Cinnamon: Healthy holiday spice
Cinnamon is a spice found from the bark of certain trees. The strips from the bark roll up into cinnamon sticks. The sticks can then be used ground up. The oily part of this spice, called cinnamaldehyde, is where the smell comes from. It’s a nice addition to foods and has an aroma many enjoy. Sprinkled on toast, a little on the latte, or the smell of a candle….cinnamon is a popular additive. There are actually two types. Ceylon is deemed “true” cinnamon and cassia is the other type that we generally all use.
This spice was used by the Romans in their wine. The Greeks used it on their foods and for vegetables. The English used it in their breads and puddings. The Arabs used it in their teas. In America, well that cinnamon roll donut is the popular reference.
Cinnamon is useful for many purposes. 2-4 grams of ground cinnamon is recommended per day (1/2 – 1 teaspoon). No wonder it can be found in the majority of households. Besides flavor and scent, there are other reasons to keep cinnamon on hand. It is packed with antioxidants, even more so than garlic or oregano. Antioxidants protect our bodies from oxidative damage. It can also be used for anti-inflammatory purposes. This can help with tissue repair and infections in the body. Cinnamon also affects insulin resistance by making sure this hormone does its job. Many people, such as type 2 diabetics are insulin resistant, but cinnamon makes sure insulin does its job. This can reduce blood sugar levels. Cinnamon wards of sugar that can enter the bloodstream after eating. It interacts with digestive enzymes to slow down carbohydrate digestions. It then almost acts like insulin. Cinnamon has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. Cinnamaldehyde which is found in cinnamon can help fight infections and stop the growth of bacteria. I can also ward off bad breath.
There are cinnamon bagels, churros, cookies, candies, mints, gums,
cinnamon rolls, and breads. It’s added to coffees, teas, pies, cereals, and on top of toast and yogurt (just to name a few). It’s even in toothpaste and mouthwash. It’s a holiday scent that many love to fill the home with. Potpourri is a decorative form of this spice. The list goes on and on. Spices such as cinnamon are great addition to anyone watching their waistline and avoiding the condiment trap. It is a useful replacement tool for coffee creamer, syrup, sugar, and butter and had positive help affects. Seems like a win-win for your taste-buds, waistline, health, and the air around you.