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Spectacular Cinnamon

Toasty cinnamon raisin bagels, warm apple cinnamon oatmeal, sticky cinnamon buns; cinnamon is that sweet, spicy ingredient in so many of our favorite baked and breakfast treats, but is it more than just a great flavor?

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known in history and was mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible and in ancient Chinese texts dating back to 2700 BC.  Today, researchers have been putting cinnamon to the test, and the findings are very exciting, and tasty!


Bye-bye Bacteria!

Having anti-viral and anti-microbial properties, cinnamon can act as a food preservative by inhibiting bacterial and fungal growth, helping food to stay fresh longer without adding chemical preservatives.  The effects of cinnamon on the bacteria and fungi in the body arestill being studied, but it has historically been used to treat ulcers caused by bacterial overgrowth in the stomach, and may help reduce yeast infections caused by the common strain, Candida albicans.


Super Cinnamon

Much of the current research centers on cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as this may have an impact on many chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.  Cinnamon is high in fiber and manganese with a good source of calcium, and very low in calories, fat, and simple sugars.  The naturally occurring chemicals in cinnamon and its nutrient content have many positive impacts on the body’s inflammatory response, blood sugar metabolism, cholesterol levels, and digestion.  A study conducted on Type II diabetics showed that even just small daily doses (½ tsp) of cinnamon reduced blood sugar levels, and decreased blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which reversed back once the cinnamon was discontinued.  Cinnamon is also a powerful antioxidant, helping to reduce free radicals in the body which can lead to cancer and cardiovascular difficulties.  Most notably, cinnamon has been linked with a reduction in colon cancer.


Smell Yourself Smart

Other research has explored the fragrance of cinnamon and its effects on cognition and brain activity.  Specifically, it showed to have an positive impact on attention, memory, and visual-motor skills in participants.  This is an exciting finding, leading to further research especially for people with declining cognition, such as the elderly.


Sprinkle Here, Sprinkle There

With all these powerful, positive, properties of cinnamon in addition to its “yum” factor, why wouldn’t we want to eat more of it!?  There are plenty of ways to get it into our mouths each and every day.  Add some to your morning breakfast cereal, fruit, oatmeal, toast, or mix it into the cream cheese on your bagel.  Sprinkle onto some apple slices, top off a latte or a scoop of ice cream with a dash, spice up some plain yogurt, or put it in a banana smoothie.  You could even add it into curry, or combine with black beans for a different tasty taco. There are so many ways to celebrate cinnamon and a healthy you and yummy diet!


Dani Bois is on the faculty at VIHW

(info and facts found at http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=68 )