CINNAMON TO IMPROVE BRAIN POWER
Cinnamon is an ancient spice that has been used in cooking and baking for centuries. It is made from grinding the dried inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree, which belongs to the Lauraceae family. Cinnamon is known for its warm, sweet, and aromatic flavour, and it adds a delightful depth to a wide range of dishes.
There are different types of cinnamon available, with Ceylon cinnamon (also known as “true” cinnamon) and Cassia cinnamon being the most common. Ceylon cinnamon is milder and slightly sweeter, while Cassia cinnamon has a stronger, spicier flavour. Ceylon seems to have the most antioxidant and less possible side effects.
While cinnamon have many health benefits, in this blog I would like to focus on its effects on brain health.
Cinnamon has been associated with potential brain health benefits due to its various active compounds. While research is still in its early stages, several studies have suggested that cinnamon may have positive effects on brain function and overall brain health. Here are some potential ways in which cinnamon could be beneficial for the brain:
- Antioxidant properties: Cinnamon contains potent antioxidants, such as polyphenols and flavonoids, which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals can cause oxidative stress, leading to cell damage and inflammation, which may contribute to age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Chronic inflammation in the brain can contribute to the development of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce inflammation in the brain, potentially protecting brain cells from damage.
- Improved cognitive function: Some studies have suggested that cinnamon may enhance cognitive function, including memory and attention. This effect could be related to improved blood flow to the brain and increased neuroprotective factors.
- Regulation of blood sugar levels: High blood sugar levels and insulin resistance have been linked to cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia. Cinnamon may help regulate blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity, potentially reducing the risk of cognitive decline associated with diabetes.
- Neuroprotective effects: Certain compounds found in cinnamon, such as cinnamaldehyde, have been shown to have neuroprotective properties. These compounds may help protect brain cells from damage and support overall brain health.
Recent research from Birjand University in Iran, reviewed over 2000 studies on cinnamon and after selecting the best 40, found that this spice can help us reduce cognitive decline by improving memory and learning.
There were different dosages and types of cinnamon/cinnamon phytochemicals used, but the good news is that positive results were seeing in even low doses.
WHY IS CINNAMON SO EFFECTIVE?
Firstly, because of its antioxidant properties that decrease oxidative stress. Secondly, because of its anti-neuroinflammatory effects, helping also to regulate insulin in the brain. Lastly and most importantly, cinnamon can promote BDNFs (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factors) that are responsible for neuron survival and brain plasticity.
While these potential benefits are promising, it’s important to note that the studies on cinnamon and brain health are relatively limited, and more research is needed to establish conclusive evidence. Additionally, individual responses to cinnamon may vary, and its effects on brain health may not be the same for everyone.
Incorporating cinnamon into your diet is generally safe, and it can be a flavourful addition to various dishes and beverages. However, if you have any specific health concerns or conditions, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or supplement regimen.
As with any potential health benefit, maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, and adopting a healthy lifestyle overall are crucial factors in promoting brain health and reducing the risk of cognitive decline.