So we mentioned our love for cinnamon in coffee, but this spice is good for more than just spicing up your morning cup of coffee. It turns out that cinnamon could also have huge health benefits, from fighting inflammation to being an antifungal.
It’s a delicious treat too, with a versatile flavor profile that works for everything from French toast and sweet potatoes to curry and kebabs. Plus, cinnamon sugar sprinkled on buttered toast will always slap. Seriously, give it a try if it doesn’t.
Read on to learn more about the nutrition of cinnamon, as well as its many health benefits.
Cinnamon is low in calories and tasty. Although, please do not eat it plain! (Anyone else still have scars after watching cinnamon challenge videos?)
Here is what you can expect nutritionally of a tablespoon of cinnamon.
A Study 2020 sought to understand the effects of cinnamon on glucose levels, particularly with regard to prediabetes.
Researchers have found that cinnamon can help with glucose homeostasis, which is a fancy way of describing a balanced state of blood sugar. When glucose is out of balance – that is, too high or too low – it can lead to a host of problems, especially when a person is already at risk for developing diabetes.
This study echoed similar findings from a 2018 study where it has been suggested that eating 3 to 6 grams of cinnamon has positive effects on certain blood sugar markers. There is still research to be done to determine if and to what extent cinnamon can affect blood sugar levels, but the results are encouraging so far.
While some cases of inflammation are good, such as infection fighting or tissue repair cases, chronic inflammation is not so good for the body and can cause a lot of problems.
Fortunately, a 2015 study have shown that cinnamon and its antioxidants may have anti-inflammatory properties useful in the treatment of age-related conditions.
Growing evidence suggests that cinnamon and its extracts may have anticancer properties.
Cinnamon and cancer research has been going on for some time. One older 2010 in vitro study found that cinnamon has anti-tumor benefits from several mechanisms. The researchers suggested that more research could potentially lead to powerful anti-tumor treatments or complementary drugs in the treatment of cancer.
A more recent 2015 animal study saw that a compound derived from cinnamon could be an inhibitor of colorectal cancer in rats. A 2019 review suggested that cinnamon may have anti-cancer properties in several types of cancer by affecting what’s called the pathways of apoptosis. This means that it could help kill cancer cells.
There is a lot more research to be done to really understand how cinnamon might be beneficial for treating cancer, but it looks promising so far.
Various studies have reported that cinnamon could be a good antifungal agent. A 2016 study since cinnamaldehyde and some of its derivatives (aka cinnamon) are probably antifungal agents, which is good to know as there is a global rise in fungal infections, as well as strains resistant to antifungals.
A Study 2019 suggested that cinnamon essential oil had the most potential of the oils studied to inhibit A. ochraceus growth, which could have benefits in preventing food contamination. So not a bonus for eating it, but positive news in general.
A Study 2021 examined cinnamon and hop extracts as possible immunomodulators for severe cases of COVID-19. Keep in mind that this research is very recent and inconclusive, but the connection is interesting and shows some of the ways that cinnamon could come in handy in all kinds of scenarios.
But note that your best bet for avoiding a serious COVID-19 infection is to get yourself vaccinated. Don’t just throw cinnamon on your toast and hope it helps. Just eat it because of the yum factor.