Healthy Reasons to Love Cinnamon

Healthy Reasons to Love Cinnamon

Cinnamon has long been used for not only making food taste better, but also for home remedies and medicinal purposes. And while there’s not much strongly supported clinical evidence that confirms the health benefits of the spice, many small studies suggest that it does come with some perks.

Clocking in at only six calories per teaspoon, cinnamon is an excellent guilt-free addition to many dishes and drinks. That’s why the delightfully flexible spice is a featured ingredient in so many healthy recipes — especially desserts. It can add spicy flavor without relying on tons of sugar, and it’s high in antioxidants.

1. It may boost memory.

Oh, the power of smell! A research team at Wheeling Jesuit University found that chewing cinnamon gum during a test “improved participants’ scores on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed.” While the study was small, it’s worth a shot — especially if you’ve got a big project in the works that needs your full attention.

2. It may lower blood sugar.

Even though some studies suggest cinnamon may lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes, the research is too small and conflicting to state it as fact, according to the American Diabetes Association. That said, the association does acknowledge that the spice may be a promising supplement for those with the disease.

3. It promotes younger-looking skin.

In a study, researchers found evidence that cinnamon extract “significantly promotes type I collagen biosynthesis within dermal fibroblasts.” In other words, it can help with wrinkles and aging skin. Yes, please! Try this yummy cinnamon paste mask recipe to keep your skin feeling fresh.

4. It can help clear acne.

Thanks to the antibacterial effects of bioactive phytochemicals, cinnamon could help clear breakouts, according to a review of studies. You can create a simple pimple-fighting topical face mask by combining 2 teaspoons of raw, organic honey (another antibacterial treat), and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Apply to your face for about ten minutes and then rinse gently with a washcloth and warm water.

Also linked to clearer skin: Reducing the amount of foods you eat with added sugar, says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Top culprits include sweetened beverages, cereals, crackers, breakfast bars, pastries, and condiments.

As is the case with many foods, more research is needed to know for sure how cinnamon benefits our health. Until then, here are four ways a dose of cinnamon (the Cleveland Clinic recommends about 1/4 to 1 teaspoon per day) might be worth it — besides the fact that it’s delicious, of course.