Fall is here and one of the biggest flavors that starts popping up around us is cinnamon. I know most of you would have said pumpkin, which is true, but every pumpkin spice ‘something’ out there has cinnamon in it as a main ingredient, so cinnamon gets the shout out today (but oh, how I LOVE pumpkin pie!).
A short bit of background: Cinnamon is an amazing spice that contains calcium, fiber, iron and manganese and has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda medicine to remedy illness. The bark of the cinnamon tree contains healing, essential oils as well. These oils are considered an ‘anti-microbial” food and have been studied for its ability to stop the growth of bacteria and fungi.
Cinnamon has been found to lessen the impact of high carb foods on your blood sugar levels and slows the rate of digestion as seen in recent research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which states that cinnamon may help you better regulate your blood-glucose levels.
The December 2003 issue of Diabetes Care also reported a study with type 2 diabetics that showed not only reduced blood sugar, but lower triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.
But there is so much more cinnamon does for the body:
- It can improve brain function and memory just by smelling it.
- It has been used in TCM to provide relief for the onset of a cold or the flu (best when mixed in a tea with fresh ginger)
- It’s been used in Chinese medicine for improving indigestion, cramps and circulation
- When combined with honey, its been known to relieve arthritis pain
- Stabilizing blood sugar helps in weight loss
Now, all that being said, I don’t recommend you start over-doing the cinnamon consumption. In large doses it can be toxic, so adding it to your diet in small doses is the best way to gain its benefits. No, this is not permission to eat as many Cinnabons as you want!
Here are six ways to add cinnamon to your day:
- add it to a smoothie
- add it to a bowl of hot oatmeal
- roast sweet potatoes with honey and cinnamon
- have a cup of ginger tea and add a pinch of cinnamon
- simmer almond milk with cinnamon sticks for a warm beverage in place of hot cocoa.
- as a treat, spread raw honey on a piece of toasted sprouted grain bread and sprinkle the top with some cinnamon
What’s your favorite way to use cinnamon?
Enjoy the fall season and a burst of cinnamon in your life!