Cinnamon – spice-up your health!

Morning porridge is simply not complete with a little sprinkling of cinnamon, and not just because of the taste. According to Diabetes UK, cinnamon can help with lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes, while according to researchers at Tel Aviv University, an extract found in the spice could help in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Whether it be to fruit salads, yogurt, even casseroles or exotic stews, cinnamon can be added to deliver flavour and broader benefits. But don’t have too much of a good thing; a tolerable daily intake of cinnamon should be about ½ tsp for the average women and up to 1 tsp for the average man. This is particularly the case when consuming Cassia cinnamon rather than Ceylon cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon contains more coumarin, a naturally occurring flavouring substance, that has been linked in some studies to liver damage in a small number of sensitive people. There is no real flavour difference between Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon, and most consumers cannot tell the difference between the two in powder form.

Ceylon cinnamon, often referred to as “true” cinnamon, contains very little coumarin. It is usually harder to find and is more expensive. However, you need to use so little it lasts a long time, so the expense can be worth it. Ceylon cinnamon sticks are easy to recognise by their thin layer of bark.

Cassia cinnamon is cheaper and so more often used in food outlets and products, but as it contains more coumarin it is best to use it more sparingly. Cassia cinnamon sticks are recognised by their thick layer of bark.

Note: Some people can be allergic to cinnamon. If you are or you suspect that you are, speak with your doctor before adding it to your diet, as those who are sensitive to cinnamon may be at increased risk of liver damage.

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