Cinnamon has long been a favourite to sprinkle on top of your chai latte or over your sweet potato fries for an added boost of flavour.
And researchers at the University of Michigan have now released new findings about the nutritional benefits of the super spice.
Their study has found that cinnamaldehyde, the essential oil that gives cinnamon its distinct flavour, helps to activate thermogenesis in the body – a metabolic bodily process that burns calories and helps kick start weight loss.
Lead author, Jun Wu, is the research assistant professor at the Life Sciences Institute. From his previous studies he was aware of the power of cinnemaldehyde, but together with his team they tested fat cells from volunteers to analyse the enhanced lipid metabolism when treated with the essential oil.
"Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it. So if it can help protect against obesity, too, it may offer an approach to metabolic health that is easier for patients to adhere to," Wu said.
However, that doesn't mean going to town on the brown stuff – Wu says further investigation is needed into how best to harness cinnamaldehyde's power. In the mean time, adding cinnamon to your diet can only mean good things for your metabolic rate. Sprinkle it over your porridge or breakfast cereal, add it to your protein shake or mix into your Greek yoghurt.
But please use sparingly to avoid repeats of the good ol' cinnamon challenge.