We're aware of cinnamon's health benefits—helping blood sugar control and protecting against insulin resistance for those with diabetes. But new research is finding that the common spice's health potential could go well beyond that. Presented last week at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology meeting, a new study identifies cinnamon as a "metabolic powerhouse" that could even encourage positive changes at the cellular level.
"We started to suspect that one of the proteins involved in gene expression was being influenced by cinnamon," Amy Stockert, associate professor of biochemistry at Ohio Northern University Raabe College of Pharmacy, tells Time. "If cinnamon interacts with this enzyme in the way our model suggests, it could possibly be linked to anti-aging, antioxidant control, a lot of really important health benefits," she says. "And it shouldn't take [more than] one gram a day to see those effects."
To reap these health benefits, Stockert recommends buying whole or ground cinnamon from reputable spice companies. Nancy Farrell, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests adding cinnamon to everything from oatmeal to toast to butternut squash to chili. So whether you're looking for a sweetener replacement in your morning cup of coffee or a little seasoning to add to meals that helps your health, a dash of cinnamon could help add flavor while fighting aging.