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Dr. Johanna
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Cinnamon: Is it a Superfood?

The foods we eat can help prevent or increase our risk of disease, as noted by a 2015  Harvard School of Public Health study. The findings, published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, showed that consuming a high-meat and processed food diet upped the risk of prostate-related cancer mortality. Another study published in the same year by scientists at the University of Arizona, meanwhile, showed that the compound that gives cinnamon its distinctive flavor could possibly help prevent colorectal cancer (as demonstrated in lab studies). In this post, we hone in on the third most-consumed spice in the world, reviewing recent studies in an attempt to elicit its possible role in cancer prevention or treatment.

Cinnamon and Colorectal Cancer

In the University of Arizona study, scientists added cinnamaldehyde (the fragrant, flavorful component of cinnamon) to the diet of mice, finding that this ingredient protected them against colorectal cancer. The researchers noted that the finding is significant, because of the quick progression of this type of cancer. They added that further research was required to ascertain whether or not cinnamon (and not just cinnamaldehyde) had the same effects. If it does, it can undoubtedly form an excellent complement to other cancer-busting foods such as baked apple, grapes, and dishes containing turmeric – all of which are known to thwart the development of prostate cancer. Cinnamon can also make an addition to beverages such as brewed coffee. A question we have been asked is whether or not coffee is recommended for cancer patients, please visit our FAQ page for the answer.

Cinnamon and Cervical Cancer

Another study published in BMC Cancer found that cinnamon extract can play an important role in keeping cervical cancer at bay. This extract was shown to induce the death of cervical cancer cells, hindering their ability to grow. Researchers noted that cinnamon could, therefore, be part of a chemopreventive lifestyle. It is already one of the most widely used herbal medicines and as noted in Phytochemicals, powerful phytochemicals in cinnamon such as catechin, quercetin, and isorhamnetin may not only lower the risk of cancer but also boost heart health and reduce complications caused by diabetes.

Cinnamon a Great All-Rounder

In addition to helping stave off specific types of cancer, cinnamon is a true superfood, boasting a wide array of benefits. These include the potential for improved learning ability, improved metabolic health, and a general improvement in overall health. In specific studies, cinnamon has been found to potentially reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It has also been found to reduce the body’s negative responses to high-fat meals. 

Cinnamon is a wonderful spice to add to your life if better health is a goal. It has anti-inflammatory effects, and the ability to boost brain function and even aid in weight loss. To enjoy its goodness regularly, sprinkle it over your morning cappuccino, or over freshly sliced apples. This fragrant spice can be used as much over savory as sweet dishes, so feel free to experiment with different recipes.

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