For centuries, in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon has been used to treat illnesses like the flu and indigestion.
So Much Power In One Little Spice
Cinnamon is a wonder spice. It has a bundle of minerals sitting within it – calcium, fiber, iron, and manganese. Also, within its bark, are healing essential oils.It contains antioxidants that can
- Lower Cholesterol
- Prevent Tissue Damage
- Regulate Blood Sugar,
- Fight Bacteria and Yeasts and
- Boost Brain Functioning.
More recently, researchers have found that cinnamon can help keep blood sugar from rising too quickly after a meal. This antioxidant-rich seasoning slows down the rate at which the stomach unloads that heavy carb lunch.
In a study of people with Type 2 diabetes, it was found that consuming 1-gram of cinnamon daily lowered blood sugar, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. This it does because cinnamon helps insulin work a lot more efficiently in our body. Dr. Richard Anderson of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland suggests that pre-diabetics may be able to delay or prevent development of the disease with regular, small doses of cinnamon.
Ceylon or Chinese Cinnamon?
Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and a medicine. This spice is actually the brown bark of the cinnamon tree. What we usually consume is the ground powder form, often sprinkled on coffee or toast. It’s also available in a dried tubular form known as a quill. There are hundreds of types of cinnamon but I will highlight two varieties in this article – Chinese and Ceylon. Even though both have a similar flavor, there are a few differences to note.
The Ceylon variety is slightly sweeter and more refined, a much nicer option in desserts. It is also more difficult to find in local markets. This variety has low levels of coumarin (a natural substance found in plants) and that is an advantage. The Chinese cinnamon has much greater concentrations of coumarin, which in high doses, can be poisonous to the liver and kidney. If you’re going to make cinnamon part of your everyday diet, pick the Ceylon cinnamon variety.
How Much Cinnamon Should You Consume?
Cinnamon supplements might be a convenient way to get the benefits of this wonder spice into our system. The FDA has given cinnamon the status of Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). However, it is recommended to not consume more than 2–5 grams of cinnamon per day. Cinnamon appears to be safe for most people at these levels.
Note: As with any supplement, please consult your doctor before starting a cinnamon supplement as it may interact with your current diabetes medication or any medication that affects blood glucose or insulin levels.
Delightful Ways to Get Cinnamon Into Your Diet
Cinnamon adds a distinctive flavor to food and drinks. Here are some easy, delicious ways to make cinnamon a part of your everyday diet:
- Steep your favorite herbal tea, milk or coffee with a cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon.
- Add cinnamon to butter or cream cheese and apply on whole-wheat bread.
- Add ground cinnamon when preparing curries.
- A favorite with kids is cinnamon toast – drizzle flax seed oil and honey on toasted bread or crackers and then sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Adding ground cinnamon to black beans will give them a unique and delicious taste.
- Cinnamon combines very favorably with many baked fruits like pears, peaches, and apples as well juices and ciders.
Here is one of my favorite recipes to indulge the sweet tooth in a healthy way!
Baked Pears With Cinnamon Honey And Apple Juice:
- 3 medium pears
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons apple juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A few pecans for topping
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Cut both ends off and then cut the pears in half. With a spoon, gently scoop out the core and seeds using a circular motion. Place the pears face down in a 9*13-inch glass dish.
- In a small saucepan, combine the honey, apple juice, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. Warm the sauce over low-medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted and ingredients are combined. Carefully spoon the sauce over the pears, reserving some of the sauce for later.
- Bake the pears for 30–35 minutes, until slightly soft and beginning to brown.
- Decorate with pecans.
- Spoon a small amount of the leftover sauce over the pears when serving.
- Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
Cinnamon Has Brain Benefits too
Beyond improving the body’s ability to utilize blood sugar, just smelling the fragrance of this sweet spice boosts brain activity! Chewing cinnamon-flavored gum or even smelling cinnamon enhanced participants’ cognitive processing ability (with enhanced scores on tasks related to memory and speed while working on a computer-based program) in a study conducted by the Wheeling Jesuit University.
Other Benefits Of Cinnamon – Apply It!
Here are some tips on using cinnamon for the face, lips and hair – to restore a healthy glow.
Face scrub: almond oil, olive oil, honey and ground cinnamon.
Lip therapy: Cinnamon combined with Vaseline may be used as a lip therapy.
Hair Mask: Try cinnamon with warm olive oil and honey. Leave on hair for 10 to 15 minutes and wash with a shampoo.
A word of caution: never apply cinnamon directly to the skin as it can cause bruising.
Cinnamon is a wonderful blessing Nature has bestowed on us. Go ahead and indulge!