Benefits of Cinnamon-
Cinnamon is one of my new favorite spices. They say your body intuitively knows what it needs, and cinnamon has been popping up everywhere. Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known to man. Ancient Egyptians who used it for flavoring, medicine, and as an embalming agent documented it millenniums ago. At times, it was so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold. The Ancient Chinese were also very aware of its healing properties, mentioning it in one of the earliest books on Chinese botanical medicine dated around 2,700 B.C.
Cinnamon is available in either stick or powder form. When buying it you should smell it first as the sweeter it smells the fresher it is. Fresh is best! Cinnamon should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark, dry place. To check to see if it is still fresh, smell the cinnamon again. If it does not smell sweet, it is no longer fresh and should be discarded.
Cinnamon is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium. Cinnamon may also significantly help people with type 2 diabetes improve their ability to respond to insulin. In Korea and China, it has been used as a traditional spice for treating people with diabetes for centuries. Cinnamon can also help alleviate joint, muscle, and arthritic pain. In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast, had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month!
The scent of cinnamon has also been discovered to help boost your cognitive and memory powers. Results from a research study found that just smelling cinnamon enhanced study participants’ cognitive processing. Specifically, improving participants’ scores on tasks related to attention processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed.
Cinnamon can also help relieve menstrual cramping, vaginal yeast infections (cinnamon extracts are active against Candida Albicans) and urinary tract infections. Some traditional medicine practitioners will give a mother cinnamon in order to induce or normalize contractions, therefore pregnant women in their last trimester may want to avoid it in large amounts.
Cinnamon can also spice up your love life! By motivating the body’s fire energy. In a scientific study testing more than 200 smells to find out which ones aroused men the most, cinnamon came out on top – no pun intended. “We discovered that smelling cinnamon increased the flow of blood to the penis, helping him stay aroused,” says study leader Dr. Alan Hirsch.
I use cinnamon to encourage my boys (who love the sweet taste) to eat healthier. Below are a few simple examples how you can add it to food and dishes to encourage healthy eating.
• Sprinkle it on apple slices to make cinnamon apples.
• Add it to oatmeal if you are trying to wean your children off brand cereal, which is often packed full of sugar.
• Sprinkle it onto baked squash, with a dab of butter.
• Season pumpkin/squash seeds with cinnamon before and during baking.
• Following the Moroccans cue and add a little to couscous or my favorite – quinoa…
Enjoy spicing up your life!
Image Credit: Benedicte Lechrist