by Lisa Breitenwischer, CHHC
Cinnamon, the brown bark of a cinnamon tree, is one such natural product that has been in use for centuries throughout the world as a spice or flavoring agent. In addition, medieval physicians used cinnamon for medical purposes to treat a variety of disorders including arthritis, coughing, hoarseness, sore throats, etc. It was once so highly-prized that several wars were fought over it.
Recently, this natural product is being considered for its use in a new territory- Studies show that whole cinnamon is very effective in maintaining dopamine levels. Dopamine is an important chemical that carries signals between nerves in the brain. It’s linked to many functions, including movement, sleep, mood, attention, and learning. In addition to supporting healthy brain and cognitive function, cinnamon exerts health-promoting effects on blood sugar, insulin and lipids, and the brain’s natural process of breaking down dangerous tau proteins which is associated with neurodegenerative diseases.**
Other proven benefits of cinnamon:
Cinnamon may curb food cravings. By targeting a brain chemical involved in glucose and cholesterol, eating cinnamon may decrease food intake and help you lose weight.
Cinnamon’s scent can boost memory in a task. A small human study suggests that merely smelling cinnamon can improve performance several types of memory tasks.
Cinnamon is a good source of the powerful antioxidant manganese. Two teaspoons of cinnamon provides about half the RDA of manganese, a powerful antioxidant that is crucial for brain and body health.
To add a daily dose of cinnamon to your diet, you can try:
- sprinkle cinnamon in a protein smoothie or yogurt
- mixing cinnamon into your oatmeal or other hot cereal
- adding a small amount of cinnamon to rubs, beans & stews
- infusing your tea or juice with a cinnamon stick
- seasoning carrots, beets, or butternut squash with cinnamon before roasting them
**The average dose of cinnamon in these studies was 250mg per day or 1 tsp.