Cinnamon may be relegated to your kitchen cupboards, but this popular culinary herb also deserves a place in your medicine cabinet. Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of cinnamon and how you can put this tasty spice to use.
Health Benefit of Cinnamon #1: Lower Blood Sugar
Cinnamon benefits people with diabetes in a big way. Clinical trials have found that consuming as little as one gram (about 1/2 teaspoon) of cinnamon per day can lower blood sugar by an impressive 20 percent.
Health Benefit of Cinnamon #2: Reduced Blood Pressure and Lipid Levels
Another health benefit of cinnamon is that it positively effects lipid levels. This versatile compound has also been shown in scientific studies to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as blood pressure. It’s an all-around winner when it comes to cardiovascular health.
Health Benefit of Cinnamon #3: Boon for the Brain
Much of the latest research focuses on cinnamon’s benefits for the brain. In addition to enhancing learning in animals, cinnamon compounds have protective properties against neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and dementia and have been found to improve motor function and inhibit the buildup of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
How to Reap the Health Benefits of Cinnamon
As you can see cinnamon benefits several aspects of health and well-being. To start reaping the health benefits of cinnamon today, sprinkle it on foods like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, or unsweetened applesauce; add it to coffee, tea, or other beverages; or take it in capsule form. (Look for cinnamon supplements in health food stores or online.) Aim for a total daily intake of ½ teaspoon daily or 1,000 mg. Another option is to incorporate it into tasty recipes like this one modified from eatingwell.com. Enjoy!
Crock Pot Spiced Lentil Soup
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for extra spice)
6 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
3 cups chopped cauliflower
1 3/4 cups lentils
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chopped fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine onions, carrots, garlic, oil, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add broth, water, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes, and tomato paste and stir until well combined.
Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 4 to 5 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
During the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in spinach. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and lemon juice.
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