Dalchini a.k.a cinnamon is one of the spices used for making garam masala and is commonly used in different cuisines. It has a warm aromatic flavour that adds a distinct punch and cuts through sweetness to balance the dish.
Not many are aware that dalchini is actually made from the inner bark of the Cinnamonum tree. It is cut into strips, rolled and dried, and sold as cinnamon sticks. In India, dalchini is cultivated in Kerala and recently in Himachal Pradesh too. But, a large quantity is imported from Vietnam, China, and Sri Lanka.
Dalchini is not just a flavour enhancer. According to various studies, cinnamon is known to have various health benefits too. It consists of essential oil and derivatives like cinnamaldehyde ( 65-85%), eugenol ( 5-10%), cinnamic acid, cinnamate and 80 such compounds. These essential oils have numerous medicinal properties which makes cinnamon a superfood.
Let us take a look at some of the evidence-based health benefits of incorporating dalchini into your daily meal.
Benefits of Dalchini ( Cinnamon)
According to studies, the essential oils cinnamaldehyde and eugenol found in dalchini have antioxidant properties because of their ability to donate hydrogen. Thus it captures free radicals in the body to protect cells and reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases. In fact, the antioxidant property exhibited by cinnamon far exceeds that of other spices like ginger, anise, mint, nutmeg, vanilla etc.
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Alleviates Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver
Non-alcoholic fatty liver ( NAFL) is caused by the consumption of excess calories or health conditions like diabetes, obesity, or high triglycerides. As a result, the liver is not able to break down the fat and this accumulates in the liver.
Dalchini is said to increase insulin sensitivity in patients with NAFL. To test this, a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 50 patients was done. It was found that consuming 1500 mg of cinnamon daily reduced FBS ( fasting blood sugar), total cholesterol, triglyceride, and other liver enzymes like ALT, AST, GGT, etc, thus alleviating the characteristics of NAFL.
Helpful In Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Dalchini, as mentioned has the ability to increase body’s sensitivity to insulin. Further, it also imitates the actions of insulin. Studies on animal models have proven this. However, data on human trials are a bit inconsistent. Scientists say this could be due to differentials in baseline glucose control, type of cinnamon used and duration of the study.
Helpful In Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to studies, cinnamaldehyde and eugenol suppress the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines which cause inflammation, joint destruction, and pain. This along with the antioxidant properties of cinnamon can be helpful in managing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Improves Heart Health
Dalchini is found to reduce cholesterol and increase blood flow. In an animal study combining cinnamon pretreatment with aerobic training, it was found that the group that took cinnamon had improved blood flow due to a reduction in serum MDA level and an improvement in blood lipid profile. Further, it showed lesser fluctuations in heart rate while exercising too.
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Helps In Regulating Menstrual Cycle In Those With PCOS
Studies have found that cinnamon could be a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). An animal study found that cinnamon had the ability to regulate ovary morphology and the gap between one ovulation to the subsequent one. It also controls the serum levels of testosterone and insulin-related hormones in the body.
Cinnamon May Prospectively Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Chemicals extracted from cinnamon have shown to prevent and even reverse Alzheimer’s disease in mouse and fruit fly models of the disease. However, clinical trials are yet to be conducted. Moreover, for this to have any effect, extracts from cinnamon has to be consumed in drug form extracting just the essential compunds.
Enhances Shelf Life of Fruits
Tests have found that applying edible coating of cinnamon essential oil ( 5% concentration) has found to improve shelf life of apples and increased protection against bacteria such as E.coli and P.expansum. Thus the antibacterial and antimicrobial effect of cinnamon may prove helpful in developing a safe and healthy edible coating for fruits like apples.
Benefits of Dalchini As Per Traditional Medicine
Further, traditional medicine uses dalchini for alleviating stomach upset, diarrhea, BP, dermatitis, toothache, cold and even for wound healing.
How To Increase Daily Consumption of Cinnamon?
FDA suggests daily intake of cinnamon shouldn’t exceed 6 gm. Cinnamon can be consumed in the following ways.
- Cinnamon is an indispensable ingredient in making garam masala. Consuming dishes that contain garam masala could be helpful in increasing your daily intake of cinnamon.
- Cinnamon powder could be used to make masala tea and coffee.
- Apple pies, cinnamon rolls, french toast are some dishes that contain liberal amount of cinnamon.
- While consuming honey. add a pinch of cinnamon powder to it.
- Cinnamon powder can be added to oatmeal.
Though cinnamon is known to have immense health benefits, consuming them alone will not help cure or prevent any medical conditions. This article is not a substitute for medical advise and should be used only for informational purposes only.