Spice up your life with Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a humble spice with an enticing taste and beautiful aroma. It is an yummy addition to baked goods, desserts and drinks. It should be specially acknowledged for its medicinal benefits. Cinnamon is a natural remedy for ailments like colds, coughs, fatigue, joint pains etc. Some studies have shown that it can lower LDL (Bad cholesterol).

Cinnamon possesses antioxidant activity, according to a 2005 study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.” According to a 2010 study published in the journal, “Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition,” in addition to being an antioxidant, cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-tumor properties as well. Please see (http://www.livestrong.com/article/526131-what-does-taking-cinnamon-help-with/)

There are two commercial types of cinnamon – Ceylon cinnamon, also known as true cinnamon, which is native to South Asia. It is expensive and rare compared to the second kind, which is called cassia tree cinnamon. Most of the grocery stores seem to stock cassia tree cinnamon and not true cinnamon. Although it is cheaper, cassia tree cinnamon has a stronger odor and flavor than Ceylon cinnamon.

When I buy cinnamon sticks, I make sure that I buy the Ceylon cinnamon. How do you identify Ceylon cinnamon from cassia?

Spice up your live with cinnamon

One prominent feature that can differentiate true cinnamon from cassia is the texture of the sticks. Look downward at a cinnamon stick so that you can see the end. If you see multiple layers of thinner bark (texture of paper parchment), then it is true or Ceylon cinnamon. If the stick does not show multiple layer or rather if the bark looks uniform and thick, then it is cassia cinnamon.

After finding true cinnamon sticks, you can use a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle to grind the sticks into a powder.

If you are buying cinnamon powder to use in a recipe, buy a cinnamon product that identifies the source of its cinnamon or call the manufacturer to obtain this information.

Why Ceylon cinnamon may be better than cassia?

What true cinnamon and cassia do not have in common is their coumarin content. Coumarins are naturally occurring plant components that can have strong anticoagulant properties. Our blood needs to maintain its ability to coagulate in times of injury. So excessive intake of coumarins over a prolonged period of time can pose health risks. While the level of naturally occurring coumarins in Ceylon cinnamon appears to be very small and lower than the amount that could cause health risks, the level of naturally occurring coumarins in the cassia cinnamons appears to be higher and may pose a risk to some individuals if consumed in substantial amounts on a regular basis. For this reason, organizations like the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Berlin, Germany have recommended that large amounts of the cassia cinnamons be avoided. (source: http://www.spice-racks.com/cinnamon-the-truth-about-this-spice/)

How cinnamon may benefit you?

Cold and cough:

If you suffer from common or severe colds, take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and clear the sinuses.

Gas:

According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that if honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

Indigestion:

Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.

Cholesterol:

Mix one tablespoon of honey and about one and a half teaspoons of cinnamon powder. Add it to 1 cup of warm water. When taken every day, it helps to reduce cholesterol.

Immunity:

Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacterial and viral diseases.

Weight loss:

Take a teaspoon of honey mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon powder each morning.

Other benefits of taking cinnamon:

– Relieves pain and stiffness of muscles and joints

– Relieves menstrual discomfort

– It is a powerful anti-microbial agent that can kill E. coli and other bacteria

How I like to use my freshly ground cinnamon powder?

  • Our morning breakfast cereal/ oats porridge is not complete without a drizzle of cinnamon powder.
  • I encourage my toddler to eat her morning toast with cinnamon-honey spread instead of giving her jams and jellies that may contain artificial sweeteners and flavors.
  • When I bake our family’s favorite egg-less carrot cake, I like to add a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg powder for that extra zing.
  • Warm milk with cinnamon powder and honey is so intoxicating and relaxing.

So friends, spice up your life with Cinnamon.

Bye for now. With love from PetalDew

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