Cinnamon nutritional benefits

Hi!

So I think I have a bit of a love affair with cinnamon..yep, I said it, don’t hold it against me! Put some Greek yoghurt in front of me, and I swear I will instantly pull the vanilla essence, stevia and cinnamon out of the cupboard and mix it through; To be fair, if I wanted a sweet omelette I would actually use exactly the same ingredients and mix it through as I scramble up the egg mixture before throwing it on the pan!

A BARLEYmax "pancake" topped with strawberries and greek yoghurt - 100% there is cinnamon in the egg mixture I coated the wrap in before I heated it on the stove!

A BARLEYmax “pancake” topped with strawberries and greek yoghurt – 100% there is cinnamon in the egg mixture I coated the wrap in before I heated it on the stove!face

Spices are one of the oldest commodities used and traded around the world, and for a number of reasons it’s not hard to see why these delicate, and aromatic powders are so popular. Sourced from the root, bark, and seeds of plants, spices are the essential element (at least in my eyes) needed to add flavour, colour, and fragrance to any dish!

In addition, spices have been used traditionally by native growers for their medicinal properties, which are now being explored to a greater extent through scientific research.

I am very excited by some of the recent findings, and have decided to share the good news with you all. In this post I thought I would go into a little more depth on one of my favourites, cinnamon.

Cinnamon

 

Cinnamon is a wonderful sweet spice, perfect for dusting over Chai latte’s, adding to a smoothie, or as I mentioned above, mixing through a variety of bases to your hearts content (you can actually even add it in a curry dish together with nutmeg for an authentic flavour).

Current research suggests that cinnamon may also play a role in the management of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM)..now this is something worth looking at a bit deeper given the current ever increasing trend for their development in the developed world.

MetS is a condition that is characterised by a combination of factors, which can include obesity, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, high blood pressure, and/or elevated blood glucose levels.

Luckily enough, some crafty scientists have discovered that adding as little as 1 teaspoon of cinnamon per day to your diet could potentially help regulate more effectively blood sugar levels, and improve total cholesterol.

Similarly, the same study revealed that adding cinnamon to your diet may increase levels of antioxidants in the blood, which is especially important for those with MetS, as higher oxidation rates are associated with this condition.

 

(references)

  1. Richard A, Anderson, 2008, ‘Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity’, Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 67, 48–53
  2. Eva Kassi, Panagiota Pervanidou, Gregory Kaltsas and George Chrousos, 2011, ‘Metabolic syndrome: definitions and controversies’, BMC Medicine, 9:48

 

I actually read an article just a few days ago about how there are particular extracts of cinnamon that are water soluble which appear to have stronger positive effects on regulating blood sugar levels than just any sort of regular cinnamon, and my guess is that this research is going to help shape cinnamon based medicinal products in the future.

Either way, as you can see from the above referenced articles, it is probably best not to be stingy with yourself when it comes to adding cinnamon into your dishes! In my eyes, the best part is that cinnamon is so versatile, and you can add it to foods like porridge or muffins and create a sweeter flavour, or you could use it in savoury dishes, such as pumpkin soup or curries.

Given the weather is starting to cool down here in the USA, and it hasn’t yet reached summer in Australia, I thought I would share a poached fruit recipe for those wanting a hot dish (which will taste great cold as well for those with a temperature preference!). I hope you enjoy!

For now,

TD x

Recipe – Cinnamon and Orange Poached Pears

Ingredients:

  • 3 Bosc pears, peeled
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/2 cup Orange Muscat
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 orange, juiced and peel

Method:

  1. Take the peeled pears and insert 2 cloves into the flesh of each one.
  2. Place the pears, spices, water and Muscat into a medium pot.
  3. Add the juice and rind of the orange to the pot of pears, and cook on medium heat until pears are just tender.
  4. Remove the pears from the pot and take out the cloves.
  5. Return liquid to a medium-high heat and boil for 10 minutes until it has reduced to a syrup-like consistency.
  6. Serve the pears with the syrup and natural Greek yogurt.

Cinnamon

About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in New York City. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, and barre class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea in how to make this world a healthier and better place.

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