Cinnamon can slow the fat-storing process and reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a new study.


The American Heart Association conference presented the findings in Detroit this weekend, which involved examining the effects of cinnamon on rats. 


Scientists fed rats a high-fat diet. One group was fed cinnamon supplements for 12 weeks, while another group was not. The rats that ate the spice regularly presented healthier levels of sugar, insulin and fat in their blood.


Cinnamon appeared to be activating the rats' antioxidant and anti-inflammatory systems, and slowed down the fat-storing process. The wonder-spice essentially reduces the effects of a high-fat diet. 


Don't believe us? This isn't the first study to look at the benefits of cinnamon, which is obtained from the inner bark of various Cinnamomum trees. 



Cinnamon lowers blood sugar and can imitate the effects of insulin. Paul Davis is a research nutritionist at the University of California. He authored a 2013 analysis in the Journal of Medicinal Food that concluded that cinnamon lowers fasting blood glucose.


"According to our results, it's a modest effect of about 3 to 5 percent," Davis told NPR, in 2013. "This is about the level of reduction found in the older generation of diabetes drugs."


In 2016, researchers found that increased ingestion of cinnamon dramatically improved the memory of poor-learning mice.   


"The increase in learning in poor-learning mice after cinnamon treatment was significant," explained senior study author Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D., professor of neurological sciences, biochemistry, and pharmacology at Rush University Medical Center. "For example, poor-learning mice took about 150 seconds to find the right hole in the Barnes maze test. On the other hand, after one month of cinnamon treatment, poor-learning mice were finding the right hole within 60 seconds."



The same researchers also found that cinnamon can reverse changes in the brain associated with Parkinson’s disease.


The most common type of cinnamon is called 'cassia' and is found in most grocery stores. However, you shouldn't overdo it when sprinkling it on the kids' breakfast - cassia contains an ingredient called coumarin that can cause reversible liver toxicity if eaten in large amounts.


Some experts suggest investing instead in Ceylon cinnamon, a milder — and pricier — variety of the spice that comes from a tree distinct from but related to cassia.