There are aromas that make you feel immediately at home, wherever you are, and that calm you and bring serenity. I think that the scent of cinnamon is one of them. Just close your eyes and smell the spice in order to bring to mind images of warmth and family. A pinch of cinnamon makes the aroma of any dessert enveloping and fascinating! But cinnamon not only gives to dishes aroma and taste, it is also a powerful source of health. Let's try to understand better.
From the stem and twigs of the cinnamon plant we get the spice that we all know and that we can buy in the form of sticks or powder. Cinnamon helps to fight obesity since it limits intestinal absorption of fats and reduces insulin resistance, it is antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory and it has been shown that this spice can be useful in case of irritable bowel (Hagenlocher et al, Mol Nutr Food Res, 2017). Not only that, cinnamon protects heart health since it helps keep under control blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol and is antidiabetic. In fact, according to a study, benefits were obtained with the intake of 300 grams of rice pudding prepared with 6 grams of cinnamon, because the spice helped to reduce blood sugar levels after lunch (Hlebowicz et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2007 - Ranasinghe et al, BMC Complement Altern Med, 2013). But the hypoglycemic action of cinnamon is also observed on fasting sugar values ??(Allen et al, Ann Fam Med, 2013). Do not forget the anticancer action of cinnamon and its ability to protect the brain from degeneration. In fact, cinnamon, and in particular one of its active ingredients, cinnamaldehyde, has been shown to inhibit the aggregation of tau proteins and to prevent the formation and accumulation of beta amyloid proteins, the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (Peterson et al, J Alzheimer Dis, 2009). Not only that, in case of Parkinson's, cinnamon has helped to protect neurons, to normalize neurotransmitter levels and to improve motor function (Khasnavis et al, J Neuroimmune Pharmacol, 2014).
Cinnamon, uses in the kitchen
A pinch of cinnamon can be added to the morning yogurt, perhaps enriched with wholemeal oat flakes and berries. Also excellent is the fruit salad with a sprinkling of cinnamon or the soy milk, dried apricots and cinnamon smoothie, whose recipe you can find in the Healthy Food section. A truly satiating and full of energy snack is given by an almond milk shake, prepared by blending the milk, a banana and a pinch of cinnamon, you really should try it. And then, don’t forget desserts flavored with cinnamon, from the legendary Banana bread to apple pie, all recipes that you can find in the Healthy Food section.
Cinnamon in herbal tea
Cinnamon herbal tea is a remedy in case of irritation of the bowel and intestinal problems, even after taking antibiotics. Not only that, this scented herbal tea is also helpful in case of sore throat and to support the immune system (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods). Bring a cup of water to a boil along with an inch of cinnamon stick. Let it simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat, filter and drink once warm. To enhance the antiviral and antibiotic properties you can also add 2 cloves in the preparation phase.
In case of cough with phlegm here is a very tasty and beneficial remedy, cinnamon and lemon milk. Cinnamon and lemon zest are in fact antibacterial and antiviral while the calcium in milk will help reduce cough thanks to its antispasmodic and sedative action (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods). In a saucepan, pour a cup of milk, a stick of cinnamon and the peel of an organic lemon. Heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes without frothing the milk to avoid the transformation of unsaturated to saturated fats. You can drink in the evening.
Cinnamon, as we have seen, certainly has beneficial properties for health. But, like any spice or food, don't overdo it. In fact, the intake of cinnamon in high doses and for long periods of time is linked to possible side effects, such as stomach upset and allergic reactions (Hajimonfarednejad et al, Clin Nutr, 2019). Given the hypoglycemic action of cinnamon, be careful if you are taking antidiabetic drugs and always ask your doctor for advice.