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Cinnamon vs Cardamom - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on February 17, 2022
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Cinnamon
vs
Cardamom

Summary

Cardamom is a more expensive spice compared to cinnamon. It is richer in zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and vitamins C, B1, B6. Comparatively, cinnamon is richer in fibers, vitamins K, E, B2, B5, and A. They have antioxidative, antidiabetic, cardioprotective, anticarcinogenic properties.

Introduction

Cardamom is a spice that is harvested as small green seeds. It is initially harvested in Asian countries, specifically India and Indonesia. Nowadays, with the spread of agriculture, Guatemala is the highest producer of cardamom, followed by India.

On the other hand, we have cinnamon, a different type of spice. The origin of cinnamon traces back to ancient China. It comes from the inner bark of a dried-up cinnamon wood tree. Also, it could be found in powder form. Its essential flavor comes from cinnamaldehyde which is an oil extracted from it. Indonesia and China produce 70% of cinnamon around the world.

In this article, bare compared to each other, considering their general differences, nutritional content, and health impacts.

General differences

What are the actual differences between cardamom and cinnamon?

The general differences that we consider are availability, price, and culinary usage.

Availability

Cardamom and cinnamon are mostly available globally and during all seasons. Although, we can add that cinnamon is more distributed in all households than cardamon.

Price

Cardamon is one of the most expensive spices, and it is ranked 3rd in expensiveness after saffron and vanilla. On the other hand, cinnamon is a cheaper spice compared to cardamon.

Culinary usage

Cardamom is used for various reasons. It can be used in cooking. One of the most famous usages of cardamon is combined with coffee in the Arab world.

On the other hand, cinnamon is widely used in middle eastern cuisine. It also has a combination of a hot beverage, cinnamon, and black tea. A famous usage of cinnamon powder is cinnamon rolls. However, they are loaded with sugars.

Nutritional content comparison

The nutritional content comparison will cover the differences in calories, glycemic index, macronutrients, and micronutrients for cardamom and cinnamon.
The serving sizes are 1 tsp for each. The serving size of cardamom is equivalent to 2g and for cinnamon is 2.6g.

Calories

Cardamom contains higher amounts of calories than cinnamon. However, when considering their serving sizes, these are around 6-7 calories.

Carbohydrates

Cinnamon contains higher carb amounts as compared to cardamom. However, this carb amount is mostly due to the fact that cinnamon is high in fibers.

Fibers

The fiber content of cinnamon is almost double the amount of that in cardamon.

Protein and fat

Cardamom contains higher amounts of both protein and fats. However, when we take into consideration, the serving size of each of these numbers is negligible.

Minerals

Cardamom has a richer mineral profile compared to cinnamon.

Cardamom is richer in zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper.

On the other hand, cinnamon is richer in calcium levels.

It is important to mention that cinnamon contains high amounts of zinc, iron, potassium. However, comparatively, cardamom contains more.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Calcium +161.6%
Contains less Sodium -44.4%
Contains more Iron +67.9%
Contains more Magnesium +281.7%
Contains more Phosphorus +178.1%
Contains more Potassium +159.6%
Contains more Zinc +308.2%
Contains more Copper +13%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 301% 312% 43% 28% 39% 2% 50% 114%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 115% 524% 164% 77% 99% 3% 204% 128%
Contains more Calcium +161.6%
Contains less Sodium -44.4%
Contains more Iron +67.9%
Contains more Magnesium +281.7%
Contains more Phosphorus +178.1%
Contains more Potassium +159.6%
Contains more Zinc +308.2%
Contains more Copper +13%

Vitamins

When it comes to the vitamin profile, cinnamon is richer in vitamins.

Cinnamon is richer in vitamins K, E, B2, B5, and A.

On the other hand, cardamom is richer in vitamins C, B1, B6.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +20.9%
Contains more Vitamin C +452.6%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +800%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +343.9%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +45.6%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 18% 47% 0% 13% 6% 10% 25% 22% 37% 5% 0% 78%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 0% 0% 70% 50% 42% 21% 0% 54% 0% 0% 0%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +20.9%
Contains more Vitamin C +452.6%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +800%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +343.9%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +45.6%

Health impacts

Antioxidant

Cardamom contains phytochemicals that reduce overall levels of free radicals in the system. In addition to that, these compounds have anti-inflammatory properties. They reduce overall levels of chronic inflammatory cytokines. (1)

Phenolic compounds in cinnamon contribute to their antioxidative activities by scavenging free radicals and maintaining antioxidative enzymes to keep free radical levels in low amounts. (2)

Cardiovascular health

Cardamom extracts, in concentrated amounts, have calcium channel blocking activity that acts in blood pressure regulation. In addition to that, it also has diuretic effects, which also act to reduce pressure in hypertensive people. (3)

Cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon has vasodilatory effects, an important property to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive people. (2)

Both cardamom and cinnamon have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, which is the immediate improvement of hypertension cases; however, they have different mechanisms.

