5 Health Benefits Of Cinnamon That Might Just Make The Stuff Better Than Pumpkin Spice

My favorite way to eat cinnamon is, frankly, any way. While I love pumpkin spice as much as anyone, cinnamon holds a special place in my heart because it tastes fantastic in sweet treats like coffee cake and in savory foods like a comforting curry. TBH, I would probably eat cinnamon even if it were unhealthy, but thankfully, the stuff is actually amazing for your body. With these five health benefits of cinnamon and an infinite amount of taste benefits, you might just fall in love with this fall flavor the way that I have — that is, if it isn't already one of your go-to autumn spices.

There's no need to eat mountains of the stuff if you don't want to, though. According to Mike Roussell, Ph.D., co-founder of Neuro Coffee, a small serving is plenty to get your body all of the health-boosting goodness. "Around one tablespoon of cinnamon is the amount you need," he tells Elite Daily over email. "Some studies have worked with less, but with a dose of one tablespoon you are hedging your bets toward an effective dose."

But, as tempting as it might be after seeing those cinnamon challenge videos, never take the stuff as a shot, cautions Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, as she tells Elite Daily over email that it's a definite choking hazard. Instead, you're better off adding the spice to a tasty dish or stirring it into a hot tea for the perfect, healthy, fall evening.

Cinnamon reduces your blood sugar

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"Cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood sugar following a meal," Dr. Roussell says. By making your body less sensitive to insulin, he explains, the fall spice helps you regulate blood sugar, which could in turn affect a whole host of things — even your mood. That's some pretty powerful stuff from just a little bit of spice, if you ask me.

It protects your brain

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Your favorite apple spice muffins could actually be helping your brain stay healthy and strong, thanks to the power of cinnamon. According to Moreno, the ingredient can go a long way to prevent something called neurodegeneration, which refers to brain diseases like Alzheimer's, dementia, and Parkinson's.

The spice gives your heart a healthy boost

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In a study of 60 people with type 2 diabetes, published in the medical journal Diabetes Care, researchers found that as little as one gram of cinnamon per day can significantly lower your LDL cholesterol levels (that's the "bad" kind of cholesterol) without hurting HDL (aka the "good" cholesterol) levels.

To keep your heart pumping at its strongest, Moreno suggests adding cinnamon to your everyday routine. "I recommend a dash here and a dash there," she tells Elite Daily, "sprinkling it on food or in tea or coffee, cooking with it, etc."

It also keeps inflammation to a minimum

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"All spices have anti-inflammatory benefits, and most are antimicrobial," explains Moreno. This means that they fight against microorganisms that are potentially harmful to your body, she says.

What's more, research published in the journal Food & Function found Sri Lankan cinnamon to be one of the most anti-inflammatory foods of a total of 115 foods tested in the study. Dang, you go, cinnamon.

Cinnamon apparently fights fungal infections, too

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Have you ever tried a cinnamon-flavored toothpaste? I know that probably sounds super weird, but according to Moreno, the spice can help keep your teeth clean, thanks to the fact that it can play a role in fighting fungal infections in the body. One study, published in the journal Acta BioMedica, found cinnamon oil to be effective in fighting all 10 of the bacterial species involved in tooth decay.

So what I'm going to take away from this is that you're basically brushing your teeth when you're drinking cinnamon tea. As if I needed another excuse to load up on cinnamon.