Cinnamon is the brown skin of the cinnamon tree, which is dried, rolled up and taken into shape, known as the cinnamon stick. Cinnamon can be found in the form of rods or cinnamon powder.
There are about a hundred varieties Cinnamonum verum (the scientific name for cinnamon), but Ceylon cinnamon and Chinese cinnamon are leading as the most consumed varieties. Ceylon cinnamon is also known as "true cinnamon", while the Chinese - as "cassia". Although both are relatively similar characteristics and are fragrant, sweet and warm taste, the aroma of Ceylon cinnamon is more refined and powerful.
Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices. It is mentioned in the Bible and was used in ancient Egypt not only as a drink for flavor and medicine, but also as a means of embalming. It was considered even more valuable than gold. Around this time, it became popular in China. Later it became one of the most popular spices in medieval Europe. Due to its demand, cinnamon is one of the first commodities traded regularly between the Middle East and Europe.
Ceylon cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean, while Cassia is mainly produced in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Composition of Cinnamon
Cinnamon contains large amounts of essential oils, cinnamaldehyde, gum, starch, eugenol and tannins. Cinnamon is an excellent source of manganese and a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium and iron. Two teaspoons of cinnamon contain 11.84 calories and 0.16 g fat.
Selecting and storing cinnamon
You can buy Cinnamon in the form of cinnamon sticks or powder. Cinnamon sticks can be stored for longer than cinnamon powder, but is much more strongly flavored. The quality of cinnamon speaks by its odor, which must be sweet, loud and clear. Cinnamon must be stored in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark, dry place. Cinnamon powder lasts about six months, cinnamon sticks remain fresh for even more than one year. Better ability to increase the shelf life of cinnamon is its storage in a refrigerator.
Culinary use of cinnamon
Cinnamon has many uses in cooking - used in many cakes, pastries, milk and chocolate drinks. It’s used as an ingredient in fruit drinks, mulled wine, honey and tea. One of the most popular applications of cinnamon is a favorite to many rice pudding. Cinnamon is one of the healthiest sugar substitutes, so if you want to live a healthy start to tamper it with a cup of coffee with a spoonful of cinnamon.
Cinnamon sticks are an elegant accessory that can present refined coffee to guests. Cinnamon stick inserted in the sugar bowl adds a nice flavor as the white and the brown sugar. Arrange a festive Christmas table with cinnamon sticks - they impart a very cozy appearance.
Benefits of cinnamon
The unique properties of the curative cinnamon come from three types of essential oils contained in its bark. These oils contain active components called cinemaldehyde, sinemilatset and alcohol, as well as a wide range of other volatile substances. General benefits of cinnamon to our health are:
- Anti- clotting action. Cinemaldehyde is well studied for its effects on blood platelets. It helps prevent unwanted clotting of blood platelets.
Ability of cinnamon to reduce the release of arachidonic acid from cellular membranes puts it in the category of anti-inflammatory foods.
- Antimicrobial action. Cinnamon has the ability to help inhibit the growth of both bacteria and fungi, including the commonly problematic Candida yeast.
- Control of blood sugar. The content of high carbohydrate food with cinnamon can help to reduce blood sugar. Cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after a meal, which results in less increase in blood glucose after a meal. Therefore cinnamon spice is very valuable in the fight against type 2 diabetes.
- The smell increases brain activity;
- The content of calcium and fiber in cinnamon improve intestinal health and protect against heart disease;
- Cinnamon is a traditional remedy for warming you up.
In addition to the active ingredients in essential oils and nutrients, cinnamon is also known in medicine and especially in Chinese medicine, with its qualities of heating and warming up. Therefore, cinnamon is used as an aid in the cold or flu and helps a lot to warm you, especially when mixed with tea.
Dangers of cinnamon
Cinnamon is not an allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts goytrogens, oxalates and purines. However, in some cases, it can cause an allergic reaction in some people and there is increase in appetite, which is a prerequisite for gaining extra pounds. Pregnant women should be careful with the consumption of cinnamon, because high doses of the spice becomes a uterine stimulant.
Weight Loss with cinnamon
Weight Loss with cinnamon may be one of the most successful and at the same time healthy tactics to eliminate excess weight. Nutritionists recommend the intake of cinnamon must be accurate, which means - in the morning on an empty stomach and at night before bed to drink a cup of cinnamon tea. The second important rule after drinking cinnamon is not to consume food for at least one hour. Prepare cinnamon tea by mixing half a teaspoon of cinnamon and a spoonful of honey, and then brew them in a cup of hot water.