Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. It is used mainly as an aromatic condiment and flavouring additive in a wide variety of cuisines, sweet and savoury dishes, breakfast cereals, snacks, tea, and traditional foods. Cinnamon has a variety of use because of its amazing health benefits.
TYPES OF CINNAMON
Cinnamon is categorized into two (2) types, which are: Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon. They are both harvested in sheets found beneath the bark of trees belonging to the same scientific family, but they produce distinctly different products. The two types of cinnamon are differentiated by the way they are harvested, their smell, taste, and the chemical compounds found in them.
- Cassia Cinnamon: This is the most common type of cinnamon you can easily find in grocery stores. It is mostly cultivated in Southern China and Southeast Asia. Cassia cinnamon roll in thicker sheets, in its bark-like form, is rougher in texture, darker in color, its flavor is more intense, so a little bit of the powder goes a long way. Is commonly used for home cooking and industrial production. Cassia cinnamon has some health benefits and is safe when consumed in small to moderate amounts, but may cause health problems when consuming in large doses due to the high content of coumarin. Consuming too much coumarin may affect coagulation. Therefore, people taking anticoagulants, diabetics patient,s and those that suffer liver condition should speak with their health care providers before adding high doses of cassia cinnamon to their diet.
- Ceylon Cinnamon: This variety of cinnamon is usually referred to as ‘’True’’ cinnamon. It is native to Sri Lanka. It’s a little more expensive and not as commonly found in the grocery stores like the cassia variety of cinnamon. When harvested the sheet can be processed by hand and roll into flat layers, it is thinner and finer in texture, lighter color, the taste, and aroma are milder and delicate. It possesses properties that contribute to many health benefits. Ceylon cinnamon is safer because it contains a smaller amount of coumarin contents.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
- Cinnamon Contain Substance with Powerful Medicinal Properties
Cinnamon contains a potent chemical component called cinnamaldehyde, this compound is responsible for the spicy taste, flavour, and colour of cinnamon. It may be responsible for the cinnamon’s health benefits. Cinnamaldehyde has antifungal and antibacterial properties which may reduce infections and improve overall health.
2. It is Loaded with Antioxidants
Cinnamon contains a large number of polyphenol antioxidants. An antioxidant that can help protect the body against diseases and also provide anti-inflammatory effects, improves brain function, reduce and control blood sugar levels, prevent cancer and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
3. Blood Sugar Control
Consuming cinnamon has been confirmed by scientists to control blood sugar levels and in the treatment of diabetes. Cinnamon helps the body respond to insulin more effectively and regulate sugar levels.
4. Prevent Cancer
Cinnamaldehyde possesses some anti-tumour and anti-cancer properties. It reduces the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumours, reduces and combats the proliferation of cancer cells in the body.
5. Increase Memory, Alertness, and Cognitive Development
Cinnamon is used as a physical and emotional stimulant. It has a sweet, spicy-hot aroma that can enhance cognitive functions and boost memory by smelling it. Adding cinnamon to a dish can improve quality sleep and reduce stress too.
6. Effective Against Arthritis/Osteoporosis
Cinnamon has potent anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce and give a calming effect on muscle ache that is associated with arthritis. As a potent anticoagulant, it improves blood circulation.
7. Aid Weight Loss
Research also indicates that cinnamon’s effect on blood glucose levels can also help your body lose some weight and manage food cravings. It makes the body more energetic and revitalizing.
8. Treats Cold, Sore Throat, and Cough
In traditional medicine, cinnamon has been used to improve oral health, treat cold, bronchitis, and cough. The polyphenols help boost immunity naturally, it also loaded with antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.
9. Ease Stomach Discomfort
Its aids proper digestion of food and alleviate intestinal discomfort. It has cleansing and soothing properties on the stomach. It relieves upset stomach, gas, and diarrhoea and improves colon function.
10. As Preservatives in Food
Cinnamon is a natural food preservative, adding some pinch of it to your food and drink give a slight touch of spiciness and preserve it for a long time. It also prevents the proliferation of bacteria that can cause food spoilage and may result in food-borne diseases.