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  • Jacquie Harper

Cinnamon – an Extraordinary Spice

Cinnamon can be substituted for foods we shouldn’t eat too much of, like sugar.

It not only smells divine, tastes great (can be used to sweeten foods) but it is also good for you. It is the most widely researched spice, with Cinnamomum zeylanicum, also known as Ceylon cinnamon being the safest form to use regularly as part of the diet. Many health benefits have been reported.


Cinnamon:

  • is rich in antioxidants to scavenge free radicals

  • is anti-inflammatory - down regulates (reduces) inflammatory pathways

  • helps control blood sugar levels in type two diabetes

  • reduces cardiovascular disease, by decreasing LDL cholesterol

  • is anti-microbial, particularly against gram positive food borne bacteria like staphylococcus aureus (it dissolves the cell membrane wall causing oxidative damage and disrupts their enzymatic activity)

  • boosts cognitive function due to high phytochemical content (biologically active compounds found in plants), which boost the brains ability to utilise glucose

  • reduces the risk of colon cancer.

Uses

Cinnamon is a sweet spice that can be used in foods as a natural sweetener, to help replace the need for sugar.


Breakfast

Add it to coffee or tea, add a tsp to hot chocolate or turmeric soy drinks, in smoothies add ½ tsp, sprinkle over porridge, or add to home-made cereals.


Snacks

Instead of carbs, chocolate or coffee, try a protein-rich snack with cinnamon that will give you even energy, rather than a spike in blood sugar - Greek yogurt with berries and cinnamon, cottage cheese, walnuts and cinnamon. Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon, use in baking, sprinkle on muffins.

Lunch, dinner, dessert

Simmer cinnamon sticks in curries, stir into mashed kumara (sweet potato), add to desserts (goes particularly well with apple), or on rice pudding.


Post-meal tea

Make a spicy, sweet tea that tastes great. Simmer a cinnamon stick with grated ginger (for digestion) in water for 20 mins. Make enough for the week so you can enjoy each evening. You could also add in a tea bag if you feel like more traditional tea.

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