Last updated: 31.10.2021
Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices, distinguished by a unique aroma and taste, invariably associated with appetizing sweet dishes. However, not everyone knows that in addition to its taste, cinnamon is characterized by numerous health-promoting activities. It is also one of the most valued plants equipped with slimming properties. Cinnamon has a strong anti-inflammatory effect, is the guardian of efficient digestion, improves metabolism, plays an important role in stabilizing blood sugar levels. Not to be underestimated is also its role in combating microorganisms. However, this is not the end of the advantages of cinnamon. It is worth noting that numerous medicinal properties have been confirmed by research, so it is undoubtedly worth using every day the arsenal of benefits that cinnamon brings with it.
Table of contents
- 1 Cinnamon – an invaluable spice with a wide range of culinary applications
- 2 Cinnamon composition
- 3 Cinnamon – health promoting properties
- 4 Cinnamon for weight loss
- 5 Cinnamon – contraindications
- 6 Cosmetic properties of cinnamon
- 7 Cinnamon recipe
Cinnamon – an invaluable spice with a wide range of culinary applications
Cinnamon is a spice popular around the world, added to a variety of dishes, both sweet and salty, as well as beverages, such as mulled wine and beer. Cinnamon is available in the form of powder or sticks. Thanks to the content of cinnamon oil it has a unique aroma (warm, spicy, intense, stimulating the senses). Also the taste of the spice is unusual (slightly burning, and at the same time sweet and spicy).
Both the taste of the spice and the smell make cinnamon one of the most characteristic, temperamental additives to meals (added to a dish, cinnamon almost always changes its taste and becomes a dominant note).
In addition to culinary uses, cinnamon is also widely used in cosmetics. Extracts from the bark of the cinnamon tree can be found in creams, lotions, washing gels and shampoos. Cinnamon powder also works well as an ingredient of home beauty treatments, for example, face and body masks and scrubs. Cinnamon is also used in pharmaceuticals and herbal medicine, and recently also in sports supplements.
Cinnamon is extracted from the dried bark of the cinnamon tree. Cinnamon is an evergreen tree belonging to the laurel family. It grows to a height of 10-15 meters. Under natural conditions, it grows mainly in Southeast Asia. It grows in tropical, dry, forest areas. However, today cinnamon tree crops are found throughout the subtropics and tropics.
The most valued (and potentially the least harmful in excess) variety of cinnamon is Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum). In ground form, it is lighter than the Chinese variety, and its rolls roll up bilaterally, rather than in a single stick like Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia L.).
Cinnamon, in addition to significantly increasing the flavor of many dishes, is also a source of many valuable nutrients. Some of them are really high in cinnamon, such as calcium, potassium and iron.
Cinnamon also contains large amounts of antioxidants (e.g. catechins and epicatechins) protecting our body from diseases of civilization, as well as cinnamaldehyde which is a weapon against bacteria, fungi, viruses. More and more people, due to the content of polyphenols, potassium and magnesium, also use cinnamon to lower blood pressure and improve heart function.
Cinnamon contains a wide range of bio-substances valuable to our health, among them:
- polyphenols (catechins, epicatechins, flavones, isoflavones, flavonols, chlorogenic acid, ellagic acid),
- volatile oils,
- coffee acid,
- cinnamic acid,
- dietary fiber,
- vitamin C,
- B vitamins,
- vitamin K,
- vitamin A,
- vitamin E,
Cinnamon – health promoting properties
The health-promoting properties of cinnamon extend to many areas of our body’s functioning.
Here are the most important ones:
- Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, slows down the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, thus preventing sudden spikes in glucose. It also increases sensitivity of tissues to insulin, normalizes its secretion.
- Cinnamon has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the digestive system and improves the digestive process. It supports metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, supports work of intestines, pancreas, liver, stimulates production of gastric juice and bile. It prevents digestive problems such as indigestion, nausea, hyperacidity, feeling of fullness in the stomach, abdominal bloating.
- Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, thanks to which it neutralizes harmful free radicals, delays the body’s aging process, strengthens the defense barrier against pathogens, supports regeneration processes, fights inflammation. By protecting cells from oxidative stress and preventing their damage and mutations, it reduces the risk of cancer. Antioxidant action of cinnamon also translates into a lower risk of other diseases of civilization, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, eye disease.
- Cinnamon has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. It supports blood clotting, positively influences the condition of blood vessels, improves circulation, improves the work of heart. It lowers the level of cholesterol and triglycerides, it also lowers blood pressure. It reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and heart diseases.
- Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It supports our immune system. It is helpful in treating colds, flu, upper respiratory tract infections. It has a warming and antipyretic effect.
