During this time of year, you'll be hard-pressed to find a beverage or meal that doesn't contain flavors of the season. Menus are suddenly dominated by squash, sweet potatoes, and spices that queue up fall memories. While you may not think twice about adding a dash of cinnamon to your morning coffee or your evening vegetable roast, this common spice may actually be serving up some serious health benefits in addition to its fragrant flavor.
You may be familiar with cinnamon's anti-inflammatory properties, but a recent study found that cinnamon is also beneficial for your metabolism, Time reports. Researchers studied cinnamaldehyde, which is the essential oil that gives cinnamon its flavor. They found that it signaled fat cells taken from mice and humans to burn energy that the cells would otherwise store, in a process known as thermogenesis.
The oil also increased the activity of genes, enzymes, and proteins involved in fat metabolism, supporting its potential metabolic benefits. While more research is needed to determine how much of an effect this oil will have on real people, researchers see this as a potential replacement for drugs in therapeutic strategies against obesity.
You can reap the benefits of this tasty ingredient by incorporating it into your daily diet. "If you eat it every day, there will be a cumulative effect, and over time you will achieve these benefits," according to study co-author Jun Wu, PhD.