Published: 03/04/2016 - Updated: 08/14/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
When we think of cinnamon, usually we always immediately imagine some sweet and tempting dessert that is prepared with it and we consider it as a "no" in our diet, but it is not just for desserts. Cinnamon is an Asian spice used for centuries and its benefits will surprise you if you did not already know about them.
Before speaking about its benefits, it is important to stop for a minute and look at this unique bark; the cinnamon is the bark from the tree "Cinnamomum" which, believe it or not, is a distant relative of the aromatic laurel (bay tree). It was one of the spices that soon became popular in the Mediterranean and the Egyptians employed it for different uses, such as embalming. Of course in many cultures it has simply been used to enhance and add flavour to foods. Its use became so widespread that today it is hard to find in shops. In order for you to begin making use of its advantages besides using it to flavour sweets and desserts, today I share the benefits of this fragrant tree bark.
First of all, we can differentiate cinnamon into two groups and, as such, provide both flavours and aromas as benefits. So when choosing the species, it is important to know how to get the benefits and culinary results we seek:
Cinnamon from Sri Lanka or Ceylon is a type of cinnamon most common in Latin America. Its flavor is mild and sweet, it is distinguished by a lighter colour and is wound in a spiral; This type of Cinnamon is a good source of antioxidants.
Cassia cinnamon: Normally it is wound into two spirals, is less brittle and more resistant; with a more intense, bitter and burning taste. Among its benefits are that it helps us control blood sugar levels.
Benefits of Cinnamon
- A source of antioxidants: As mentioned earlier, Cinnamon is a source of antioxidants which result in the body as an anti-ageing agent, as well as being an ally against cancer.
- Regulates Blood Sugar: It can help regulate sugar levels, which brings multiple benefits for people with diabetes.
- Accelerates metabolism: One of the great benefits of this spice is to help activate your metabolism, which can be especially helpful if you are trying to lose weight.
- Improves cardiovascular health: Due to its sugar regulating benefits, it can also help reduce levels of bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol levels.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Cinnamon has relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties, so consuming it can help reduce inflammation, as well as using cinnamon oil to treat sore muscles.
- Helps combat stress: A cinnamon tea infusion is perfect for aiding us to combat the stress of everyday life, as it helps us to recover from mental fatigue and allows us to improve concentration.
- Antimicrobial activity: not used for nothing as one of the spices in the ancient Egyptian embalming process, its antimicrobial power can be very useful to ensure the consumption of safe food.
Now that you know some of the benefits of cinnamon, you just need to learn how to incorporate them into your diet in a balanced and appropriate manner. While it has great virtues, it is also important to consume it in moderation.
A simple way to make it part of your diet is to include it in hot drinks: Add a pinch of cinnamon to your tea or drink an infusion of cinnamon. Another way to make it part of your daily diet is to incorporate a bit into your stews: You can find delicious roast vegetable roast with cinnamon, or cinnamon spiced chicken for example.
Finally, desserts and muffins are another way to incorporate it into your diet. Remember that while some of the desserts are prepared with cinnamon, that does not mean that they should be completely devoured. One serving (one muffin unit) is an ideal amount to incorporate into your diet and enjoy the cinnamon, while eating a delicious dessert at the same time.
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To give you a push in the right direction for preparing innovative dishes in order to take advantage of this ingredient, here I will share an easy recipe with you:
Roasted pumpkin and carrot with Cinnamon
- 400 gr. Roasted pumpkin or the like
- 2 Carrots
- 3 tbsp. Maple syrup or agave syrup
- 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
- 1 ½ tsp. Ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. Ginger
- Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1. Chop the pumpkin into small cubes and dice or do the same with both carrots.
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2. Place in a bowl or deep container and add all of the remaining ingredients,
Mix with your hands or a large spoon to make sure all items are evenly distributed.
3. Empty the mixture onto a tray and separate roughly the same distance apart to roast them.
4. Bake at 200°C for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked and have a golden brown colour.
5. This recipe is perfect to serve as an accompaniment to a wide variety of meals, including chicken, pasta, fish or pork.
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