Cinnamon is a trademark of autumn and winter desserts, however is more versatile than many might suspect, and has many unknown health benefits. Read up on this delicious spice below.
- ...can soothe a stomach ache. A pinch of cinnamon in your tea or lemon water is good for an upset stomach. Its essential oils have a soothing effect, while its tanning agents and other secondary plant substances have been shown to help calm a range of stomach issues.
- ...stimulates digestion. By stimulating intestinal activity, cinnamon can make heavy food more digestible. It also ease gas and feelings of fullness after heavy meals.
- ...can have a calming effect. Depending on the variety and quality, cinnamon can contain 0.5-4 % of the essential oils cinnamaldehyde and eugenol, which give cinnamon their typical taste and scent and can also induce a warming and pleasant calming effect.
- ...can be good for diabetics. Some research has indicated that cinnamon can have a balancing effect on blood sugar level.
What You Should Know About Cinnamon
Cinnamon originates from Ceylon, or what is modern-day Sri Lanka. After colonizing the area, the Portuguese became the first Europeans to begin integrating the spice. Later, when the Dutch took power, they took over the cinnamon monopoly as well. They defended it by all means, even making it a crime punishable by death to plant a cinnamon bush in one's own garden. When the British conquered Ceylon, the Dutch moved the cultivation of cinnamon trees to Indonesia, and soon the island state was producing far more cinnamon than Ceylon. This is how the two varieties were created, as they can still be bought today: Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon. Genuine Ceylon cinnamon usually comes on the market in the original stick form, while cassia cinnamon is mainly ground and sold as powder.
Cinnamon originates from India, but today is grown in numerous countries, including China.
Whether it is a stick or powder, cinnamon is available all year round.
Cinnamon has a very distinct, intense taste that is spicy and yet pleasantly sweet.
How Healthy Is Cinnamon?
Depending on the quality or type (Ceylon or Cassia) cinnamon contains varieties contain 0.5 to 4 percent of the essential oils cinnamaldehyde and eugen oil, which provide the typical taste and scent of cinnamon and also gives it a warming and slightly calming effect. It is the essential oils in cinnamon that have a beneficial effect on the stomach and intestines, making heavy food more digestible and protecting against gas and feelings of fullness after rich meals.
|Cinnamon Nutritional Info (100 g)|
Shopping and Cooking Tips
Cassia cinnamon sticks consist of a relatively thick, rolled up bark, while the finer quality Ceylon cinnamon has many thin layers that resemble a sliced cigar. Another distinguishing feature is the price: Ceylon cinnamon cost considerably more than cassia sticks. In the case of ground cinnamon, the packaging states which variety it is.
Cinnamon is best kept in a well-sealed container protected from light and heat. Cinnamon sticks keep for several years. With ground cinnamon, the essential oils and aroma evaporate faster. It’s best to buy only small quantities of each.
If you want your ground cinnamon to be as aromatic and flavorful as possible, it’s best to make your own. Simply take a piece of stick cinnamon and grind it in a mortar.
What To Make With Cinnamon
Cinnamon adds a delicious, nutty yet slightly sweet taste that can be used in a wide array of recipes. It’s great in winter-time desserts, of course, like cakes and pies, but also lends a delicious, interesting flavor to meat dishes and marinades.