Cinnamon is a quintessential fall flavor. From pumpkin pie to apple crisp, chai lattes to oatmeal, it’s the fall’s favorite flavor. Besides giving your baked goods and smoothies a delicious taste, did you know that cinnamon has health benefits too? Here’s what cinnamon can do for you and some easy ways to incorporate it.
Ceylon or Cassia?
If you’re shopping in a traditional grocery store, you may have no idea that there are in fact two different types of cinnamon—Ceylon and Cassia. Cassia, or Saigon cinnamon, is the most commonly found type of cinnamon. Often referred to as “true cinnamon,” Ceylon cinnamon is sweeter than its cousin. Both can be used to flavor dishes for no calories, and Ceylon cinnamon has been used for thousands of years as herbal medicine.
Traditional Uses of Ceylon Cinnamon
Ceylon cinnamon has been used traditionally in Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine for thousands of years.1 Often it was given to patients complaining of upset stomach aches, feelings of bloating or excessive gas. It was even sometimes used for loss of appetite (either the whole cinnamon stick or ground up powder).
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Although science on spices is relatively new, there is preliminary research to suggest that Ceylon cinnamon has significant health benefits. It is a rich source of antioxidants1, which can help to reduce inflammation throughout your body. Some exciting new studies have shown that when combined with carbohydrates (cereal, oatmeal, etc.), both types of cinnamon have the potential to reduce the concentration of blood sugar, and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.2
Cinnamon in the Kitchen
A dash of cinnamon is easy to add to almost any dish—from savory to sweet. Add a sprinkle to your next curry to warm it. Toss a dab on your oatmeal in the morning. Add an extra hit of cinnamon to Vega One Vanilla Chai flavor, or use Vanilla Vega Sport Performance Protein in an Apple Pie Smoothie. If you haven’t tried chia pudding yet, now’s your chance with this vanilla cinnamon recipe.
How do you use cinnamon?
- Health Canada. (2013) Natural Health Products Database: Cinnamon. Accessed 9/16/13 from http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=1904&lang=eng
- Akilen R, et al (2012). Cinnamon in glycemic control: Systematic review and meta analysis. Clinical Nutrition. 31(5):609-15.