Honey and cinnamon are two ingredients that taste awesome together, and can really add to some pretty amazing foods. Think of granola, a moist spice bread or even a spread for toast in the morning alongside a cup of apple cider. The thought of these things just warms the soul.
What if we told you that honey and cinnamon are not just delicious together, but the combination provides amazing benefits to your health as well?
It’s true. For thousands of years, people have used these two ingredients to cure several health ailments. In fact traditional Chinese medicine practices used cinnamon as a way to correct temperature imbalances caused by sickness or infection. Honey has been seen my TCM as a way to dispel pathogenic heat, clear away toxins, relieve pain and combat dehydration, among other things.
To better understand what makes these two so special, let’s discuss the two separately
How it’s made:
Honey isn’t just that thing that we buy in a bear or hive-shaped container. It actually comes from an amazing process that gives it its healing properties.
Worker bees collect nectar from the very healthiest flowers, then fill a sac in their stomachs with that nectar and bring it back to the hive. At the hive, another worker bee ingests that nectar, and the enzymes inside its body break down the sugars. The digested nectar is then placed in the segments of the honeycomb. The digested nectar is then turned into the delicious, sticky honey we love after the bees gather together and flap their wings, evaporating all the water away.
What it contains/health benefits?
1. Simple carbohydrates for quick energy
While you generally want to get your carbs in the form of complex carbohydrates so you have sustained energy, there are times when simple carbs, particularly healthy ones like those contained in honey, are important. Take for example when you need a quick burst for a race you’re running, or if you’re low on energy at work, and need a pick-me up that isn’t in the form of a candy bar of energy drink.
Honey offers simple carbohydrates in the form or natural sugars derived from plants that is quickly digestible, providing energy ready to use when you need it.
2. Plant compounds full of antioxidants
Due to the fact that bees get the nectar from plants, naturally many of the antioxidants that are in those plants seep into the nectar, and eventually to the honey. Antioxidants are key in ridding the body of free radicals that damage cells and can lead to diseases throughout the body, including cancer.
Antioxidants have also been linked to reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer, as well as eye health, according to research. And if you want your honey to contain more antioxidants, and therefore more illness-fighting capabilities, scientists say that the darker the better.
3. Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve coughs
Honey has long been used as a cough remedy, and due to this, is a main ingredient in many cough drops. Doctors (and your grandma) may even prescribe honey mixed with warm lemon juice when faced with a sore throat or cough.
As it turns out, honey may actually be the only ingredient needed due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact a study published in the Journal of Family Practice found that buckwheat honey reduced cough severity and sleep in children — and consequently, their parents.
What it is/health benefits
Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum, and is used to spice up anything from cookies, to cakes, and even spaghetti sauce. Oh, and who can forget cinnamon rolls?
This popular spice has many benefits including the following:
1. Polyphenols to keep blood sugar and energy levels stable
While cinnamon may not give you the energy boost like honey does, its polyphenol antioxidants can help to stabilize your energy levels, also preventing the sugar spike-turned crash that happens after consuming sugary products — yes, even honey.
And because of its ability to stabilize blood sugar, this makes cinnamon a good option for individuals with type 2 diabetes. In fact, a meta-analysis of several studies on the subject found that cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose.
2. Antioxidants for disease prevention
Much like honey, cinnamon has those all-important antioxidants that free the body of free radicals. Cinnamon specifically has polyphenols, and it is these powerful antioxidants that caused it to come out on top against 26 spices in a study conducted at the The University of Hong Kong. In the study, cinnamon even beat out “superfoods” like garlic and oregano.
3. Anti Inflammatory properties that also aid in disease prevention
Inflammation has many times over been linked to the cause and even sustainability of many diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, tuberculosis, periodontitis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and sinusitis, among others. Cinnamon has been found to have anti inflammatory properties that help prevent diseases like these.
4. Cinnamaldehyde to help fight bacterial and fungal infections
“A spoonful of cinnamon helps the infections go down” — sung to your favorite Mary Poppins tune. While this may not be entirely true, nor recommended (as seen by the recent cinnamon challenge), cinnamaldehyde, one of the main active components of cinnamon, may help fight various kinds of infection.
Cinnamon oil, specifically, has been shown to positively treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi, and and can also slow or entirely stop the growth of certain bacterium, like Listeria and Salmonella.
Together, honey and cinnamon are unstoppable
Now that you know the amazing properties and capabilities of honey and cinnamon separately, mixing the two — even daily — could very well lead to some great things. You’ll be an energetic person (tastefully) eating her way to a healthful life.