It’s always great to learn that something you’re already eating actually benefits your body and performance. Whether as a seasoning for meats and veggies, or in your favorite chai, chances are you’re already using cinnamon somewhere in your diet. This warming, familiar spice is one of the most popular in the food world, and actually packs some powerful health benefits.
Cinnamon is best known as a blood sugar stabilizing superhero, and also contains a host of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial compounds, making it a powerful tool for preventing blood sugar spikes and systemic inflammation.
Cinnamon up with a hot mug of our Bulletproof Turmeric Latte, and read on to cozy up with the benefits of this versatile spice.
Are you buying the right kind of cinnamon?
There are two major types of cinnamon that you’ll find in the U.S. market. The first is Ceylon, or “true” cinnamon. The Ceylon tree is an evergreen native to Sri Lanka and parts of India. Ceylon is the best cinnamon for your body.
The cheaper, more popular Cassia cinnamon actually contains high levels of coumarin that can damage your liver and harm your performance.
You can find organic, Ceylon cinnamon online, or at most health grocery stores.
Benefits and uses of cinnamon
Hack your blood sugar
Cinnamon has a reputation as a blood sugar regulator, and researchers are exploring it as a potential anti-diabetic treatment. Human trials showed reduced in fasting and post-meal blood sugar, and increased glucose control in diabetic, pre-diabetic, and high blood sugar patients. Even if you don’t eat sugar often, cinnamon can help keep your blood sugar in check if you’re tempted to enjoy an occasional sugary treat.
Bioactive components in cinnamon regulate sugar in a combination of ways. Cinnamaldehyde promotes increased production of insulin, the hormone responsible for shuttling sugar out of the bloodstream and into cells for energy.
Polyphenol compounds from cinnamon then help maximize your cells’ response to insulin by supporting the activity of insulin receptors, and synthesis of glucose transporter receptors, which can increase a cell’s glucose metabolism up to 20-fold.
Cinnamon extracts can also inhibit the production of pancreatic amylase, preventing your body from fully digesting carbohydrates. This means that consuming carbohydrates with cinnamon will cause a much smaller spike in blood sugar, which could help prevent metabolic disorders such as diabetes.
Inflammation is the root of many chronic and age-related diseases, and the anti-inflammatory compounds in many herbs and spices can help you minimize damage to your cells. Cinnamon is known to down-regulate inflammatory cytokines, and increase production of anti-inflammatory proteins. Additionally, compounds from cinnamon extracts are potent antioxidants and can hunt down free-radicals associated with chronic inflammation.
An anti-inflammatory Bulletproof Diet and cinnamon can also help protect against heart disease, which begins with artery inflammation. Compounds in cinnamon defend your arteries by lowering your blood pressure, blood triglycerides, and total cholesterol, while elevating your HDL (the good cholesterol) and preventing your blood platelets from clumping.
A potential antitumor?
Here’s one last thing to get you pumped about cinnamon. While we definitely need more research here, in vitro studies support that you can inhibit tumor growth with cinnamon. By upregulating production of the molecules that cause cell death, and blocking growth factors associated with abnormal growth, tumor-targeted cinnamon could be a future addition to cancer treatment.
Learn more about the best anti-inflammatory herbs and spices for your Bulletproof cooking.
Download the free Bulletproof Diet Roadmap to learn which spices and flavorings are in the Bulletproof Zone, suspect zone, and kryptonite zone.