The Goodness of Cinnamon.
Cinnamon!! The strong woody scent that wafts through the kitchen,when cinnamon rolls and other baked goodies are made. Not to speak of the curries that have an added aroma, when a pinch of cinnamon is added,making us go in for extra helpings,much more than the stomach asks for. I, guess I inherited this penchant of adding this spice to curries from the family kitchen. I have shared the “secret” to tasty food, with “The Hubby”, who cooks up a meal now and then especially when he is alone, just for that extra rich taste.
Cinnamon, is believed to be one of the oldest spices in the world,dating back to ancient Egypt as early as 2000BC.From there it travelled to Europe and then to Central Asia,where the Arabs got monopoly in this rich spice trade.It was only in the 16th centuary, that the Portugese discovered Cinnamon in Ceylon,or Sri lanka, as is now known, that the monopoly ceased.
Where does this spice come from?
This aromatic condiment is obtained from the inner barks of the cinnamomon tree.When cinnamon is harvested,the bark is stripped dried in the sun. As it dries,it curls into sticks,known as quills.The cinnamon is sold in the market either as quills/sticks or ground into powder.Ground cinnamon is sourced from the older bark found on the lower parts of the tree. Many varieties are found, but the ones that are popular are the ones from Sri lanka, known as “true Cinnamon” and is used world over.Other varieties are known as cassia.Ceylon cinnamon is grown in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Brazil, India, and the Caribbean.It is less pungent than the other varieties.It is sweet.Cassia cinnamon comes from China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Benefits of Cinnamon
1.High Medicinal properties: It is high in a substance called cinnamaldehyde, which is responsible for most of the health benefits.It is known to cure cough and cold.Scratchy and irritable throat?Drink some cinnamon infused water, and you are better.Warm water with cinnamon and a few drops of honey can relieve you from that dreadful cold Nose Congestion? Inhale the vapor arising out of boiling a few sticks in water.
2.Powerhouse of Anti oxidants:Due to its antioxidant ability, a little as a half a teaspoon of this powder can have positive effects on blood sugar levels,immunity and more. The different antioxidants present in cinnamon help to reduce a multitude of symptoms and diseases.
3. Good for the Heart: Another health benefit of cinnamon is that it reduces few of the common risk factors for heart diseases, including high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels and high blood pressure.
4.Helps fight Diabetes:Cinnamon is known to have an anti-diabetic effect. It helps lower blood sugar levels.
5. Cinnamon Helps Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections: Cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon has anti fungal and anti bacterial properties, which may reduce infections and help fight tooth decay and bad breath. As such,cinnamon oil is often found in mouth washes and tooth pastes.
6. For a better Digestion:Cinnamon improves digestion and aids in the absorbtion of food.Its anti bacterial properties heals infection in the digestive tract.Cinnamon tea relieves upset stomach or cramps.
7. For Beautiful Hair and Skin: Cinnamon is known to improve blood circulation of the scalp.A hair mask with cinnamon powder, a few drops of olive oil and honey can be massaged on the scalp to strengthen hair roots and promote hair growth, if used regularly.
8.As a Natural Anaesthetic:It is said to relieve pain like sinus,arthritis and oesteoporosis. A combination of cinnamon powder, honey and ginger gives relief for such pains.
9.Helps in Weight Loss:Boil a mixture of half or one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, one teaspoon of honey and a cup of water.Drink the mix twice a day, once before breakfast and before going to bed at night.A regular use may help you shed a few kilos.
10.Helps you fight Fatigue:Half a tablespoon of honey, in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, taken twice a day increases the vitality of the body. You feel more invigorated and refreshed.
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Well, a pinch of cinnamon powder can aid one to lead a more healthy life. And cinnamon can be eaten in any way.If you start your day with a glass of warm water with lemon and honey, add a pinch of cinnamon powder to it. It will do no harm. In fact, it will aid in weight loss and protect you from infections.Cinnamon can be added to almost anything, your protein drinks,in smoothies, your midday cup of coffee.And if you are hungry, add it to your freshly toasted bread with a dash of honey and thinly sliced fruits like bananas or apples.It is yummy! And not to forget your dishes,served the Indian way!