10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon & 5 Delicious Ways to use it in Your Coffee
It’s delicious in baked goods, lattes, even chili.
It adds an amazingly pleasant aroma to your home when simmering in a potpourri of apples and orange rinds in a pot on your stovetop.
But, it also contains potent medicinal properties, able to fight infection and disease, benefit the health of your heart, lower blood sugar levels, and more.
What is it? Cinnamon!
Cinnamon has been used medicinally for centuries, and now science has caught up to its use in natural medicine, confirming through research the wonderful, powerful health benefits of this delicious spice.
Here we’ll outline those benefits then leave you with some ways to enjoy cinnamon in your coffee, compounding the benefits of your Lifeboost brew with the addition of this yummy spice!
But first, let’s explore a bit more about this ancient wonder…
Barking up the Cinnamon Tree
Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree.
There are actually two types of Cinnamomum trees that we get cinnamon from: the Cinnamomum cassia tree and the Cinnamomum verum tree.
Cassia cinnamon is also known as Chinese cinnamon, having originated in southern China.
This type of cinnamon is generally considered low quality. It is dark brown-red in color and costs very little to make.
The fact that this variety is so inexpensive, combined with its spicy flavor from its high cinnamaldehyde oil content, contributes to why this type of cinnamon is most commonly used worldwide. Generally, this is the variety you’ll find on your local supermarket shelves.
Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka and southern India.
This variety of cinnamon is also known as true cinnamon.
Ceylon cinnamon is tan-brown in color, and in stick form it is desirable for both texture and quality.
Though less common and more expensive, this variety of cinnamon is widely known for its mildly sweet flavor, containing 45-50% less cinnamaldehyde oil than cassia cinnamon.
Both varieties are made by cutting down the stems of the trees. Then the wood parts of the stem are removed, and as the inner layer is extracted, it is dried into strips which curl up into rolls.
The rolled cinnamon sticks can then be ground into a powder, which most folks are familiar with, commonly seeing it on store shelves and using it in recipes.
When it comes to health benefits, most agree ceylon cinnamon reigns supreme.
This is due to the fact that cassia cinnamon contains a plant compound called coumarin.
And, coumarin can be toxic when consumed in large doses.
By comparison, ceylon cinnamon contains 250 times less coumarin than cassia.
But, studies have shown both varieties boast health benefits, even when consuming as little as 1-6 grams per day, which equals less than 1 teaspoon. (one teaspoon is equivalent to approximately 6 grams)
In the list below, you’ll find the science-backed health benefits of both cassia and ceylon cinnamon, but as the tolerable daily intake level of coumarin is now said to be .05 mg/lb, even 1-2 teaspoons of cassia cinnamon consumed each day could have potentially toxic effects.
This both warrants both the exercise of caution when using cassia cinnamon and a prompt to choose ceylon cinnamon for the best benefits.
Powerful Health Benefits of Cinnamon
1- Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Cinnamaldehyde is an antioxidant compound found in cinnamon, and this not only gives the spice its pleasant taste and aroma, but also helps to decrease inflammation in the body.
Chronic inflammation is often the root cause of numerous diseases and health concerns as it essentially prompts the immune system to attack your own body’s tissues.
This is why inflammation reduction is linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.
The inflammation fighting power of cinnamon has even been found to be helpful in pain management as it can reduce swelling (an effect of inflammation).
2- Antioxidant Power
Antioxidants are known to reduce oxidative damage caused within the body by free radicals. This damage makes you age and contributes to multiple diseases.
Research suggests there are at least 41 antioxidant compounds in cinnamon!
Polyphenols, phenolic acid, and flavonoids are a few of the types of antioxidants found in this spice.
And, while antioxidants offer a wide, or broad, range of benefits, specifically they aid in lowering your risk of heart disease, brain disorders, and cancer.
These benefits are thought to stem from cinnamon’s ability to limit the build up of nitric oxide within the body which can also prevent fat peroxidation, both of which contribute to disease.
3- Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
We’ve danced around this benefit in the two points above, but now let’s delve into the details.
Research shows cinnamon is capable of reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol while keeping good (HDL) cholesterol levels stable, with one review finding less than ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon to possess these benefits.
Animal studies have proven this spice to reduce blood pressure levels.
