We've mentioned our love for cinnamon in coffee, but this spice is good for so much more than just spicing up the morning Joe. It could also have some huge health benefits, from helping treat diabetes to fighting inflammation, killing bacteria, and a whole lot more .
Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice — The Need-to-Know
Cinnamon comes from trees grown throughout Asia and can pack in tons of flavor to a wide variety of sweet or savory dishes without adding too many calories. A whole tablespoon (eek — our mouths go dry just thinking about it!) has only 19 calories. Surprisingly, cinnamon even offers some fiber, though probably not enough to really count. But cinnamon does more than just make food taste awesome.
One study found a topical ointment with cinnamon and ginger (among other natural ingredients) helped relieve patients of some types of arthritis pain . Another study found a different herb mixture also containing cinnamon was even shown to help fight the flu . And cinnamon could just be the answer to all things hygiene, too — cinnamon mouthwash could help fight oral bacteria, while a cinnamon face mask might boost collagen in aging skin, no Botox required  !
But when it comes to some more serious matters, like the potential treatment or prevention of diabetes, the debate is more varied  While docs don't yet recommend spicing it up as a cure-all for diabetes , some studies show cinnamon could help keep blood sugar steady and alleviate symptoms of diabetes and pre-diabetes   .
Cinnamon Roll With It — Your Action Plan
Okay, so cinnamon doesn't exactly count as medicine yet, but that's not stopping us from working it into as many recipes as possible. It's obviously good in sweets (oh heyyyy, pumpkin pie), but it works well in savory dishes, too. Its naturally sweet-ish flavor also makes it a fantastic substitute for sugar in coffee, yogurt, popcorn, and just about anything else.
Any cook who wants to sound savvy should know there are actually two types of cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is also known as "true" cinnamon, while cassia cinnamon (aka Vietnamese, Chinese, or Indonesian cinnamon), is the type most Americans are used to seeing on grocery store shelves. While they're pretty similar in terms of nutrition and taste, some studies suggest cassia cinnamon may sometimes contain higher levels of the phytochemical coumarin, which could possibly cause liver damage in those who eat a very, very, very large quantity of cinnamon . And obviously, cinnamon is available in both sticks or ground. Sticks can be used for mulling or can be freshly ground for any recipe, while ground cinnamon is an easy alternative to grinding at home.