Among spices, cinnamon is one of the most instantly recognizable by smell. Walk into a room where cinnamon is being used for cooking and you'll know it right away. Cinnamon actually has been used in cooking and even for medicine for many centuries. In medieval times, doctors would treat sore throats and mild coughs with cinnamon. Today, we know even more about the health benefits of this spice.
Blood clotting is what causes heart attacks. While clotting is supposed to occur when you get a cut or a gash on the head to prevent bleeding to death, platelets should not stick together and clump during normal bodily functions. Cinnamon has been shown to prevent this unwanted clotting and to also act as an anti-inflammatory. It does this by preventing the release of arachidonic acid from the platelet membranes, which causes clotting and inflammation.
Two types of cholesterol exist in the body: LDL and HDL. LDL is known as bad cholesterol as a high level in the body can lead to heart attack and stroke. Cinnamon has been shown to lower this type of cholesterol in the body, which is something everyone--even people who eat healthily and are not overweight--should be concerned with.
The oils in ground cinnamon have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria. This has a number of benefits for both people and food. Cinnamon is sometimes added to processed food because of this reason: it makes the food last longer in storage. For people, cinnamon has been shown to prevent and fight yeast infections.
Boosts Brain Power
Ground cinnamon doesn't necessarily have to be touched or ingested in order to impart its benefits. Studies have shown that simply by smelling cinnamon, subjects have increased their brain function temporarily. Tests showed that only by smelling the spice or chewing gum that had been flavored with cinnamon improved subjects' ability to use cognitive reasoning, helping them perform better on tests.
- Photo Credit cinnamon image by Marek Kosmal from Fotolia.com
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