Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tip Tuesday–Cinnamon

Today’s topic is cinnamon. Where does it come from? What is it good for? We all love cinnamon rolls, cinnamon candies and other foods enriched by the sweet flavor of cinnamon, but it does have some great health benefits as well.

Cinnamon has been around for possibly 4,000 years. It is derived from the bark of several trees and is used in both sweet and savory foods. True cinnamon is of the genus “cinnamomum”, and the more common cinnamon we use is actually “cassia” – a relative of true cinnamon.

True cinnamon is grown in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Egypt, Madagascar, Sumatra, the West Indies and Java. Cassia, however, comes from China, Vietnam and Myanmar. In the production of our common cinnamon, all portions of the bark are used, but in true cinnamon only the inner lining of the bark is used.

Cinnamon has many health benefits shown through clinical studies:

1) Helps regulate blood sugar in those with Type 2 Diabetes.
2) After a month or two lowers triglycerides and total cholesterol.
3) Now being studied as a possible cancer fighter.
4) Sniffing the essential oils is good for increased alertness and mental activity.
5) Both anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory.

To get the maximum health benefits, sprinkle a bit on some of your food sometime during the day. It is thought, though, that there are some substances in cassia that could cause liver damage. The best bet would be to look for true cinnamon, although it may be more expensive.

A bit of trivia – the cinnamon stick is called a “quill” due to its rolling up during the drying process.

Many people use cinnamon for those sweet foods – apple pie, etc.- but it is good for savory dishes as well. I always throw a big spoonful into chili. Pour a teaspoonful into the brew basket of the coffeemaker along with the ground coffee for a flavorful drink.

To make your house smell wonderful, place cinnamon sticks, orange and lemon peels and whole cloves in a bit of water on the stove. Let it simmer, being careful not to cook dry. Add water if needed.
Today is Internet Day – can you imagine not having it? It’s also National Cat Day.

Tomorrow is National Candy Corn Day. Love that stuff. Have you tried the candy bar combination of candy corn and peanuts? So good! It’s also Haunted Refrigerator Night. Ours does make some strange noises on occasion, which makes me think it just might be haunted. And for all of us “list” people, it’s Checklist Day. I’m definitely a list maker!

Check the "Holidays" page for more observances this month.
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

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