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Cinnamon and its benefits

What is Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a spice extracted from the bark, leaves, flowers, and roots of the Cinnamon tree. Though it is mainly used as an additive flavor in various cuisines it is very well known for its medicinal properties around the world. There are different types of cinnamon available but the two most commonly used are Ceylon or Cassia, with Cassia being more popular among the common household. Widely regarded as one of the finest spices, the aromatic properties of this eccentric spice are just delightfully warm and pleasing. Personally brings back a few fainted memories of the butter cookies that my grandma used to make.

Nutritional facts of cinnamon.

According to a reliable and leading source: WebMD; a single teaspoon of cinnamon includes:

  • About 6 calories
  • About 0.1 gram of protein
  • About 0.03 grams of fat
  • About 2 grams of carbohydrates
  • About 1 gram of fiber
  • About 26 milligrams of calcium
  • About 11 milligrams of potassium
  • About 3 mcg (micrograms) of beta carotene
  • About 8 IU (International Units) of vitamin A

How exactly can cinnamon improve one’s health?

  1.  Improving the digestive system: The antioxidants in cinnamon have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. Cinnamon tends to have prebiotic properties that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and help suppress the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, including it regularly in your diet may help boost your digestive system.
  2. Managing type 2 diabetes: Cinnamon has properties that can moderate and improve glycaemic control along with reducing blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity. This is one of the most astounding and exciting benefits of a daily dose of cinnamon. Certain compounds in cinnamon can imitate the effects of insulin and help regulate blood sugar, a function that is crucial for those with diabetes.
  3. Curing a common cold and cough: A very common home remedy is soaking a cinnamon stick in warm water and drink it with a drop of honey about two-three times a day, You can also boil cinnamon sticks and inhale the vapor to relieve congestion. It relieves nose blocks and gives instant comfort to the throat even when you have a sinus!
  4. Acne and dry skin: Cinnamon can be used as a homemade acne treatment. There are many remedies out there but this one is a personal favorite of mine. Mix some cinnamon powder with rose water and apply. Leave on for 10 minutes, wash off and pat dry.  The anti-microbial properties prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria. It tightens your pores and makes your skin smooth. Antioxidant-rich cinnamon can also be used to make a scrub for rough skin along with honey to restore shine and softness.
  5. As a sanitizer: Amidst all the chaos and the ongoing pandemic, using a sanitizer has become an essential part of our daily life and cinnamon could be just the thing you need to make your own sanitizer. Cinnamon oil has been shown to kill several common and hospital-acquired infections like Streptococcus, MRSA, Staphylococcus, and E. coli. For a natural hand sanitizer, doctors suggest making an aromatic and effective blend called thieves oil, which contains a good amount of cinnamon. Germs don’t stand a chance!

It is worth noting that Cinnamon can also help boost weight loss. A 2017 study published in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental suggested that cinnamaldehyde, a chemical compound that helps give cinnamon its flavor, may help human fat cells burn energy which in turn result in the loss of calories. However, it is not advised to rely on this spice completely for shedding some pounds instead it should be included in a well-balanced diet.

Tips for storing and using Cinnamon.

 Cinnamon is usually stored in the form of Quills, grounded powder, or extracted essential oil. Regardless of the form, it is supposed to be stored in a cool dry place in an airtight container to preserve its aroma and freshness. Quills usually last for a year and powder lasts for around six months. If cinnamon does not smell sweet, it has gone stale and should be discarded.

The pleasure of cooking Cinnamon.

 As an Indian, I never skip my daily cup of tea and the added cinnamon is such a stress buster. The cinnamon quills even when they boil with the tea itself just elates my mood. Another way I use cinnamon is to sprinkle grounded cinnamon powder over my morning smoothies or cereal. During Christmas, baked Cinnamon rolls are a real delight to enjoy the warmth of the festival and its true essence.

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