Honey and cinnamon are two ingredients that taste awesome together, and can really add to some pretty amazing foods. Think of granola, a moist spice bread or even a spread for toast in the morning alongside a cup of apple cider. The thought of these things just warms the soul.

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What if we told you that honey and cinnamon are not just delicious together, but the combination provides amazing benefits to your health as well?

It’s true. For thousands of years, people have used these two ingredients to cure several health ailments. In fact traditional Chinese medicine practices used cinnamon as a way to correct temperature imbalances caused by sickness or infection.  Honey has been seen my TCM as a way to dispel pathogenic heat, clear away toxins, relieve pain and combat dehydration, among other things.

To better understand what makes these two so special, let’s discuss the two separately.

Honey

How it’s made:

Honey isn’t just that thing that we buy in a bear or hive-shaped container. It actually comes from an amazing process that gives it its healing properties.

Worker bees collect nectar from the very healthiest flowers, then fill a sac in their stomachs with that nectar and bring it back to the hive. At the hive, another worker bee ingests that nectar, and the enzymes inside its body break down the sugars. The digested nectar is then placed in the segments of the honeycomb. The digested nectar is then turned into the delicious, sticky honey we love after the bees gather together and flap their wings, evaporating all the water away.

What it contains/health benefits:

1. Simple carbohydrates for quick energy

While you generally want to get your carbs in the form of complex carbohydrates so you have sustained energy, there are times when simple carbs, particularly healthy ones like those contained in honey, are important. Take for example when you need a quick burst for a race you’re running, or if you’re low on energy at work, and need a pick-me up that isn’t in the form of a candy bar of energy drink.

Honey offers simple carbohydrates in the form or natural sugars derived from plants that is quickly digestible, providing energy ready to use when you need it.

2. Plant compounds full of antioxidants

Due to the fact that bees get the nectar from plants, naturally many of the antioxidants that are in those plants seep into the nectar, and eventually to the honey. Antioxidants are key in ridding the body of free radicals that damage cells and can lead to diseases throughout the body, including cancer.

Antioxidants have also been linked to reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer, as well as eye health, according to research. And if you want your honey to contain more antioxidants, and therefore more illness-fighting capabilities, scientists say that the darker the better.

3. Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve coughs

Honey has long been used as a cough remedy, and due to this, is a main ingredient in many cough drops. Doctors (and your grandma) may even prescribe honey mixed with warm lemon juice when faced with a sore throat or cough.

As it turns out, honey may actually be the only ingredient needed due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact a study published in the Journal of Family Practice found that buckwheat honey reduced cough severity and sleep in children — and consequently, their parents.

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