Biting into a soft, warm, sticky cinnamon bun is just one of the best, cheap thrills in life. If you’re not a fan of irritatingly sweet stuff but still need a bit of sugar fix without the guilt, then a piece of cinnamon bread or bun with a hot cup of coffee can bring that kick, especially after a grueling day.
But do you know that this humble spice from the east has so many health benefits, aside from making your palate and tummy deliriously happy? Yes, this powdery sweet spice can do so much for the body apart from making our dishes extra tasty. But of course, you have to pick the best variety – and that is none other than Ceylon Cinnamon.
What is Ceylon Cinnamon?
From the name itself, Ceylon Cinnamon or Ceylon refers to the old colonial name of Sri Lanka when it was still under British rule. Ceylon Cinnamon is however also produced in other South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and also in Madagascar. Cinnamon has several varieties but so far, the one that contains so many health and cognitive benefits is Ceylon Cinnamon
Like all varieties of cinnamon, Ceylon Cinnamon also comes from the bark of a tree, dried which then forms into quills. These quills can either be used as-is or pulverized. Ceylon Cinnamon, also called Cinnamon Zeylanicum, has a lighter color, spicy aroma, and sweeter taste compared to other types of Cinnamon. 60% of its active compound is cinnamaldehyde. What makes Ceylon Cinnamon cut above the rest is the presence of polyphenols that can strengthen some of the body’s vital organs like the heart and, fight free radicals and other stressors.
Why Use Ceylon Cinnamon
Numerous health benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon
Strange as it may seem since Ceylon Cinnamon is sweet, diabetics will surely benefit from incorporating this magical powder in their diet.
1. Aids in managing diabetes
Diabetics or those who want to lessen the risk of suffering from this ailment will surely benefit from Ceylon Cinnamon since this spice can normalize blood sugar levels. Regularly incorporating this in the diet also stabilizes insulin level, which diabetics truly need. One of the reasons why Ceylon cinnamon can do this is due to the presence of a compound called Cinnamtannin B1, which helps increase insulin sensitivity while lowering the absorption of glucose after eating. Cinnamtannin B1 is a type of polyphenol.
2. Promotes healthy cholesterol
We all know how too much bad cholesterol can be harmful to cardiovascular health. Consuming Ceylon Cinnamon helps in reducing the risk as it can increase HDL or good cholesterol. Having positive total cholesterol then will surely benefit the heart.
3. Helps reduce the threat of high blood pressure
High blood pressure is another condition that puts pressure on the body’s vital organs. It can lead to stroke, heart attack, and other serious ailments when not managed properly. Using Ceylon Cinnamon can reduce the risk of suffering from high blood pressure by just simply incorporating this spice into your diet.
4. Ceylon Cinnamon is packed with anti-cancer compounds
A strengthened immune system not only helps protect the body from viruses and bacteria but can also hinder the growth of certain ailments like cancer. Ceylon Cinnamon is rich in anti-oxidants, antimicrobial enzymes that enhance the immune system.
5. Helps manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome
It can cause so much discomfort when the body shifts from digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, bloating, and the like. The good news is Ceylon Cinnamon has nutrients and oils that can heal digestive problems at the same time help in the digestion and absorption of food.
6. Helps activate brainpower
Ceylon cinnamon’s distinctive smell not only gives a warm feeling but can also boost brain health. According to reports, catching a whiff or tasting the sweetness of this spice could improve the person’s memory, focus, and other cognitive abilities. Others also suggest that Ceylon cinnamon could also reduce the risk of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Ceylon Cinnamon and Cinnamon Cassia: Understanding the Difference
While there are many varieties of cinnamon, only two are common in many households in the US, Ceylon Cinnamon and Cinnamon Cassia. Cassia also has some benefits but not as many compared to Ceylon cinnamon. Both are sweet, but Ceylon Cinnamon has a lighter color and sweeter smell. Cassia is produced in China and Southeast Asia and extracted from the bark of an evergreen tree. Ceylon Cinnamon on the other hand comes from the southern part of South Asia and also Madagascar.
More households in the US carry the Cassia variety as it is widely sold plus cheaper than Ceylon Cinnamon. However, in terms of health benefits, Cassia contains a compound that can be harmful to the health, particularly the liver, when taken in large doses. Called Coumarin, Cassia contains 1% of this, as opposed to Ceylon Cinnamon which only has 0.004%.
Culinary and Medical Delights
The nice thing about cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon, you can just add it on just any drinks or dish. Add a pinch on your coffee to spice it up a bit or perk your morning with its sweet smell. Ceylon Cinnamon also goes well with some vegetable dishes and desserts, like what some folks do in India.
Of course, adding or sprinkling it to buns or rolls or on top of cheese rolls have always been an all-season favorite.
For those, who prefer not to mix their food and drinks with Ceylon cinnamon, supplements are available in many health stores and apothecaries.
But is Ceylon Cinnamon Truly Safe?
Ceylon cinnamon is safe and has no known side effects. However, it is always good to check with medical professionals if using a natural herb or supplement has an adverse effect or, can lessen the effectiveness of prescription medicine – especially for those who are taking medicines for diabetes.
Likewise, to fully optimize the benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon, always check the label to make sure that what you’re purchasing is real Ceylon Cinnamon. Tell the pharmacist to give you supplements that only contain Ceylon Cinnamon.