- Cinnamon (thanks to components such as cinnamon oil, cinnamon aldehyde and cinnamyl acetate) has a strong disinfectant effect. It protects food from spoilage and helps in its preservation.
- Cinnamon significantly supports the treatment of diseases caused by Candida fungi. It effectively fights the bacteria Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium.
- Due to its antiseptic, antioxidant and refreshing properties, both cinnamon bark, cinnamon oil as well as cinnamon seedsseeds are used in cosmetics, in the production of creams, ointments, perfumes, lotions (including to fight cellulite).
- It is indicated on the positive role of cinnamon in improving the work of the brain. It improves blood flow to the brain, helps regulate the level of neurotransmitters, improves memory and concentration, positively influences thought processes. Improves mental well-being, relieves nervous tension. Protects neurons from damage, reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimera and Parkinson’s.
- Cinnamon supports the urinary tract and regulates kidney function. By exhibiting diuretic effects, it improves the body’s ability to cleanse itself of toxins.
- Due to the presence of isoflavones, it helps regulate the hormone balance and counteracts the annoying symptoms that occur with fluctuating hormone levels (e.g. during menopause, before menstruation).
- Due to its anti-inflammatory, warming and analgesic properties, it reduces joint pains (including rheumatic, overloading and post-traumatic ones).
Cinnamon for weight loss
Cinnamon bark extract not only has a beneficial effect on the digestive tract, fighting bloating, indigestionand diarrhea or stomach problems, but can even prevent stomach ulcers, hyperacidity and food poisoning. Beneficial effect of cinnamon on digestive tract also causes the effects expected by many people struggling with excessive body weight.
Cinnamon is included in the group of thermogenics, substances accelerating metabolism. The effect of cinnamon is an increase in body heat, which causes the body to increase its metabolism and thus increase energy expenditure in order to re-balance body heat. Since the body has to “work harder”, we burn calories more intensively. Ultimately, this promotes faster weight loss.
Important in the context of weight loss, cinnamon also improves digestion and kidney function, so the body cleanses itself more effectively. Cinnamon also has a positive effect on the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates supplied in food – it inhibits their absorption and storage in the form of body fat, thus preventing further weight gain.
In addition, thanks to the chromium and fiber content, among other things, cinnamon increases the feeling of satiety and suppresses the craving for sweets, which in many cases are the cause of weight gain. By regulating blood sugar levels, it protects us from attacks of ravenous hunger resulting in uncontrolled calorie intake.
How to use cinnamon for weight loss? We can either take a dietary supplement containing cinnamon extract (such as Piperinox), or systematically consume special concoctions with cinnamon, examples of which are given below.
Cocktail with cinnamon for weight loss
Among weight-loss surfers, a recently popular recipe for a cocktail consisting of:
- 1 glass of yogurt or kefir,
- half a teaspoon of cinnamon,
- half a teaspoon of ginger,
- a pinch of chili.
This kind of mixture mobilizes the process of metabolism, increases the rate of burning calories and helps to lose excess weight more efficiently. In general, cinnamon for weight loss is a very useful tool when it comes to burning fat and fighting overweight and obesity.
Diet smoothie with cinnamon and oatmeal
Another interesting weight loss concoction is smoothie oatmeal-cinnamon. Its advantage is that besides speeding up metabolism and regulating digestion, it also helps us win over hunger. It is nutritious and tasty, a great alternative to fattening snacks. It can even replace one of our meals during the day (e.g. second breakfast or afternoon tea).
The ingredients of smoothie are:
- half a cup of oatmeal,
- a large cup of natural yoghurt,
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon,
- 2 bananas,
- 2 apples,
- 1 tsp honey or xylitol.
Just pour hot water over oatmeal, wait for it to swell, then blend the ingredients and smoothie is ready. Instead of bananas we can use melon, instead of apples we can use pears or plums, and instead of yoghurt we can use milk, soya milk, buttermilk or kefir.
Slimming and health promoting concoction with cinnamon and honey
In addition to the above-mentioned shakes, it is also worth paying attention to another concoction. Known already in antiquity pro-health combination is honey with cinnamon. Such a mixture, first of all, warms up, which speeds up metabolism, regulates the level of cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure, protects against problems with the digestive tract. Cinnamon and honey increase immunity and vitality, help to fight infections, improve the quality of mental functions and sleep.
A glass of honey should be slightly heated, add a teaspoon of cinnamon, mix the whole well and drink one tablespoon every morning on an empty stomach.
Read also: White mulberry for slimming
Cinnamon – contraindications
It should be borne in mind that any food, even natural, consumed in excess, can do harm. In the case of cinnamon, you have to be careful with its quantities, because it contains coumarin. This substance can contribute to blood thinning. Excessive cinnamon can also lead to liver or kidney damage. However, none of us reach for cinnamon in exorbitant quantities, so we do not have to worry too much about such side effects.
