Cinnamon is a spice with a good flavour that we can enjoy, and is also healthy for us.
In different parts of Rwanda, the cinnamon spice is commonly taken in tea— preferably in white tea and not as a spice used in food; people living in Kigali City know that most Nyamirambo dwellers prefer the spice. It is available at several markets in the city and its outskirts.
Surprisingly, cinnamon is a small evergreen tree. It is the bark that is processed which turns into the ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks (or quills) we are used to seeing.
Its active and healthful components are cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol which are derived from the essential oils in the bark.
Ceylon and cassia are the two most popular varieties of cinnamon, even though there are hundred of varieties.
Both cinnamons are an excellent source of trace mineral manganese and a good source of dietary fibber, iron and calcium.
Insulin Reduction: By just digesting a ¼ teaspoon a day, patients with type 2diabetes had lowered their blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Levels increased when they stopped adding cinnamon to their diet.
Cinnamon normalizes blood sugar levels. This helps to reduce cravings for sugar. This helps to control blood glucose levels by preventing insulin spikes after meals. It reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol as well as total cholesterol.
Other Healthy Benefits: Cinnamon has anti-clotting properties; helps prevent the unwanted clotting of blood platelets, which places cinnamon in the category of an “anti-inflammatory” food. This anti-inflammatory benefit can help relieve arthritis as well as relieve pain and stiffness of muscles and joints.
Cinnamon also has anti-microbial actions, stopping the growth of bacteria as well as fungi and yeast Candida. It is so successful as an anti-microbial, that it has been used as a food preservative.
There are so many other helpful benefits of cinnamon, beside the affect it has on blood sugar and its anti-clotting and anti-microbial properties. Just a few benefits of cinnamon are listed below:
Curbs cravings, supports digestive function, relieves congestion, constricts and tones tissues, boosts brain function by boosting cognitive function and memory, relieves menstrual discomfort, Improves circulation by thinning blood, provides calcium and fibber protect against heart disease, Improves colon health, by removing bile salts from the body, prevents urinary tract infections and irritable bowel syndrome, and helps address tooth decay and gum disease
How to add Cinnamon to Your Diet: Adding cinnamon to your diet can be easy as making toast. Just add a touch of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon to whole grain bread for an adult version of cinnamon toast. Sprinkle cinnamon onto your whole grain oatmeal or cereals or on yogurt, soups and sauces.
Simmer your favourite tea, coffee or soy milk with cinnamon sticks, creating the perfect breakfast drink or bedtime nightcap.
You can add liberal amounts of cinnamon to beans or meat in your dishes. Or add to curries and chilis for a warm, spicy kick. You can also sauté vegetables with cinnamon sticks for unique flavouring and healthful benefits. (Remove the cinnamon sticks before serving.) Let cinnamon add some spice to your life.