Cinnamon, warming Winter spice for your health

ceylon-cinnamon1-300x199Although available throughout the year, the sweet and warm taste of cinnamon is a perfect spice to use also during the winter months.

Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine. It is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree, which is available in its dried tubular form. The two varieties of cinnamon, Chinese and Ceylon, have similar flavour, however the cinnamon from Ceylon is slightly sweeter and more difficult to find in local markets. Ceylon cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean, while cassia is mainly produced in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

It is one of the oldest spices known. Its use dates back thousands of years. Egyptians added it to their embalming mixtures. Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans utilized it as a spice, perfume, and natural remedy. By the seventeenth century, Europeans regarded cinnamon as a culinary spice and nineteenth century Western doctors recommended cinnamon to promote healthy digestion. It was so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold.

For culinary purposes, cinnamon goes well in cold, sweet dishes like fruit juice and cooked grains  (think cereal), baked goodies and rice dishes.

Did you know that the smell of baked cinnamon buns has an aphrodisiac effect on men.

Cinnamon may also boost brain activity: research suggests that smelling cinnamon or chewing cinnamon-flavored gum enhanced study participants’ cognitive processing.

Cinnamon has been used for centuries for digestive disorders. Be aware that some cassia cinnamon products may contain high levels of coumarin, which may cause liver toxicity in very high doses (50 – 7,000 mg/day). People with liver disease should consult their physician before taking cinnamon in quantities higher than are typical for culinary purposes.

Cinnamon is an excellent source of fibre and manganese and a very good source of calcium. This combination of fibre and calcium may reduce the risk of  colon cancer – each, separately, has been shown to lower risk.

Here is a great  gluten-free recipe Cinnamon-Pecan-Brittle
http://www.elanaspantry.com/cinnamon-pecan-brittle/cinnamon pecan brittle
add a nice cup of black tea with lemon or cup of Fairgrounds Organic Coffee and ENJOY !

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