And, cinnamon is also known to improve circulation, aid in tissue repair, help your body form blood clots, and prevent excessive bleeding, all of which can improve the health of your heart and aid in the overall prevention of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
4- Cancer Prevention
Some scientists believe the cinnamaldehyde content of cinnamon to possess antitumor and anticancer properties, protecting against DNA damage, even killing cancer cells entirely.
In animal studies, cinnamon has been found to lower levels of oxidative stress in melanoma cells of mice.
These combined with both the antioxidant compounds and anti inflammatory properties of cinnamon make it a potentially powerful cancer fighter.
5- Fights Against Diabetes
Cinnamon is often labeled as one of the best foods for diabetics.
It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, and it can lower the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream after you eat a meal as it interferes with digestive enzymes, slowing the breakdown of carbs in your digestive tract.
Specific compounds found in cinnamon can also mimic insulin, improving glucose uptake by your cells.
6- Boosts Oral Health
Research suggests cinnamon may protect against strains of bacteria within the mouth known to cause bad breath, infection, tooth decay, and cavities.
This is why you may find healthy chewing gum options containing cinnamon oil, its pleasant taste and bacterial odor eliminating properties making this spice a great natural gum additive.
Cinnamon has also been used as a powder to treat toothaches and mouth sores.
7- Multiple Sclerosis Prevention
Studies show cinnamon may protect regulatory T cells (Tregs), tasked with regulating immune responses.
Those individuals with MS tend to have lower Treg cell levels.
In animal studies, cinnamon was observed to prevent the loss of Treg cell proteins.
And, the spice was found to be effective at restoring myelin levels in mice with MS.
Since MS occurs as the myelin coating on nerve cells is damaged, these findings are promising in regards to prompting continued research surrounding the effects of cinnamon on MS.
8- Infection Fighting Power
Cinnamon contains a wealth of immune boosting powers, all known to help your body fight against infections.
Containing antimicrobial, antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal properties, cinnamon is often used to effectively treat and prevent bacterial and viral infections including the common cold, pneumonia, and strep throat.
Cinnamon oil has been used in the treatment of respiratory infections caused by fungi.
And, its antifungal properties can also treat and inhibit the growth of candida within the gut, associated with digestive and autoimmune disorders.
It can even treat the growth of harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria.
9- Allergy Aid
Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties may also aid in providing relief for allergy sufferers as animal studies have found it to block histamine reactions.
Even skin irritations, rashes, and reactions from allergens have benefited from the use of cinnamon essential oils, providing relief from redness, pain, and inflammation.
10- Inhibits Cognitive Decline
Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are characterized by a progressive decline in the function and structure of brain cells.
But, research suggests cinnamon may be able to prevent the build up of a protein in the brain linked to such diseases.
And, in animal studies, cinnamon has been shown to lower the risk of inflammation and cell damage while protecting neurons against oxidative stress, all of which contribute to cognitive decline.
While human studies still need to be done to confirm these findings, the benefits of cinnamon to the health of the brain are promising.
How to Gain The Benefits of Cinnamon Through Daily use in Your Coffee
Now let’s put those healthy benefits to practice, using this deliciously tasty and pleasantly scented spice in your daily cup of joe!
Give any of these five recipes a try, and let us know which one you love the most!
1- Non Dairy Cinnamon Roll Creamer
Make this to store in your refrigerator (for up to two weeks) and use in your daily cup of coffee.
I’d recommend using it in any of our classic roasts: light, medium, or dark, as well as any of our cinnamon infused flavored selections to really highlight their spice notes: Cinnamon Cappuccino, Maple Cinnamon French Toast, Cinnamon Blueberry Crumble, Cinnamon Apple Streusel, Frosted Cinnamon Roll, Frosted Carrot Cake, even our Pumpkin Spice, Eggnog Latte, and Gingerbread Latte coffees.
I can personally attest that this creamer is phenomenal in our light roast and Cinnamon Cappuccino coffees when cold brewed. Just a bit of ice, an extra dash of cinnamon on top, and it’s heaven in a cup!!
*You can use any dairy-free milk of your choice in place of the canned coconut milk here. Though the overall consistency (mainly the thickness) of the creamer will vary depending on your choice here. Oat milk is a very creamy option.
