Whether it’s in a candle, a cake or a cup of chai, we all enjoy the cosy, comforting smell and taste of cinnamon. But did you know that this spice is also packed full of powerful compounds that make it amazing for the skin?
Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant, which means that it helps the body to fight damage from free radicals found in pollution, many foods and even the sun’s rays. Free radicals cause ageing and cell damage, so increasing the body’s stock of antioxidants means these processes are slowed down. This means younger looking skin and a healthier body.
Inflammation is part of the body’s natural defences, but when we are under stress, exhausted or not getting the proper nutrition, it can get out of control, leading to skin problems like acne and wrinkles. One of the main components of cinnamon is a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which blocks the release of inflammatory acids in the body, allowing inflammation to calm down and our skin to return to a calmer, more comfortable state.
Most of us will struggle with blood sugar from time to time, given our stressful lifestyles, long days and rushed mealtimes. If you feel your energy levels spiking and plummeting throughout the day, or you get strong food cravings, especially for sugary, fatty foods, you may have a mild problem with blood sugar. Cinnamon can help to regulate blood sugar levels; this is great for the skin because it stops us reaching for high-energy snacks like chocolate and sweets to get through the day.
How to get more cinnamon into your diet
Cinnamon is easy to work into your meals because it goes wonderfully in both sweet and savoury foods. Sprinkle it over sweet potatoes before roasting, stir it into a curry, add it to a soup or stew for a deliciously warming flavour. You can mix cinnamon into porridge oats, sprinkle it over wholegrain buttered toast or add to baked apples. Here is a delicious recipe for a cinnamon-spiked breakfast smoothie to set you up for the day:
Banana-Cinnamon Protein Smoothie
- 1 Banana (fresh or frozen)
- 250ml milk (plant or dairy)
- One Tablespoon nut butter
- A teaspoon ground cinnamon
- One teaspoon of honey (or agave nectar)
Combine all ingredients in a blender until you have a smooth texture. If you use frozen banana the texture will be very thick, so use fresh if you prefer a thinner smoothie. Peanut or almond butter work particularly well in this recipe.