There are few spices that can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes. Cinnamon is one of them. This spice is derived from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. The name also describes its particular medium brown colour.
There are a number of species of commercial cinnamon available in the market, but two of them are most prominent. The first one is Cinnamomum cassia which is your most common commercial type of cinnamon. The second one is Cinnamomum verum or Ceylon cinnamon, which is said to be “true” cinnamon and is believed to be more beneficial to health (due to the presence of significant amounts of coumarin) than the common kind.
The spice makes its way into chicken and lamb dishes and into pastries, toasts, cereals, and fruits such as apples. It is also added to specialty drinks such as eggnog or alcoholic beverages like Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. Not only does cinnamon add lots of flavour to food, it also has a ton of health benefits.
Cinnamon is such an important spice, that it was given as gifts to kings! It is famous for its healing properties and its beneficial effects on health and metabolism. For example, did you know that cinnamon can reduce the risk of diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels? It improves the body’s glucose intake by decreasing the amount of glucose absorbed in your bloodstream and by slowing down the breakdown of carbohydrates. It also helps reduce insulin resistance by improving insulin sensitivity which in turn can help fight the onset of conditions like type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Cinnamon can also help reduce the risk of heart disease. It lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides levels without reducing the levels of good cholesterol.
A compound in cinnamon called Cinnamaldehyde is the key factor to its healing properties. The very same compound is significant in its ability to fight off fungal and bacterial infection. Not only does it help fight off infection, it helps in reducing inflammation as well.
Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants, you know, those substances that prevent or delay cell damage caused by damaging oxidising agents. Antioxidants are famous for helping keep our cells young and healthy. Its antioxidant properties can also help with reducing chronic inflammation that can damage tissues. Imagine how cool it is that you could get all these health benefits from a small dash of cinnamon in your drink?
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