If you peek into the spice cabinet of your next door neighbor, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find a jar of cinnamon sitting somewhere among the mass of once-used jars we all seem to collect. Typically used in baked delights or creamy hot breakfasts, cinnamon is one of those spices people just have. While cinnamon is rarely considered by the average cook before autumn, it’s a spice that can be used year round, thanks to its amazing taste and incredible health benefits.
Superfood Spotlight: Cinnamon
Like ginger and turmeric (two of our previous superfood spotlight foods), cinnamon is a readily available spice that has been used medicinally by eastern cultures for centuries. It’s an anti-inflammatory that is high in antioxidant polyphenols. Even more, it contains cinnamaldehyde, a compound that kills bacteria and acts as an agricultural fungicide! And you thought it was just tasty in cookies.
While cinnamon is still being studied by medical professionals, recent findings show that cinnamon:
- May lower blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes
- May reduce total cholesterol and lower LDL levels
- Is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease
- May reduce inflammation in the body
- May reduce fasting blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity
- Supports digestion and helps eliminate intestinal gas
Like we mentioned in our dark chocolate post, it’s important to be aware of the quality of cinnamon you choose (and be careful with how much you consume). Your first step is to make sure you choose a cinnamon that is actually made from cinnamon bark (many pre-ground varieties contain fillers and stabilizers).
Furthermore, there are two man varieties of cinnamon commercially available: Ceylon and cassia. Both types claim to be “true” cinnamon and provide the greatest health benefits, but there have not been enough studies to determine either way. As we advise with all dietary suggestions, do what feels good to you and don’t stress about the small details.
So have we encouraged you to dig for you cinnamon bottle yet? Good! There are tons of different ways to get a healthy serving of cinnamon in your day, regardless of season; we encourage you to experiment. Some of our favorite ways to enjoy cinnamon are:
- Sprinkled on top of your favorite kefir smoothie bowl
- Dusted over apples and peanut butter
- Steeped in tea with fresh ginger and honey
- Stirred in with kefir, oatmeal and walnuts
- Baked in your favorite cookie
As always, the information provided here is for reference and not intended to replace medical advice. Please consult with your doctor regarding your health and how cinnamon may be beneficial to you before increasing your consumption of it.