Cancer

As we mentioned before, cardamom phytochemicals that have antioxidative properties have a benefit in cancer. These compounds have chemopreventive characteristics against being skin cancer-like papillomas. (4) (5)

Cinnamon extracted phenols have protective roles against hematological cancers. They suppress cells to further transform into cancer cells. (6)
The antioxidative properties of cinnamon extract have protective functions against colorectal cancer. (7)

Diabetes

Cardamom extracts have hepatoprotective functions in diabetes. In addition to that, it prevents dyslipidemia which decreases the risks of atherosclerosis and cardiac diseases. (8)

Cinnamon intake during type 2 diabetes shows improvement of blood glucose and lipids levels, which means decreased risks of diabetic complications, mainly on the cardiovascular system. (9) (10)

Digestive tract

Cardamom has gastroprotective functions in cases of gastric ulcers. It helps improve the mucous layer to protect against further erosion and damage to the gastric ulcer. Overall, improvement of healing or at least preventing further progression of the ulcer. (11)

Cardamom has positive and healing effects on the intestinal tract. Improving the gastrointestinal milieu for better absorption and healthier microbiome. (12)

Cinnamon has inhibitory functions on cells that cause fibrosis of the intestinal tract in chronic colitis. (13)

Cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon enhances the activity of the gut microbiome. (14)

Neurodegenerative

Cardamom extracts cineole have protective characteristics in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease. (15)

Cinnamon extracts have neuroprotective properties against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. (16) (17)

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28458157/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003790/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18037596/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22404574/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22182368/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16253769/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18260732/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5557534/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14633804/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24019277/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16298093/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17440996/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28324642/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34712688/
  15. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12017-019-08574-2
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19433898/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24946862/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: February 17, 2022

Infographic

Cinnamon vs Cardamom infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Cinnamon Cardamom
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Cinnamon Cardamom Opinion
Net carbs 27.49g 40.47g Cardamom
Protein 3.99g 10.76g Cardamom
Fats 1.24g 6.7g Cardamom
Carbs 80.59g 68.47g Cinnamon
Calories 247kcal 311kcal Cardamom
Starch g g
Fructose 1.11g g Cinnamon
Sugar 2.17g g Cardamom
Fiber 53.1g 28g Cinnamon
Calcium 1002mg 383mg Cinnamon
Iron 8.32mg 13.97mg Cardamom
Magnesium 60mg 229mg Cardamom
Phosphorus 64mg 178mg Cardamom
Potassium 431mg 1119mg Cardamom
Sodium 10mg 18mg Cinnamon
Zinc 1.83mg 7.47mg Cardamom
Copper 0.339mg 0.383mg Cardamom
Vitamin A 295IU 0IU Cinnamon
Vitamin E 2.32mg mg Cinnamon
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 3.8mg 21mg Cardamom
Vitamin B1 0.022mg 0.198mg Cardamom
Vitamin B2 0.041mg 0.182mg Cardamom
Vitamin B3 1.332mg 1.102mg Cinnamon
Vitamin B5 0.358mg mg Cinnamon
Vitamin B6 0.158mg 0.23mg Cardamom
Folate 6µg µg Cinnamon
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 31.2µg µg Cinnamon
Tryptophan 0.049mg mg Cinnamon
Threonine 0.136mg mg Cinnamon
Isoleucine 0.146mg mg Cinnamon
Leucine 0.253mg mg Cinnamon
Lysine 0.243mg mg Cinnamon
Methionine 0.078mg mg Cinnamon
Phenylalanine 0.146mg mg Cinnamon
Valine 0.224mg mg Cinnamon
Histidine 0.117mg mg Cinnamon
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0.345g 0.68g Cinnamon
Monounsaturated Fat 0.246g 0.87g Cardamom
Polyunsaturated fat 0.068g 0.43g Cardamom

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Cinnamon Cardamom
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
21
Cinnamon
20
Cardamom
Mineral Summary Score
111
Cinnamon
164
Cardamom

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
24%
Cinnamon
65%
Cardamom
Carbohydrates
81%
Cinnamon
68%
Cardamom
Fats
6%
Cinnamon
31%
Cardamom

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Cinnamon
Cinnamon contains less Sodium (difference - 8mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Cinnamon
Cinnamon is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.335g)
Which food is cheaper?
Cinnamon
Cinnamon is cheaper (difference - $1)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Cardamom
Cardamom is lower in Sugar (difference - 2.17g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Cardamom
Cardamom is lower in glycemic index (difference - 0)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Cardamom
Cardamom is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Cinnamon - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171320/nutrients
  2. Cardamom - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170919/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.