Good Medicine Everyday: Cinnamon / by emily penn

Cinnamon has been one of my favorite spices for years now. Something about it just does it for me and I never get sick of it. I add it to smoothies, coffee, yogurt bowls, chia pudding, etc. It’s got a natural sweetness that enhances the sweet quality of whatever I’m eating without adding any actual sugar + one of the major health benefits of cinnamon is that it helps with blood sugar regulation! Yes!


Before we get into the health benefits I want to touch on one thing - there are different kinds of cinnamon. Ceylon is true cinnamon. It’s also much more expensive and harder to find. Then there are other varieties, usually Cassia, which is what’s mostly available in grocery stores. The Ceylon cinnamon tastes and smells so much different from the regular stuff! It tastes like Red Hots candy. I invested in some Ceylon cinnamon and use it for special occasions and for teas (it turns red!). My daily cinnamon is the organic bulk cinnamon from Natural Grocers. There is a compound in the Cassia variety called coumarin that is believed to be harmful in large doses. Honestly, I don’t stress about this at all, but it’s good to know and keep in mind.

OKAY! Now - why you’ll want to put cinnamon on everything you eat (almost) (1):

  • Cinnamon contains lots of potent antioxidants, which we are always in need of. It has even more than garlic or oregano!

  • These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory effects on the body, too.

  • Just half a teaspoon per day can have an impact on blood markers like LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. It might also increase HDL cholesterol. This also makes cinnamon great for heart health!

  • Cinnamon can reduce insulin resistance, which is the mechanism by which it can help lower blood sugar levels. It can also help lower the glucose that enters your bloodstream after a meal by slowing down the breakdown of carbohydrates. I recommend cinnamon to all of my clients with Type 2 Diabetes.

  • Cinnamaldehyde is a compound in cinnamon that is antibacterial and antifungal, which may help prevent infection, tooth decay and it helps keep breath fresh.

Cinnamon is especially great this time of year because of its warming properties. It’s cozy, sweet and pairs so well with other seasonal foods like… apple cider, apples, pears, pumpkin, sweet potato, etc. Pair it with other warming spices like ginger, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, anise, or allspice.