Cinnamon

I love autumn. But I’m prejudiced–that’s when I was born. I love it when the weather starts to get cooler, when you can feel a little nip in the air and the leaves start turning brilliant colors, but mostly I love the smell and taste of foods that are associated with the autumn and winter seasons. One of my favorite spices to use during these months is cinnamon.

Along with its wonderful aroma and flavor, cinnamon has some great health benefits. I was recently looking at this website (click the link), which provides extensive information about cinnamon and its background, uses and benefits. Some of these benefits include:
  • Anti-inflammatory--it helps to reduce inflammation
  • Improve blood sugar control for Type 2 diabetics
  • Antioxidant–can help fight diseases and sickness
  • May boost brain function
  • Great source of manganese (this trace mineral has several important functions in the body)
  • Contains dietary fiber, iron and calcium
There have been many recent studies that have researched cinnamon’s effect on blood sugars as well as brain function. For more detailed information about this, check out the website provided above.
So, how can we incorporate cinnamon into the meals we eat? I love the ideas provided by the website above, including:
  • Healthy cinnamon toast–drizzle a little flax seed oil onto a slice of wholegrain toast and sprinkle with cinnamon and honey (you could also use a canola or olive oil-based margarine spread in place of flax seed oil)
  • Delicious warming beverage–simmer cinnamon sticks with soy milk and honey (or you could add cinnamon to your favorite hot chocolate recipe)
  • Black beans–add ground cinnamon to black beans that will be used in burritos or nachos. This gives the beans a delicious, unique flavor
Other ideas for incorporating cinnamon include:
  • Add ground cinnamon to oatmeal for a healthy breakfast
  • Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top of sweet potatoes for a delicious snack or side at dinner
  • Try adding cinnamon to fruit and yogurt smoothies
  • Add cinnamon to curry dishes
It’s a wonderful time of year to start including cinnamon in recipes and meals. So spice up your autumn with cinnamon.
Just a word of caution: before taking a cinnamon supplement or pill, consult with your physician, as large amounts of cinnamon can interact with certain medications.
Rachel Cope MPH, RC, CD