Cinnamon is everyone’s favourite spice. Warming, delicious and great in sweet and savoury dishes it’s incredibly versatile for cooking and super healthy! Cinnamon is one of the spices that everyone has used since childhood, from cakes to cookies, chocolate to curry it’s so versatile and easy to use and also has so many medicinal properties.
Cinnamon has been used for centuries and it’s origins date back to ancient Egypt. It was highly revered and rare and valuable, and given as a gift to kings. Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of the cinnamon tree. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed from it.
When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. The sticks can be ground to form cinnamon powder.
The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part, which is very high in a compound called cinnamaldehyde. It is this compound that is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and metabolism.
Cinnamon is high in antioxidants which protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon wound up as the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano. In fact, it is so powerful that cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative.
It is high in anti-inflammatories which help the body to repair and fight infections, and help lower the risk of disease. Cinnamon has also been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, lowering bad cholesterol in the body, and lowering high blood pressure. Cinnamon is well known for its blood sugar lowering effects. Apart from the beneficial effects on insulin resistance, cinnamon can lower blood sugar by several other mechanisms.
Cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal, which it does this by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract. This makes it very useful for people with diabetes and can be felt when taking 1-6 grams per day.
As it is a warming spice it has been used in Ayurveda to balance doshas and for people with weak digestion as it warms the digestive fire. In every way cinnamon is warm and comforting and it tastes great!
So many ways to use this delicious spice! Spice up your smoothies, add to juices if your feeling cold, add to cakes, chocolate, morning porridge, curry’s, cinnamon rolls, dusted on cakes for decoration, and added to nut milk for a nourishing and comforting evening drink. Cinnamon heaven!