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons organic cane sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons ceylon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add all ingredients, minus the vanilla, to a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer over medium heat, stirring continually until the sugar is completely dissolved and all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Once the mixture reaches a simmer, turn the heat to low and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
- Add vanilla to the cooked mixture, stir to combine, then remove from heat.
- Allow the mixture to cool completely, then add to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use in your hot or iced coffee.
2- Frothy Cinnamon Coffee
This delicious recipe is easily customizable as you can feel free to substitute the topping of your choice in place of the unsweetened cocoa powder.
An extra bit of cinnamon dashed on top is delicious, and you can also get creative and drizzle a bit of honey, real maple syrup, or even dash a bit of ground nutmeg or cloves for some holiday flavor flare.
*This is meant to be free of sweeteners, natural or otherwise, but if you prefer some sweetness in your brew, feel free to add a bit of stevia, cane sugar, or a teaspoon of pure maple syrup.
- 6 ounces strongly brewed Lifeboost Dark Roast Coffee
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 ounces whole milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
- ¼ teaspoon sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
- Brew coffee into your favorite mug and set aside. (You can sweeten your coffee with your preferred sweetener if you’d like.)
- Add milk and ground cinnamon to a medium saucepan and heat just until hot, do not boil. Add vanilla and stir when finished heating.
- Add cinnamon milk mixture to an electric frother or use a hand frother and froth to desired texture.
- Add frothed cinnamon milk to your mug of hot coffee. Top with a dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder, garnish with a stick of cinnamon, and enjoy!
3- Maple-Cinnamon Iced Coffee
If you prefer your coffee cold, on ice, you’ll love this cinnamon coffee treat!
This one is super simple and easily incorporates healthy cinnamon to enjoy in your delicious and healthy Lifeboost coffee!
*Feel free to use any of our classic roasts here in place of the Cinnamon Cappuccino flavored coffee, but if you’re a cinnamon fan, you’ll love this as-is.
- 8 ounces cold brewed Lifeboost Cinnamon Cappuccino Coffee
- ½ teaspoon ground ceylon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon maple extract
- 2 teaspoons real maple syrup
- ¼ cup half and half
- Whipped cream, for topping
- Add ice to a tall glass. Pour in cold brew, then add cinnamon, maple extract, and maple syrup.
- Stir to combine, then pour in half and half and stir once again.
- Top with whipped cream and a dusting of ground cinnamon. Enjoy!
4-Healthy Cinnamon Coffee Smoothie
If you’d like to try a less conventional cinnamon coffee recipe, this one’s for you.
Enjoying coffee in a delicious smoothie can provide you with nearly endless breakfast, lunch, and snack options. Perfect for your morning commute, a pre or post workout snack, or just a tasty treat any time of day!
Even better, this treat is vegan and gluten free!
If you prefer a stronger coffee flavor in your smoothie, opt for using the espresso in this recipe.
Ingredients - Serves 2
- 4 ounces cold brewed Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee or 1-2 ounces Lifeboost Espresso Coffee
- 1 banana, frozen and sliced
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 date, chopped
- 4 ice cubes
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add more almond milk as needed for desired thickness.
- Divide between two glasses, and enjoy!
5- Honey Cinnamon Coffee
This recipe is great hot or iced.
Simply serve over ice or substitute 8 ounces of cold brewed coffee here in place of the espresso to transform your hot honey cinnamon brew into a chilly treat!
Also, we chose to incorporate rice milk here to give the delicious flavor of a horchata infused with espresso. But, you can also use this with any milk of your choosing.
- 2 ounces Lifeboost Espresso Coffee or 8 ounces Lifeboost Light Roast Coffee
- ¼ cup rice milk
- ¾ cup water
- ¾ cup honey
- 3-5 sticks of cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- To make a honey-cinnamon simple syrup, add water, honey, and cinnamon sticks to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring until the honey is completely dissolved.
- Allow the mixture to reach a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla.
- Allow the simple syrup to cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Brew espresso or 8 ounces of coffee.
- Stir rice milk into the coffee, then add desired amount of honey-cinnamon syrup, stir to combine. Enjoy!
*To enjoy chilled, simply chill your pulled espresso shots, or use cold brewed coffee. Add ice, coffee, rice milk, and simple syrup to a glass, and stir to combine.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Charles Livingston nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
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