Cinnamon has been in news recently for its properties to reduce blood pressure, bring down triglycerides drastically and helping in brain-relating diseases at bay. But on the flip-side of it, coumarin present in cinnamon is harmful to liver, say studies. Minus coumarin, cinnamon packs high potency of antioxidants and its antimicrobial properties have been shown to fight strains of E. coli and candida yeast.
Here are some studies and the effects of cinnamon:
Better for Heart: Researchers from Penn State have found that a diet rich in cinnamon and turmeric offset ill-effects of fatty meal. On two separate days, 6 men in age group of 30 and 65 were given fatty food with two teaspoons of spices added. Their post-dinner blood samples revealed that thre was an additional 13% anti-oxidant levels while triglycerides were down by 30%.
Better for Diabetics:
Scientists in collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture, found that antioxidant-rich cinnamon extract helped reduce blood sugar levels in a study on 22 obese volunteers. While one group was given a placebo, the other was given a dose of dried water-soluble cinnamon extract twice a day, along with their usual diet. Fasting blood samples collected before the study, after six weeks and after 12 weeks revealed that the cinnamon extract has reduced blood sugar levels dramatically.
Cinnamon helps to slow stomach emptying, which in turn curbs rise in blood sugar after meals, according to a study by researchers from University of Georgia. Cinnamon also prevents tissue damage and inflammation due to high levels of blood sugar that causes compounds called advanced glycation
end products, or AGEs. In the study, researchers found that antioxidant content of cinnamon can prevent AGEs from forming. It also decreases the risk of heart damage, since AGEs contribute to hardening of the arteries, that causes blood pressure and heart problems
Good for Brain Health:
While smelling cinnamon enhances cognitive processing, consuming it increases significantly brain function. Scientists at Wheeling Jesuit University asked volunteers to complete computer-based tasks while chewing plain gum or gum flavored with cinnamon, peppermint, or jasmine. Those on cinnamon
showed the best cognitive processing with speeded up visual-motor responses and improved attention scores. In another study by scientists at the Agricultural Research Service, it was found that cinnamon extract prevented brain cells from swelling that is seen after a traumatic brain injury or stroke.
Protects from Parkinson’s:
In animal research, scientists found that after ground cinnamon is ingested, it’s metabolized into a substance called sodium benzoate, which enters into the brain. In mice with Parkinson’s, the positive effects included neuron protection, normalized levels of neurotransmitters, and improved motor
functions, suggesting that it is useful in treating patients with Parkinson’s.
CINNAMON DAMAGES LIVER:
Despite all the above merits, cinnamon is harmful if overeaten. Scientis also found that of the two known varieties, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, also known as Cinnamomum verum, that is native to Sri Lanka is helpful while Cassia cinnamon from China, Vietnam or Indonesia contains coumarin, which can cause liver damage. Five years ago the European Union passed strict limitations on the amount of coumarin allowed in food.