Cinnamon has long been used for not only making food taste better, but also for home remedies and medicinal purposes. And while there's not much large-scale, strongly-supported clinical evidence that confirms the health benefits of the spice, many small studies suggest that it does come with some perks.
Clocking in at only six calories per teaspoon, cinnamon is an excellent guilt-free addition to many dishes and drinks. That's why the delightfully flexible spice is a featured ingredient in so many healthy recipes — especially desserts — because it works well as a sugar substitute and also as a spicy flavor booster. Bonus: It's also high in antioxidants.
As is the case with many foods, more research is needed to know for sure how cinnamon benefits our health. Until then, here are four ways a dose of cinnamon might be worth it — besides the fact that it's delicious, of course.
Control Blood Sugar Levels
Even though some studies suggest cinnamon can be used to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes, the research is too small and conflicting to state it as fact, according to the American Diabetes Association. That said, even though more evidence is needed to support this idea, the association does acknowledge that the spice may be a promising supplement for those with type 2 diabetes.
Thanks to the antibacterial effects of bioactive phytochemicals, cinnamon could help clear breakouts, according to a 2015 review of studies. You can create a simple pimple-fighting topical face mask by combining 2 tsp. of raw, organic honey (another antibacterial treat) and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Apply to your face for about ten minutes and then rinse gently with a washcloth and warm water.
Promote Younger-Looking Skin
In a 2013 study, researchers found evidence that cinnamon extract "significantly promotes type I collagen biosynthesis within dermal fibroblasts." In other words, it can help with wrinkles and aging skin. Yes, please! Try this yummy cinnamon paste mask recipe to keep your skin feeling fresh.
Oh, the power of smell! A research team at Wheeling Jesuit University found that chewing cinnamon gum during a test "improved participants' scores on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed." While the study was small, it's worth trying — especially if you've got a big project in the works that needs your full attention.
Just a Note About Dosage...
Even though cinnamon can be healthy for you, it's important not to go overboard. Small doses are generally safe — Cleveland Clinic recommends adding about 1/4 to 1 tsp. to food per day.