Friday, 29 November 2013

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Get the Health Benefits of Cinnamon


Cinnamon (Cinnamomum velum or C. cassia) has long been considered a "wonder food" in various cultures and science has shown that its active oil components such as cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol do convery certain health benefits. While medical research is varied as to the extent of cinnamon's health benefits and the jury's still out as to whether cinnamon can truly combat disease, cinnamon does have a therapeutic role in certain ailments such as digestive troubles and minor bacterial infections or colds.



Cinnamon is best known as a spice, sprinkled on toast and lattes. But extracts from the bark of the cinnamon tree have also been used traditionally as medicine throughout the world.

Why do people take cinnamon?

Some research has found that a particular type of cinnamon, cassia cinnamon, may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. However, other studies have not found a benefit. Studies of cinnamon for lowering cholesterol and treating yeast infections in people with HIV have been inconclusive.
Lab studies have found that cinnamon may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects, and fight bacteria. But it’s unclear what the implications are for people.
For now, studies have been mixed, and it’s unclear what role cinnamon may play in improving health.
Note : See the Warnings below before using cinnamon as a health product.


Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known. It was mentioned in the Bible and was used in ancient Egypt not only as a beverage flavoring and medicine, but also as an embalming agent. It was so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold. Around this time, cinnamon also received much attention in China, which is reflected in its mention in one of the earliest books on Chinese botanical medicine, dated around 2,700 B.C. Cinnamon’s popularity continued throughout history. It became one of the most relied upon spices in Medieval Europe. Due to its demand, cinnamon became one of the first commodities traded regularly between the Near East and Europe. Ceylon cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean, while cassia is mainly produced in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

 How to Select and Store 

 How to Enjoy

 A Few Quick Serving Ideas: Enjoy one of the favorite kids’ classics – cinnamon toast - with a healthy twist. Drizzle flax seed oil onto whole wheat toast and then sprinkle with cinnamon and honey. Simmer cinnamon sticks with soymilk and honey for a deliciously warming beverage. Adding ground cinnamon to black beans to be used in burritos or nachos will give them a uniquely delicious taste. Healthy sauté lamb with eggplant, raisins and cinnamon sticks to create a Middle Eastern inspired meal. Add ground cinnamon when preparing curries.



Cinnamon is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of goitrogens, oxalates, or purines. Nutritional Profile Introduction to Food Rating System Chart The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good or good source. Next to the nutrient name you will find the following information: the amount of the nutrient that is included in the noted serving of this food; the %Daily Value (DV) that that amount represents (similar to other information presented in the website, this DV is calculated for 25-50 year old healthy woman); the nutrient density rating; and, the food's World's Healthiest Foods Rating. Underneath the chart is a table that summarizes how the ratings were devised. For more detailed information on our Food and Recipe Rating System, please go to

Cinnamon, Ground 

2.00 tsp 

11.84 calories 

Nutrient Amount DV 

(%) Nutrient 

Density World's Healthiest Foods Rating 

Manganese 0.76 mg 38.0 57.8 excellent

Dietary fiber 2.48 g 9.9 15.1 very good 

Iron 1.72 mg 9.6 14.5 very good

Calcium 55.68 mg 5.6 8.5 very good 

World's Healthiest Foods Rating Rule 

Excellent DV>=75% OR Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%

Very good DV>=50% OR Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5% 

Good DV>=25% OR Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%

For References and more information, visit:


The Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cassia cinnamon is a plant. People use the bark and flower for medicine.

Cassia cinnamon is used for many conditions, but so far science has not confirmed that it is effective for any of them. Research does show, however, that it is probably not effective for lowering blood sugar in type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

In addition to diabetes, Cassia cinnamon is used for gas (flatulence), muscle andstomach spasms, preventing nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, infections, the common cold, and loss of appetite.

How does it work?

Cassia cinnamon contains the chemical cinnamaldehyde, which might have activity against bacteria and fungi.

 Some Benefits of Cinnamon

 1.      Select and store cinnamon for the freshness. 

 Available in both stick and powder form, cinnamon should be handled with care to obtain the highest amount of potency.

·             Seal cinnamon in a tightly sealed glass container and store in a cool, dark, dry place. Use a jelly jar or canning materials for best results.

·             Ground cinnamon can be kept fresh for up to six months. Cinnamon sticks may stay fresh for up to one year.

·             Extend cinnamon’s shelf life by storing the spice in the refrigerator in a well-sealed container.

·             Smell the cinnamon to check for freshness. Make sure it has a sweet smell — a true indicator that it is fresh.

 2.      Consume between 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon a day to experience the health benefits from cinnamon. 

