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The Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been making headlines as part of a dangerous dare that is putting children and teens in the hospital. But cinnamon does have some great health benefits, when consumed properly.

As of late, cinnamon has gotten a bad rap.

On Monday, April 22, the medical journal Pediatrics published a study regarding the dangers of the "cinnamon challenge," which involves consuming a spoonful of ground cinnamon without the aid of water in a minute or less. The cinnamon has caused severe respiratory distress in children and teens and can lead to permanent lung damage similar to emphysema.

But beyond this less-than-intelligent stunt, cinnamon is actually a beloved spice for a lot of reasons. So today, we're making the case for cinnamon. After all, who didn't love cinnamon and sugar on their toast growing up (or still does)?

The Facts on Cinnamon

Cinnamon is produced from the bark of trees. This popular spice is used around the world in cooking as well as for its healthful properties. There are two main types of cinnamon available: Ceylon, or "true" cinnamon and cassia cinnamon. Both Ceylon (Cinnamomum verum) and cassia (Cinnamomum aromaticum) are used for culinary and medicinal purposed and sold both as ground spices and as supplements.

Studies remain ongoing about the health benefits of cinnamon. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some research has shown anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits in cinnamon, but more evidence is needed to determine a benefit for humans.

Cinnamon and Diabetes

One of the most common recommendations for cinnamon is as a natural treatment for diabetes. Cassia cinnamon has shown promising effects as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. This type of cinnamon may help lower blood sugar levels, preventing drastic spikes. According to the Mayo Clinic, a study published in 2009 showed patients who took 1,000 mg of cinnamon per day (split into two doses) saw their A1C levels lower after 90 days.

Cassia cinnamon is also taken for digestive issues to promote overall wellness and stimulate a lagging appetite.

Cinnamon and High Cholesterol

The second most heard of recommendation for cinnamon is for its use in managing cholesterol. According to Dr. Thomas Behrenbeck, cinnamon's effects on the body's processing of sugar and fat could potentially help lower cholesterol, but more research is needed before suggesting cinnamon is a proven treatment.

How to Take It

If you're interested in taking cinnamon in supplement form, it's important to talk with your physician first to determine how much, especially if you're being treated for any of the above medical conditions, are pregnant or are breastfeeding. Consuming very high doses of cinnamon can be toxic.

Cinnamon is available in tablet, softgel and capsule form in varying doses. You can also find cinnamon tea or make your own. Of course, you can always add this favorite spice to your meals each day but do not consume it on its own. Using spices can help you avoid high calorie or high sodium sauces or seasoning blends without losing flavor -- a practice that supports healthy blood pressure.

It's not all bad when it comes to cinnamon. Shop for a range of cinnamon products at eVitamins and stay well!

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