Cinnamon is very effective in preventing foodborne diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria, a new study finds.

Who doesn't love a sprinkling of cinnamon on fresh apple pie or atop a chai latte?  It's just one of those spices that taste fantastic.  But taste is not the only reason to love cinnamon.  It also has many health benefits. Adding to the already long list of such benefits is the recent discovery suggesting cinnamon can help keep foodborne diseases at bay.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are the most common bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. These bacteria are known as "non-O157 STEC," according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. After looking at the top six strains of non-O157 STEC, researchers from Washington State University found that cinnamon oil was effective in killing several strains of such bacteria.

"Our focus is on exploring plant-derived natural food bioactive compounds as antimicrobials to control foodborne pathogens, in order to ensure safety of fresh produce," co-author Meijun Zhu, an assistant professor in the School of Food Science said in a press statement. "The oil can be incorporated into films and coatings for packaging both meat and fresh produce. It can also be added into the washing step of meat, fruits or vegetables to eliminate microorganisms."

Very recently, a study also highlighted that cinnamon may help stop progression of Parkinson's disease.

"Cinnamon has been used widely as a spice throughout the world for centuries," said lead author Kalipada Pahan, in a press statement. "This could potentially be one of the safest approaches to halt disease progression in Parkinson's patients. Cinnamon is metabolized in the liver to sodium benzoate, which is an FDA-approved drug used in the treatment for hepatic metabolic defects associated with hyperammonemia."

Numerous studies show that cinnamon regulates blood sugar, making it a great choice for diabetics and hypoglycemics alike.  That's also great news for anyone who wants stable energy levels and moods.

It reduces LDL cholesterol levels.  LDL is also known as the harmful cholesterol.  Reducing it may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Cinnamon has natural anti-infection compounds.  In studies, cinnamon has been effective against ulcer-causing H. pylori bacteria and other pathogens.

This spice also reduces pain linked to arthritis.  Cinnamon has been shown to reduce cytokines linked to arthritic pain. Research also shows that cinnamon may reduce the proliferation of cancer cells, holding promise for cancer prevention and sufferers of the disease. It is a natural food preservative. It contains fiber, calcium, iron, and manganese, albeit small amounts, in a typical dose of ground cinnamon.

Studies have also proven that cinnamon is effective in treating menstrual pain and infertility.  It contains a natural chemical called cinnamaldehyde, which studies show increases the hormone progesterone and decreases testosterone production in women, helping to balance hormones.

The current study was published online in the journal Food Control.