With its distinctive taste and scent, cinnamon is one of the easiest spices to recognize. It’s a major ingredient in cookies, lattes, teas, pies, and countless other delectable kitchen creations, but just how healthy is cinnamon?
Cinnamon was used in Biblical times as perfume and anointing oil. Egyptians and Romans used it for embalming and funerals. It has been used for centuries in India to treat respiratory and digestive problems. Now scientists are recognizing that antioxidants in cinnamon can actually improve our health.
This common kitchen spice comes from the innermost layer of bark of the Cinnamomum genus trees. Take Ceylon, for example. The tree is grown in Sri Lanka, has flavor that is mild and sweet, and is believed the be the most beneficial for your health.
Cassia, another common tree that gives us the ultimate Christmas spice, comes from China and Indonesia, has a stronger flavor and smell, is cheaper to produce, and is the most common type of cinnamon found in grocery stores.
Choose Only Organic Cinnamon for the Best Results
“A challenge with some of these herbal solutions, because they are not a regulated drug, is that you don’t know exactly what you are getting.”
Melinda Maryniuk, a registered dietitian on the American Diabetes Association’s professional practice committee continued by saying that good cinnamon depends on a variety of factors. A batch of cinnamon that comes with extra health benefits is grown in a pollution-free region, in well-drained soil. Moreover, proper cinnamon is grown in strict conditions as a plethora of pests are known to affect the trees.
When harvest time comes, the way in which the bark is collected, dried, and stored also plays an important part in how many antioxidants remain in the spice.
How Healthy Is Cinnamon?
A half teaspoon of ground cinnamon each day can lower LDL cholesterol. It helps regulate blood sugar, which is helpful to diabetics. Studies have shown that Ceylon cinnamon contains cancer fighting properties, especially for dealing with leukemia and lymphoma. It aids anti-aging.
In addition, the scent of cinnamon boosts memory and cognitive function, which helps fight dementia. It also helps prevent blood clots, lowers blood pressure, and lowers inflammation associated with arthritis.
Lauri Wright of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the natural, off the rack version. It seems that capsules are not as rich in antioxidants as the real thing and they also usually come with a bunch of additive.
Next time you brew your morning cup of Joe, add a pinch of cinnamon to it. It will delight your senses and boost your immune system. And as a bonus, every morning will smell like Christmas morning.
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