The Incredible Health Benefits of Cinnamon

By Nutritious Life Editors

Q: I’ve heard a lot about the health benefits of cinnamon, including that it may help me lose weight. Is it true?

A: Great question, and it’s definitely no surprise you’ve heard this. Cinnamon has been used medicinally for centuries and the health benefits of cinnamon are becoming even more celebrated as research uncovers exactly why this sultry spice is such a superstar.

First of all, let’s look at some background: If you’ve ever been served apple cider with a cinnamon stick in it, you know that cinnamon comes from the bark of a plant. The truest form is called ceylon, which has a fragile bark, but most of the cinnamon you find on the spice shelves comes from the cassia cinnamon family. Cassia has a sturdier bark that can be finely ground into a powder to shake, measure, and stir into almost anything. 

Cassia cinnamon is the type most commonly used in the U.S. and is also the most commonly researched. It’s also the variety you’re likely to find and buy at the supermarket, so it’s the one we’ll focus on here.

health benefits of cinnamon

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a great source of fiber, manganese, and calcium. Its research-tested benefits are diverse, but these are the big ones:

Antioxidants: Cinnamon has been shown to act as a powerful antioxidant. In fact, it beat out more than two dozen other foods in terms of antioxidant capacity in one study.

Anti-inflammatory: Inflammation is associated with a wide range of health issues, from skin conditions to autoimmune diseases and cancer, and studies have isolated multiple flavonoid compounds in cinnamon that have anti-inflammatory activities.

Brain Benefits: Eating cinnamon increases neurotrophic factors, which keep existing neurons in your brain alive and encourage new ones to grow. This may delay the progression of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It’s also been found to decrease responses to stress, so you can stay focused and alert.

RELATED: Brain Food: Intro to Nutritional Psychiatry 

Blood Sugar and Weight Loss: While studies are not conclusive, cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar levels by decreasing insulin resistance, a possible benefit for all of us, but especially those with diabetes. If you have to watch your blood sugar, it may be wise to add more cinnamon to your diet. Research shows that cinnamon can help slow blood sugar levels when eaten with carbs. It may also lower levels of bad fats and cholesterol in the blood. Important: there’s no established research on a direct link to weight loss, but all of its potential benefits—like curbing inflammation and balancing blood sugar—can contribute to helping you achieve a healthy weight.

May Fight Infection: Cinnamaldehyde, a component of cinnamon that gives it its flavor and smell, has been shown to have antimicrobial, and antifungal properties, which may help fight certain infections.

health benefits of cinnamon

How to Reap the Health Benefits of Cinnamon

The bottom line? A healthy sprinkle of cinnamon in your morning oatmeal, yogurt, or over some butternut squash will add a nutritious kick, and can be a great way to replace added sugars for flavor.

As with anything, be careful not to go overboard. If ingested in excess, cassia cinnamon, which is a rich source of coumarin, can actually be toxic. People with liver damage, in particular, should be careful, as large amounts may actually increase liver problems. The tolerable daily intake (TDI) for cassia cinnamon is 0.1mg/kg of body weight (0.05mg/lb). This equates to less than teaspoon of cassia cinnamon per day. (In other words, when using cassia cinnamon, think “sprinkle,” not “scoop.”)

One last thought: the cinnamon coating on a gigantic cinnamon roll does not make it healthy! There’s no miracle remedy when it comes to weight loss, only small, meaningful steps (or sprinkles) towards change. 

BONUS TIP: Eating cinnamon isn’t the only way to experience its benefits. For a bit of aromatherapy, try placing a cinnamon stick in a pot of boiling water on low heat. It will be great for your health and your home will smell amazing.

Take Your Learning a Step Further

If you love learning all about the nutritional impact of foods, maybe it’s time to consider becoming a Nutrition Coach. Our Master Certified program gives you everything you need to turn your interest and passion for nutrition and wellness into a full-time job or a part-time side hustle. Request a test drive of our Become a Nutrition Coach course today—we’d love to welcome you into the community. 

Photo Credits: 1: Jennifer Pallian via Unsplash, 2: Travis Hezel via, 3: Jakob Kapusnak via Foodie’s Feed

About Nutritious Life Editors
The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.

Interested in joining our wellness community and becoming a Nutritious Life Master Certified Nutrition and Wellness Coach?

Enter your info, get free access now to a sample class!

Inside Articles page - take a free class form

"*" indicates required fields

I agree*
I would like to receive text messages, and agree to the Terms of Service & Privacy Policy. Reply STOP to cancel, HELP for help. Msg & data rates may apply. Msg frequency varies.