Especially people suffering from kidney, liver or gastrointestinal ulcers and pregnant women should limit their intake of cinnamon. But even healthy people are not advised to eat handfuls of cinnamon, but only to use it in small quantities (half a teaspoon or 1 teaspoon) as an addition to dishes or in health-enhancing or weight-loss concoctions.
Cosmetic properties of cinnamon
Cinnamon is perfect as a component of home cosmetics for both skin and hair care. However, people with very sensitive and allergic skin should be careful with it.
Cinnamon – effect on skin
Cinnamon has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties and therefore it can be very helpful in fighting acne, seborrhoea and blackheads. On the other hand, cinnamon can be very valuable for people who want a simple, natural method to improve the condition of the skin, rejuvenate and brighten it. It shows nourishing, regenerating, oxygenating, smoothing, brightening, reducing discoloration effects.
How to use cinnamon on the skin? Here are examples of home cosmetics:
- Purifying mask with cinnamon (2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of natural yogurt, 1 teaspoon of honey). Combine ingredients into a smooth paste, apply to face avoiding the eye area, wait 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
- Revitalizing mask with cinnamon (1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of ground flaxseed, half a crushed banana, 4-5 tablespoons of orange or lemon juice). After thoroughly mixing the ingredients, apply the resulting slurry on your face. Wait about 15 minutes and then wash it off.
- Body scrub with cinnamon (2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ginger, half a cup of sugar, 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil). Mix all the ingredients. Apply the scrub to the body, gently massage for 2 minutes, then rinse.
Cinnamon for hair
The real recipe for weakened, damaged, rough and lifeless hair can be home treatments in which the main role will play cinnamon oil or powdered cinnamon. Both ingredients add shine and vitality to the hair and have a strengthening, anti-frizz, smoothing, colour-enhancing, nourishing and repairing effect.
Home-made hair masks with cinnamon:
- Cinnamon mask for dull, volumeless, damaged hair (1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of olive oil or flaxseed oil, 1 apple grated on the smallest mesh, 1 egg yolk). Mix the ingredients together thoroughly. Apply the resulting slurry to your hair for 20 minutes. Rinse and wash the head.
- Mask with cinnamon oil for weak, thin, falling out hair (2 teaspoons of cinnamon oil, 1 teaspoon of castor oil, 1 peach, 3 tablespoons of wheat bran). Cinnamon oil mixed with castor oil. Grate peach on a grater on small meshes. Pour hot water over the bran and wait until it swells. Combine all the ingredients and apply on the hair. Wash the hair after 30 minutes. Wash your hair.
Baked rice with apples and cinnamon
- 1 bag (10 dkg) of cooked rice
- 3 apples
- 2 egg yolks
- half a cup of sugar or xylitol
- vanilla sugar
- lemon juice
- teaspoon grated fresh cinnamon
- handful of raisins
Peel apples, cut into cubes, sprinkle with lemon juice, mix with a bit of sugar (or xylitol). Whisk yolks with the rest of the sugar (or xylitol), add to rice, as well as the other ingredients – raisins, cinnamon, apples. Grease the ovenproof dish with butter, put in the rice and sprinkle sugar on top. Put in the oven preheated to 180 degrees, bake for about 15 minutes.
- 30 dkg flour
- 20 dkg butter
- 10 dkg sugar
- 1 egg
- half a teaspoon of cinnamon
- pinch of ginger
- half a teaspoon of baking powder
Mix flour with cinnamon, ginger, baking powder. On a pastry board chop flour with cold butter, add sugar and egg, knead quickly to a smooth paste. Shape it into a ball, put in the fridge for at least half an hour. Then roll out to a thickness of about 5 mm, cut out any shapes, place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake for about 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 180 degrees. After it cools down you can spread icing on it.
Oatmeal pancakes with cinnamon
- a glass of oatmeal
- 1 egg
- 2 spoonfuls of flour
- pinch of salt
- 2-3 spoonfuls of milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Flakes, flour, milk, egg, salt and cinnamon combine to a smooth batter, like for pancake batter, only a bit thicker. Spoon it into hot frying pan (preferably oil with neutral smell), form pancakes, fry until golden brown on both sides. After frying put some fruit on the top, for example prunes or stewed apples, if necessary sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Preparation of such a drink does not require any effort, and provides not only pleasure, but also energy. Peel and slice the banana, put it in a tall container, add natural yogurt and a big pinch of cinnamon and blend.
Check: Ranking of the most effective pills for weight loss