Everyone has been talking about the miracle powers of acai berry and even goji berry. In breaking news, I'd like to introduce you to a more common miracle worker, cinnamon. Cinnamon can officially join the ranks with acai berry, goji and any big contender in the world of miracle diets and diet scams. This common friend of toast, cereal and cookies has finally gotten the attention it deserves for its amazing nutritional value. I’m not suggesting we package up a new diet based on cinnamon alone, but let’s take a moment to learn about what it is and what it can do for us.
Our old spice-cupboard favorite is a tree that grows in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam and Egypt (coincidentally a number of places on my travel list). Even though we tend to think of cinnamon as one spice, there are four major varieties. The one you add to your oatmeal in the morning is probably cassia, but if you want to woo friends with a sweeter, more expensive variety you can track down the good stuff, Ceylon (http://altmedicine.about.com/od/cinnamon/a/cinnamon.htm). If you can’t find it in your favorite health food store, Amazon has got you covered: http://www.amazon.com/Gourmet-Lanka-Ceylon-Cinnamon-2-3-bottle/dp/B003557QVI
Now that you can throw out your recent good deal on Ceylon at the next cocktail party, it might help to know why cinnamon is so important. When it comes to spices, it has the highest levels of antioxidants you’ll find. One teaspoon is as antioxidant rich as a cup of pomegranate juice or a half-cup of blueberries. Wow! The next time some one tries to sell you on antioxidant-rich acai berry diets, sprinkle some cinnamon at them. Cinnamon has some marketable nutrition points as well, showing promise in the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, memory function, leukemia and lymphoma (http://www.antioxidants-for-health-and-longevity.com/cinnamon-facts.html). To clarify, these promising qualities haven’t been proven scientifically (just as they haven’t for acai or goji) but are based on experiences with them. We don’t know what other factors play a role so although cinnamon is incredible it’s not necessarily the cure to all of your ailments. The important thing is, it could be.
If you’re not sure how to get more cinnamon into your day, a lot of articles recommend just a teaspoon each morning to start reaping the benefits. Dieticians also suggest combining it with honey to maximize on the nutrition bonus. Luckily for me, honey and cinnamon has been my preferred oatmeal or cream of wheat topping for years. If you’re looking to get more cinnamon and also skim off the calories from the more typical butter and brown sugar combo, this is a good tip to remember.
If you have any suggestions of your own about cinnamon, let us know!