Depending on the reason for taking cinnamon therapeutically, some researchers believe that as little as ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon (2 to 4 grams) of ground cinnamon (either pre-ground or hand ground from a stick) provides enough of a benefit. Here are some ways to consume cinnamon:

·             Cinnamon can be baked into a dish or sprinkled on top of food.

·             Eating raw cinnamon may have a harsh taste and may be more palatable when mixed with food or drinks.

·             While mixing cinnamon in cold drinks or food provides the same health benefits as mixing it with hot dishes, cold food does not absorb the spice and may be more difficult to consume.

3.      Add cinnamon to warm drinks to reduce cold and flu effects. 

 Cinnamon’s oils and nutrient composition can reduce the symptoms of the virus.

·             Add one to two teaspoons of ground cinnamon to a steaming hot cup of green tea or cider. Add lemon juice to help combat a respiratory infection.

·             Add one to two teaspoons of ground cinnamon to your coffee before brewing. It gives the coffee a nice cinnamon flavor and is an easy way to incorporate cinnamon into your diet.

·             A dash or two of cinnamon added to soups such as lentil or black bean may add an exotic flavor, plus provide the warming goodness may bring relief to those feeling under the weather.

4. Use cinnamon as a post-meal digestive aid. 

If you experience heartburn or indigestion following a meal, cinnamon might help you as it can stimulate a weak digestive system. Try a cinnamon tea after a meal.

5. Season a high carb food with cinnamon to lower the impact it will have on blood sugar levels. 

 Research shows that cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, lowering blood sugar after eating. A study conducted at Malmo University Hospital examined how 14 subject’s stomachs emptied after eating rice pudding laced with cinnamon. Scientists concluded that the rice pudding lowered the gastric emptying rate from 37% to 34.5% and reduced blood sugar levels after eating.

·             A study published in 2009 suggests that taking/eating cinnamon twice a day for 90 consecutive days can improve blood sugar levels.

·             If you have diabetes, consult with your physician about the impact of cinnamon on your levels. Also, never substitute cinnamon for insulin.

 6. Smell cinnamon for boosted brain function. 

 According to a study authored by Dr. P. Zoladz, simply smelling cinnamon can boost cognitive processing.

·             Chewing cinnamon flavored gum or smelling fresh cinnamon has an impact on stimulating brain function.
7. Reduce heart disease and improve colon function with cinnamon. 

 Cinnamon is an excellent source of calcium and fiber. The combination of the two components binds and removes bile salts from the body--salts that have a damaging effect on the colon. When the bile is removed the body, it has to break down cholesterol to generate new bile, having a positive impact on atherosclerosis and heart disease prevention.

·             Although cinnamon tastes delightful when mixed with baked goods, skip the cookies and cakes in order to obtain the true health benefits and not counteract the impact of cinnamon on heart disease.

8. Decrease inflammation with cinnamon. 

Cinnamon can lower the release of arachidonic acid from cell membranes, which acts as an anti-inflammatory.

9. Tap into cinnamon benefits to act as an anticoagulant. 

 Cinnamaldehyde, one of cinnamon’s active oils, has been researched for its effects on blood platelets and it’s anti-clumping impact.

·             Don’t consume more than the recommended amount of cinnamon a day, especially if you have a blood disorder. High levels can lower your platelet levels, which can create uncontrollable bleeding.

·             Avoid eating cinnamon before surgery and tell your physician about any cinnamon consumption.


Side Effect:

 Cassia cinnamon is LIKELY SAFE when used in amounts commonly found in foods and in medicinal doses.

It is 
POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken in large amounts, long-term. Taking large amounts of cassia cinnamon might cause side effects in some people. Cassia cinnamon can contain large amounts of a chemical called coumarin. In people who are sensitive, coumarin might cause or worsen liver disease.

When applied to the skin, cassia cinnamon can sometimes cause skin irritation and allergic skin reactions.
Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of cassia cinnamon during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: Cassia cinnamon can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully, if you have diabetes and use cassia cinnamon in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.

Liver disease: Cassia cinnamon contains some chemicals that might harm the liver. If you have liver disease, don’t take cassia cinnamon in amounts larger than the amounts normally found in food.

Surgery: Cassia cinnamon might affect blood sugar and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking cassia cinnamon at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interaction be cautious with this combination

 Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with CASSIA CINNAMON

Cassia cinnamon might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking cassia cinnamon along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

  Medications that can harm the liver (Hepatotoxic drugs) interacts with CASSIA CINNAMON
Taking very large doses of cassia cinnamon might harm the liver, especially in people with existing liver disease. Taking large amounts of cassia cinnamon along with medications that might also harm the liver might increase the risk of liver damage. Do not take large amounts of cassia cinnamon if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver.

Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, others), phenytoin (Dilantin), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Brain Act on Money

How your Brain Act on Money?

Money has the power to stir emotions and create drama fitting for a Shakespearean play. A raise in your salary gives you joy, but misery comes if you gamble your money away. You don't mind risk taking because it paves the way to future success, but you're panic-stricken when you lose money invested in stocks.
Then there is greed, one of the seven deadly sins in early Christian writings and the subject of a painting -- "The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things" -- that depicts greed as misers being boiled in a pot of gold.

What role does your brain play in the pursuit and handling of money?

Your brain wants you to be safe and alive, so it makes you go after basic human needs like food, shelter, love and the safety of a social group, i.e., family. But when you want to make money -- which often involves risk taking and calculating probabilities -- your brain doesn't necessarily feel safe.

Our brains are cravers: chocolate, ice cream and even alcohol. The brain doesn't want to bother with futuristic, "maybe" rewards. But the wise and smart parts of our brain will say: "Hold on, wait a minute, let's reassess" before we make a decision.
This momentary, alternative thinking helps us resist making impulsive financial choices that feel good during a shopping spree, but not in the long term.

Money, Joy, and Pain

The power of choice is within us when it comes to handling money in ways that won't cause pain.
Brian Knutson, a neuroscientist, studies the brain as it relates to money. Knutson uses special MRI images in his experiments while people are handling money. One thing he's found is that when cash is offered to someone, dopamine is released in the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain that is involved in reward and addiction.
So, money can make you happy quickly. But Knutson's research -- published in Neuron in 2007 -- also showed that losing cash can cause pain.
When people were in the midst of deciding to purchase some items, the emotional parts of the brain were activated. When the product was anticipated and desired, the nucleus accumbens (involving dopamine release) was activated.
But when the thought of financial loss was entertained (because of excessive prices), a part of the brain called the insula was activated. The insula typically "lights up" in people who feel or anticipate pain.
What is fascinating is that these areas have anticipatory effects that precede the decision to purchase. Consider this thought: "If I buy this lovely yet pricey perfume bottle, what would I have to give up in the future because of the money I am about to spend and lose?" Such thinking makes you go through imaginary checks and balances, pleasures and pains, before you open your wallet to the world.
What Knutson's research means for people in practical terms is that competing parts of your brain are at play when you make purchasing decisions. There's the pleasure-seeking part, and the part that wants to avoid pain.
If you can take a moment to contemplate the pain of being part with your money, you might be less inclined to take risks or make big purchases.

Savers and Spenders

The neurology of a shopping spree tells us that the brains of people who spend frivolously are wired differently than those who hold on to that last penny. Most people get pleasure out of owning the newest iPhone or going on a Caribbean cruise.  "Hell-with-tomorrow" is in operation here.
But savers and spenders have different traits that are independent of intelligence or rationality.
If you are a saver, you are better than your spender friend is at picturing what "not saving" looks or feels like. In other words, you have a sense of yourself in the future that is different from the picture of your current self. Therefore, you are better able to see that you might regret spending your money.
This is describing by the "future self-continuity" hypothesis. In one experiment whose results published in the journal Judgment and Decision Making in June 2009, people who rated higher on the future self-continuity index had a greater lifetime accumulation of financial assets regardless of age or education.
The take-home message is "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow." Develop a sense of a future-self if you want to accumulate wealth.

Fear-Based Choices

Fear and peer pressure also play a part in how people invest their money.
During stock market crashes, for example, many investors have reacted by selling off their shares -- a reaction based on fear rather than a thought-out choice based on long-term planning.
Deep in our brain sit two amygdales, a tiny collection of cells that get activated when we're afraid. This can presumably keep you safe, giving you a momentary rush of panic that alerts you to run from an approaching tiger. However, it can also prompt you to dump your investments in a panic.
Peer pressure also plays a role. When all the investors are selling, there is peer pressure to sell—even though the decision might not be wisest. Gregory Burns, a neuroscientist, found that "standing alone" versus "conformity to the group" triggered the brain's amygdales and caudate, areas typically activated during physical or emotional pain.
Therefore, it is less painful to go along with the herd and be part of a group of investors. Humans find comfort in making group decisions rather than on-my-own type decisions.

Poorly Served By Greed

Neuroeconomics and neuromarketing are emerging and exciting fields. However, they do not explain the spirit behind deep human emotions and experiences such as exhilaration, disappointment or greed. At the end, we all know that greed and addiction serve us little, and self-reliance and honesty are assets that are honorable and worthy.
Perhaps awareness in our relationship with money can open our eyes to self-growth and wisdom. We can all take a little advice from William Shakespeare: "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."

By Dr. Maha Alattar

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