HEALTH BENEFITS OF CINNAMON
Besides the great taste and amazing smell, check out this list of health benefits . . . if you choose the right one:
- Reduces your blood sugar
- Calms your stomach
- Stops that resistant yeast infection
- Keeps any leukemia and lymphoma cells from proliferating*
- Reduces your arthritis pain
- Acts as a natural food preservative by inhibiting bacterial growth
- Increases your manganese, iron and calcium levels
- Lowers your LDL cholesterol levels
CINNAMON LABELING AND ITS DECEPTION
Who knew such a darling of our spice cabinet held such power. But wait a moment and look a little further as there is an important caveat regarding the label. Most cinnamon labeled as such at most grocery stores is really not the cinnamon that carries the same level of health benefits listed above.
It may look and smell and even taste like cinnamon, but it may be actually cassia, not the true cinnamon, Ceylon Cinnamon. Ceylon Cinnamon also has a more subtle flavor with a little less bite and a more floral note with health benefits the impostors do not share.
CASSIA AND WHY TO AVOID IT
So why all the fuss? Here is the distinction: Cassia contains coumarin, a naturally occurring toxin which has the potential to damage the liver in high doses. Cassia contains high levels of this, whereas Ceylon contains only traces. Those high levels of coumarin in the cassia are what brings on the undesirable side effects listed in the section below.
Always check your source and read labels to ensure you are purchasing the true one – Ceylon. Also note that Cassia is also referred to as Vietnamese, Chinese, Saigon, Java or Padang Cinnamon. Check your labels for those, too. Or, if nothing is listed on the label before you toss anything out of your spice drawer, call the manufacturer to identify their cinnamon source.
SIDE EFFECTS OF TOO MUCH CINNAMON
Go ahead and sprinkle, but keep in mind, like most foods, too much of a good thing is . . . well, . . . not a good thing. More than half a teaspoon at once can do this:
- Irritate your stomach
- Increases your heart rate – not always desirable.
- Act as a blood thinner so not good before surgery or if you are taking prescription blood thinners.
- React as a rather powerful antibiotic so if you are on a prescription for one, it could interact with your other drugs.
- Strain your kidney and liver
RECIPE: ALMOND CINNAMON CRUNCH
Here is a recipe that uses Ceylon Cinnamon that I enjoy as a treat or little gift: It contains a bit of sugar, though.
- 2 cups whole raw almonds
- 3 tablespoons raw honey
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons almond oil or coconut oil
- 1/8 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon ground Ceylon Cinnamon
Now do this
- Roast almonds in single layer in a 350-degree oven on a tray lined with parchment paper for about 15 minutes or until deeper in color.
- While almonds are roasting, combine honey, water, oil, and vanilla in a medium sized pan and let it come to a boil. Keep warm.
- Combine sugar, salt, and cinnamon in small bowl. Set aside.
- Add almonds to the honey mixture and stir until well coated and until almonds have soaked up the mixture, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the nuts back to the parchment paper in a single layer and sprinkle with cinnamon mixture.
- Allow cooling.
- Store in sealed container.
*U.S. Department of Agriculture