These days, you can’t assume that you can get by and live the healthiest possible lifestyle through exercise alone. While there really is no doubting the efficacy of exercise in terms of developing, strengthening and reinforcing the body, it alone can be limited in terms of impact. After all, while the human body can be strengthened in many ways, what it consumes should also be watched closely. This is an increasingly toxic world, and we as a society have grown quite used to unhealthy eating that fills our bodies with unhelpful ingredients that don’t contribute to its proper growth – and indeed can diminish its proper functioning.
It thus makes perfect sense to refocus our attention on the kinds of food that can give our bodies what they need in terms of proper nutrition. Certain types of food have come to enjoy newfound popularity because people are now becoming much more aware of what they have to offer – certain spices, for instance, are no longer just there to add flavor, but are now recognized for being able to help recover more quickly from certain maladies, help reduce pain and discomfort, and help prevent other health issues from even rearing their ugly heads.
More and more people are becoming aware of what these various spices bring to the proverbial table. Consider ginger, for instance, and even turmeric. Both of these are flavorful ingredients, for sure, with turmeric even being the signature yellow curry spice. But both of these sport powerful anti-inflammatory properties, with turmeric even being an excellent contributor in the fight against inflammation brought on by various arthritic maladies.
While turmeric certainly has the spotlight these days, there are, of course, other spices with great health benefits. Cinnamon, for instance, is a spice everyone is familiar with. Sure, it’s easy to use in recipes and a great choice thanks to how it adds a signature sweet flavor and rich warming quality to any dish – particularly hot drinks – it’s part of. With its atypical scent and flavor, it’s endeared itself to kitchens everywhere, but that’s not all it’s good for by a long shot. It’s also long been a medicinal herb in many cultures, thanks to its widely known health benefits. Researchers even posit that cinnamon is at the top of the list of herbs in terms of antioxidant properties, which is really saying something.
The distinctive, familiar color and aroma of cinnamon bark are due to the oily properties of the tree it comes from, and so are the health-giving properties of the spice. The Cinnamomum tree bark contains numerous compounds that are now known to promote health, including cinnamate, cinnamic acid, and cinnamaldehyde. The bark that gives us the cinnamon spice we know is one of the ways we can obtain the benefits of these nutrients as well, but the health benefits of cinnamon can also be obtained through cinnamon essential oil, ground cinnamon bark spice powder, and in extract form that isolates cinnamon’s flavonoids, antioxidants and phenolic compounds. All of these combine to make cinnamon one of the most potent spices, able to give immunity-boosting, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
In fact, one tablespoon of ground cinnamon contains no grams from fat, protein or sugar, but has 4g of fiber, and 19 calories. This tablespoon is 8% calcium, 68% manganese, 3% vitamin K and 4% iron. One full serving (28g) contains a multitude of useful nutrients in good amounts, from minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc and copper, to vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamins A, C, E and K, to amino acids like glycine, proline, serine, lysine, and tryptophan. In fact, as far as expected daily values, cinnamon provides over twice as much manganese as you ordinarily need on a daily basis, and 28% of the calcium and 13% iron.
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