You? An RD Weighs In on the Benefits
Say hello to the rising star in the world of spices — Ceylon Cinnamon. This cool little spice is getting all the attention these days, with Google Trends showing that searches for it are at their highest ever. As a registered dietitian, let me clue you into all the fuss.
Ceylon Cinnamon, also romantically known as "true cinnamon," hails from the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. While you may think of cinnamon as just another typical ingredient in your pumpkin pie recipe, consuming it may also be linked to a slew of health benefits, especially when consumed consistently at certain doses.
Some proposed Ceylon cinnamon benefits include better blood sugar control, better heart health, and anti-inflammatory effects. However, it's crucial to remember that while Ceylon cinnamon is beneficial, it is not a cure-all. Overconsumption can lead to certain side effects, like allergic reactions or mouth sores.
Ready to spice up your life? Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of Ceylon cinnamon.
Ceylon Cinnamon Benefits
Consuming Ceylon cinnamon is linked to a surprising amount of potential health benefits, from neurological health to anti-inflammatory effects.
Anti Inflammatory Effects
One notable benefit of Ceylon cinnamon is its anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is linked to various health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Incorporating Ceylon cinnamon into your diet may help your body combat inflammation, thanks to the spice's rich content of antioxidants, or substances that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
Blood Sugar-Lowering Properties
Another remarkable benefit of Ceylon cinnamon is its potential blood sugar-lowering properties. Research suggests Ceylon cinnamon can help manage blood glucose levels by increasing insulin sensitivity. And other data shows that consuming cinnamon is linked to a decrease in levels of fasting blood sugar levels. However, it should never replace medication or other prescribed treatments, as more data is needed to confirm this link. Always consult your doctor before using Ceylon cinnamon as a supplementary approach to managing blood sugar levels.
One less commonly known benefit of Ceylon cinnamon is its potential role in neurological health, particularly in terms of cognitive function and neurodegenerative diseases. Preliminary research suggests that certain compounds in Ceylon cinnamon may inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, animal studies have indicated that cinnamon consumption can help improve memory and learning capacity. While these findings are certainly promising, more extensive human studies are needed to fully understand the potential of Ceylon cinnamon in this domain.
An additional benefit of Ceylon cinnamon is its potential to support heart health. Studies have indicated that this spice can help reduce levels of total cholesterol, LDL "bad" cholesterol, and triglycerides, while maintaining or even boosting levels of HDL "good" cholesterol. This protective effect on the heart could be attributed to the presence of antioxidant compounds and anti-inflammatory properties in Ceylon cinnamon. By incorporating this spice into your diet, you may be contributing to a healthier cardiovascular system.
Arthritis Pain Relief
Research also suggests that Ceylon cinnamon may benefit individuals with arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of this spice could potentially alleviate inflammation associated with arthritis, thereby reducing joint pain and swelling.
While further research on human subjects is needed to validate these results, the findings to date provide a promising indication of the potential benefits of Ceylon cinnamon for those with arthritis.
Blood Thinning Properties
Ceylon cinnamon is also believed to have blood-thinning properties due to the presence of a compound named cinnamaldehyde. This compound is thought to inhibit clotting factors in the blood, thereby potentially reducing the risk of thrombosis or abnormal blood clot formation. However, it's essential to note that scientific research in this area is still ongoing, and while early findings are promising, more extensive studies are needed to solidify these claims. Consequently, individuals with blood clotting disorders or those on anticoagulant medication should consult their healthcare provider before incorporating Ceylon cinnamon into their diet or supplement regimen.
Supports A Low Sodium Diet
Ceylon cinnamon can also contribute to maintaining a healthier diet by reducing sodium intake. Incorporating this miraculous spice into your culinary repertoire can enhance the flavor profile of your dishes, allowing you to reduce the amount of salt used. High-sodium diets are linked to hypertension and heart disease, among other health problems. So substituting salt with Ceylon cinnamon not only adds a delightful burst of flavor, but it also aids in the journey towards better health.
The cinnamaldehyde component of cinnamon allows Ceylon cinnamon to have anti-microbial activity. It has been shown to inhibit the growth of Listeria and Escherichia coli (e. coli) in food products, and oral candidiasis among certain populations.
Ceylon Cinnamon Side Effects
While Ceylon cinnamon offers many potential health benefits, it's important to be aware of possible side effects as well. In some individuals, consuming cinnamon, even in moderate amounts, can cause allergic reactions, including skin irritation, itching, and rashes. It can also lead to digestive problems such as stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhea. Overconsumption of cinnamon could potentially damage the liver, as it contains a compound called coumarin. Though Ceylon cinnamon contains far less coumarin than other types, it's still advised not to exceed the recommended dosage.
"Most of the health concerns seen with cinnamon come from the more commonly consumed type in the US — Cassia," says Jen Scheinman, MS, RDN, CDN, owner of Jen Scheinman Nutrition. This is due to the higher concentration of coumarin, which has been linked to the potential to act as a carcinogen and also cause liver damage, Scheinman explains. "Ceylon cinnamon has a much lower level of coumarin than Cassia, so, if you are eating it as part of a regular diet, there is very little risk," she says.
Worth noting: pregnant people and those with liver disease should exercise extra caution with Ceylon cinnamon or avoid it altogether. And as with any health supplement, always consult your health care provider for personalized advice before incorporating Ceylon cinnamon into your diet.
Where to Buy Ceylon Cinnamon
When it comes to purchasing Ceylon cinnamon, there are several options available. Many health food stores and higher-end grocery stores stock Ceylon cinnamon, though it may not be as readily available as Cassia cinnamon. Alternatively, Ceylon cinnamon can be conveniently purchased online. Websites like Amazon, iHerb, and health-specific e-commerce platforms carry a wide range of brands. Always look for organic, non-irradiated Ceylon cinnamon from suppliers that emphasize sustainable practices and fair trade.