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Study: Better learning performance thanks to cinnamon

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You shouldn’t just have cinnamon at Christmas time: the spice tastes good in muesli and porridge, cocoa or coffee, refines sauces and stews, is suitable for seasoning sweet potatoes, carrots or cauliflower and of course also mixes in all sorts of sweet temptations.

Cinnamon is not only delicious, but according to numerous studies in the past it is also incredibly healthy: the spice has, among other things, a positive effect on your blood sugar and heart health, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties AND is even said to improve brain performance.

A new Iranian review (which is a systematic evaluation of existing studies on a research question) from 2023 provides astonishing results. The effect of cinnamon on the cognitive ability of the brain was examined. And let’s get one thing straight: you should definitely allow yourself a daily pinch of cinnamon.

New cinnamon study: This is what the results show

The researchers from the Birjand University of Medical Sciences in Iran devoted their systematic review to the topic of “cinnamon and cognitive functions”. The term cognitive summarizes everything that is related to perception, learning, remembering, thinking and knowledge.

Of a total of 2,600 studies that existed on this topic, 40 were included in their evaluation: these included in-vivo studies in which living organisms were observed, five in-vitro studies (carried out in test tubes) and two clinical studies. The conclusions they were able to draw from this are quite promising.

The results of the study are clear: Cinnamon leads to an improvement in cognitive ability as it has a has a measurable, positive effect on the brain, memory performance and learning ability.

This is shown by the results of the in vivo studies. The focus is on the components eugenol, cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, which are responsible for the positive effects on cognitive ability. The in vitro studies support this at the cellular level, but provide much more interesting information with regard to dementia prevention.

Cinnamon could prevent dementia

The in-vitro study now even brings cinnamon into discussion as an effective remedy against Alzheimer’s and dementia. On the one hand, the components are intended to increase cell growth and cell viability, but more interestingly, they prevent the accumulation of so-called tau proteins and beta-amyloid proteins.

In Alzheimer’s and dementia diseases, the breakdown of these proteins occurs. This is how “Alzheimer’s plaque” is created from beta-amyloid proteins, which builds up between nerve cells and disrupts signal transmission. The tau proteins, which actually ensure stability within the nerves, are chemically changed in people with dementia, so that the nerve cells break down. Cinnamon is supposed to prevent both.

Eating porridge against dementia

Only the results of the two clinical studies are not clear. While one shows a positive connection, the second cannot confirm this. Nevertheless, the majority of studies give hope – although further research is of course needed to substantiate these indications with more meaningful results.

How much cinnamon for better brain performance?

The results seem promising. However, the question remains how much cinnamon per day is needed to benefit from the healthy spice.

It depends on the variety: The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends that adults should consume a maximum of 2 grams (a heaped teaspoon) of cassia cinnamon daily. However, you can eat more of Ceylon cinnamon because this variety contains less of the aromatic coumarin, which is said to be harmful to health in large quantities. “Too much coumarin can cause liver damage in sensitive people and children,” says a statement from the Brandenburg Consumer Center.

Incidentally, the study does not reveal anything about the types of cinnamon used.

Even if the results of the latest study still leave room for further research and the exact amount of daily consumption is ultimately not clear, a pinch of cinnamon seems to have great health potential. With this knowledge, cinnamon stars, cinnamon rolls and the like taste a little better.

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