– By Panchali Moitra
Stick to the cinnamon stick for its unique medicinal attributes and potential health benefits.
It’s quite surprising that the spices which have been sitting quietly in our kitchen cabinets and getting added in our traditional recipes for years can actually be loaded with such amazing health benefits. Cinnamon is one such wonderful spice which possesses the ability to not only make our dishes tastier and more fragrant but also to maintain good health.
The unique medicinal attributes of cinnamon is the result of essential oils present in its bark. The active components, cinnamaldehyde and cinnamyl alcohol show anti clotting, anti microbial and antioxidant properties which makes cinnamon a useful spice to fight excessive bleeding, infections and even certain cognitive diseases.
• One of the most interesting benefits is cinnamon’s effect on our blood sugar levels. Adding whole or ground cinnamon to carb rich foods help to slow down the release of sugar into the blood stream. Studies show that cinnamon impacts the cell’s response to insulin and improves their glucose utilization and thus lowering the blood sugar levels. This is of particular importance to people having diabetes type 2 and obesity. They are advised to take half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily under medical guidance.
• Being a free radical scavenger, cinnamon helps to reduce the bad LDL cholesterol and fight proliferation of carcinogenic cells.
• Cinnamon is recommended for alleviating arthritis pain, migraines and even menstrual cramping.
• Add a pinch of cinnamon in tea, or coffee to enhance brain activity, and strengthen immunity.
• Considered to be a ‘warming spice’, cinnamon is known to provide relief from colds, throat infection, flu like symptoms and digestive troubles.
• Ayurveda recommends regulated cinnamon intake to combat fatigue, and to improve metabolism, moods and blood circulation.
• Nutritionally, cinnamon is a good source of fibre, calcium and manganese.
Although cinnamon does not show any side effects, heavy dosing may cause mouth sores, liver problems or undesirable drug interactions. Enjoy a pinch of cinnamon powder on toasts and cereals or simmer sticks in broths and curries to unleash its aroma and healing benefits.