Cinnamon can be a great addition to a homemade spice blend and to a supplement regime. Here’s why:
There are four main types of cinnamon:
- Ceylon / True / Mexican cinnamon, (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
- Cassia / Chinese cinnamon, (Cinnamomum aromaticum)
- Indonesian cinnamon (Cinnamomum burmanni)
- Vietnamese cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureiroi)
Ceylon cinnamon is the most well-known, with its mild taste, softer texture, and lightly coloured rolled layers. It also has very low levels of coumarin, a carcinogenic and liver-harming phytochemical1. On the other hand, Cassia cinnamon harbours greater amounts of coumarin so take care when buying.
Health Benefits of Ceylon cinnamon
- Balance blood sugar levels
Cinnamon has been shown to enhance the responsiveness of fat cells to insulin2, the hormone which regulates sugar metabolism and consequently controls blood glucose levels. As I am currently experimenting with a more intense ketogenic protocol (as opposed to a low-carb, high-fat one with refeeds), spicing my meals with cinnamon is a great way to ensure my blood sugar levels don’t rise above a certain level after eating.
- Aids digestion
In Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon is considered a remedy for digestive issues, as well as respiratory and gynaecological ailments3.
- Improves cognitive function
In one study, the participants’ performance was monitored as they carried out cognitive tasks under various conditions, either chewing flavoured gum (cinnamon, peppermint, cherry, or no flavour), or smelling different odours (cinnamon, peppermint, jasmine, or no odour). In both phases of the experiment, increased virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual motor response speed was noted in those who were subjected to cinnamon.
Cinnamon can help fight bacteria, viruses, and fungal infections4 5. The combination of its antiseptic properties and anti-inflammatory antioxidants explains why it was traditionally used to help heal the body from colds, flu, fevers, and headaches.
How I Use Cinnamon
- Spice blends
I previously disliked the taste of cinnamon but grinding a stick with some other spices, such as cardamom and cumin, creates a warming blend to add on top of meat, fish, and vegetables – it really is versatile!
- Ice cream
Following a similar method to my Mocha Ice Cream, a touch of cinnamon adds to the sweetness.
I only drink herbal teas and cinnamon is often added into shop-bought blends. I much prefer the taste of freshly ground cinnamon so I blitz a stick to make my own tea infusion – the added bonus is that you can control the amount and flavour combinations.