Cinnamon: Health Benefits and Uses

“Also take for yourself quality spices—five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon, two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane, five hundred shekels of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil.”  Exodus 30:23-24

Types of cinnamon

Cassia–  aka Chinese cinnamon, common cinnamon, baker’s cinnamon. A cheaper cinnamon. Sweeter and stronger than the others. Cassia has the best flavor.

True cinnamon–  aka Ceylon cinnamon, Sri Lankan cinnamon. Find this in ethnic groceries and online. It has lower levels of coumarin, so it is a better choice for therapeutic uses.

Vietnamese cinnamon–  aka Saigon cassia. Highest oil content of the cinnamons. Highest coumarin level.

Indonesian cinnamon–   aka Korintje cinnamon, Padang cassia

 

Nutritional Value

IMG_4305

 

Excellent source of  manganese.

Excellent source of fiber.

Very good source of calcium.

 

 

Health Benefits

1 gram/day   500mg/day  (1 gm= 1/2 t)

✅  Controls blood sugar. A 3 month study showed decrease in A1C in type 2 diabetes.

✅  Decreases LDL and total cholesterol in those with type 2 diabetes.

✅  May prevent elevated glucose in those without diabetes.

✅  Prevents post meal sugar spikes (sugar blocker).  Use a hardy sprinkling.

✅  Reduced fasting glucose in PCOS.

✅  The smell of cinnamon has been shown to enhance cognitive processing. Cinnamon improved scores on tasks related to attention, virtual recognition memory, working memory and visual motor speed.

✅  Anti-clotting actions.IMG_4309

✅  Contains antioxidants.

✅  Anti-inflammatory.

✅  Preserves food.

✅  Prevents food poisoning.

✅  Effective against candida albicans.

✅  Effective against  H pylori infections which are responsible for ulcers and stomach cancer.

 

Shopping and storage

Available in quill or powder form.

Store in glass container in cool, dark, dry place. Keeps 6 months- 1year. Extend life by keeping in refrigerator. The smell tells you if it is still fresh.

 

Uses

Don’t over cook cinnamon, it gets bitter. Add before the end of the cooking time.

Make tea.

Use in baking.

Sprinkle on fruit.

Add to cocoa.

Sprinkle on toast.

Simmer in milk with honey.

Popular in sweet dishes. cakes, cookies, pies, apples.

In Spain, it’s added to chocolate dishes. It’s also added to dishes that are sweet and sour or contain raisins.

Popular in Moroccan spice blends and meat stews and in Indian spices.

Bake with squash- acorn or butternut.

Some of my favorite simple ways to incorporate cinnamon are to sprinkle on sliced apples, pears or jicama, cook into oatmeal and sprinkle on sauteed sweet potatoes.

 

Warnings

Cassia cinnamon contains high levels of coumarin which if consumed in large amounts can cause liver toxicity.

  • Limit to less than 1 tsp per day.
  • Use true cinnamon (Ceylon) if taking for therapeutic reasons. It has much lower coumarin levels.
  • Watch how much cinnamon you are consuming per day. Perhaps limit your cinnamon toast or cereal.
  • If you are partial to the taste of cassia, why not reduce the coumarin levels by mixing it with other cinnamons? (half and half)

 

 

Cinnamon

Mateljan, George., The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Cinnamon Converts Poor Learning Mice to Good Learners: Implications for Memory Improvement.

Cinnamon extract improves fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin level in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes

Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes

Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis.

Cinnamon Use in Type 2 Diabetes: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Aggarwal, Bharat B. Ph.D., Healing Spices.

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