Cinnamon is a spice derived from the bark of the cinnamon tree (1).
For centuries, cinnamon has been helpful for its many medicinal properties in many parts of the world, including China, India, and Iran (1).
Although you may have heard of some well-known health benefits of cinnamon, there may be several benefits that may come as a surprise. Scientific studies have confirmed a few of these benefits (2).
The good news is that cinnamon can easily be a delicious addition to so many meals and snacks. Add cinnamon to cereal, smoothies, yogurt, desserts, tea, coffee, and much more. Read on to get more ideas on how to add cinnamon to your routine.
Summary: Cinnamon is a delicious spice that has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. Modern scientific studies have confirmed some of these benefits.
Table of Contents
- Health Benefits of Cinnamon
- 1. It Can Provide Some Essential Nutrients
- 2. It May Lower Fasting Blood Sugar Levels
- 3. It May Minimize Free Radical Damage
- 4. It May Help with Muscle Soreness
- 5. It May Improve Memory
- 6. It May Improve Your Mood
- 7. It May Decrease the Risk of Cancer
- 8. It Can Reduce Inflammation
- 9. It is an Antibacterial
- 10. It May Help with Weight Loss
- What Are the Health Risks of Cinnamon?
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Are you ready to start adding more cinnamon to your diet? The health benefits are far and wide. Read on to find out if cinnamon could be the right easy spice and addition to many meals or desserts in your diet.
Check out the information below to see the many health benefits of cinnamon, along with any potential risks.
1. It Can Provide Some Essential Nutrients
Did you know that cinnamon contains many essential vitamins and minerals? Some of these include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin A (3). The body requires all these nutrients and much more to function daily (4), (5).
Cinnamon is an easy option for many meals that provide tons of flavor and an aromatic addition as well. It can help to give you a much-needed boost of necessary nutrients.
Summary: Cinnamon contains some small amounts of essential nutrients, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin A.
2. It May Lower Fasting Blood Sugar Levels
Some evidence suggests that cinnamon supplements may help to lower fasting blood sugar levels (8). However, other research suggests that cinnamon is not effective at improving blood sugars long-term (9).
Do you have high blood sugar levels? Talk to a nutritionist or dietician about changing up your diet to better assist you.
Summary: Some evidence suggests that cinnamon can lower fasting blood sugar levels, but it is less effective at lowering blood sugars long-term.
3. It May Minimize Free Radical Damage
Cinnamon is high in antioxidants (10). Antioxidants are compounds that may prevent or delay damage in the body’s cells caused by free radicals (11). Damage from a buildup of too many free radicals in the body over time may contribute to the development of some chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (11), (12).
Studies in animals find that compounds in cinnamon have antioxidant effects (13). However, this research is preliminary, and cinnamon needs to be further studied in humans.
Many other foods found in our diets are rich sources of antioxidants, especially fruits and vegetables (11).
Summary: Studies in animals find that cinnamon has anti-oxidant effects, but more research is needed in humans.
4. It May Help with Muscle Soreness
Do you get sore often after working out? Some muscle soreness after exercising is normal, but too much soreness is unnecessary (14).
Cinnamon may assist with muscle soreness, but the evidence is weak. In one study, athletes who took a cinnamon supplements regularly had insignificant decreases in muscle soreness compared to athletes who did not take cinnamon (15).
Summary: There is some weak evidence that cinnamon may help with muscle soreness, but much more research is needed.
5. It May Improve Memory
Early research suggests that cinnamon may have an effect on brain health, specifically regarding memory. However, the research of cinnamon and brain health is preliminary and warrants further study.
One study in mice found that high doses of cinnamon improved the mice’s memory (16). Other studies in animals also show cinnamon may have positive effects on improving memory (17). Most of the studies exist on animals, so more research is necessary.
Summary: Early research in animals suggests cinnamon may improve memory. More research on cinnamon and memory in humans is needed.
6. It May Improve Your Mood
Some early research suggests that cinnamon could possibly have anti-depressive effects. One study found that cinnamon made an improvement in depressive behavior in rats (18). However, this one study is very preliminary, and much more research is necessary before we can understand cinnamon’s effect on mood in humans.
There are many factors to consider when thinking about mood changes and depressive behavior (19). Always speak to a healthcare professional or doctor if you are experiencing mood changes, depression, or chronic stress.
Summary: One study in animals suggests that there may be a mood improving effect of cinnamon. We need much more scientific research before we can understand if cinnamon has any effect on mood in humans.
7. It May Decrease the Risk of Cancer
However, there needs to be much more research on the potentially cancer preventative effects of cinnamon on humans before we can make definitive conclusions.
Summary: Test tube and animal studies suggest that cinnamon may have beneficial anti-cancer effects.
8. It Can Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the driving force behind most chronic diseases, most of which are preventable (22). Although some inflammation is normal for the body and helps it heal after injury, too much over many years can cause disease, such as heart disease (23).
A review of multiple studies found that cinnamon supplementes helped to significantly reduce some of body’s signals for inflammation (24).
Summary: Research suggests that cinnamon has anti-inflammatory effects in humans, which can help to reduce risk for disease.
9. It is an Antibacterial
Cinnamon has an active component, called cinnamaldehyde, that may act as an antibacterial agent against various types of infections (25).
Cinnamon has been found in test tubes to limit the spread of different bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella (26), (27). Cinnamon may also have a short-term effect on killing some bacteria in the mouth that can cause bad breath (28).
Summary: Compounds in cinnamon have been shown to have an anti-bacterial effect in test tubes.
10. It May Help with Weight Loss
Obesity is a common health issue affects millions in the United States (29). There are many potential causes of obesity, including genetics, underlying health conditions, socioeconomic status, lifestyle factors, and environment.
Cinnamon is a great spice to add to yogurt, cereal, smoothies.
Summary: It is uncertain if cinnamon can be helpful for weight loss, but some evidence suggests it may.
What Are the Health Risks of Cinnamon?
Cinnamon in the small doses added to foods is generally safe to consume. Although, for some health conditions, consuming too much cinnamon, such as the higher amounts found in cinnamon supplements, can have side effects and health risks.
Always be cautious when adding too much of anything to your diet without first consulting with a health care provider.
Some potential side effects of consuming too much cinnamon include (32):
- Liver damage
- Mouth ulcers
- Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia
- Couging or difficulty breathing
- Increased risk of certain cancers
Cinnamon also comes in supplement form and as an essential oil. Always ask your doctor or healthcare professional before adding any new supplements to your routine, especially if you are on any medications. Cinnamon can interfere with some prescribed medications.
Summary: Cinnamon is generally safe to consume in small amounts added to foods as a spice. However, there may be potential side effects of consuming cinnamon in the high doses found in supplements.
Cinnamon may help reduce inflammation, fight free-radicals, and decrease risk of some diseases (1).
However, the research on the health benefits of cinnamon is still preliminary and primarily conducted in animals and test tubes only. There needs to be much more research on the effects of cinnamon in human subjects (1).
While cinnamon is safe to consume in the small amounts added to foods, much of the research cinnamon has examined the effect of high doses of cinnamon in supplements (1). However, consuming too much cinnamon can also have potential negative side effects (1).
Always speak with your healthcare professional to make sure cinnamon or any other new supplement is okay for you to consume regularly (1).
Summary: Cinnamon may have potential health benefits, but the research on cinnamon is still preliminary. We need more research on the health benefits of cinnamon. Always ask your doctor or healthcare professional before adding any new supplements to your routine