Cinnamon is an aromatic plant substance from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. Its original form resembles small tubes, but it is often eaten ground. Very appreciated for its fragrant flavor, it is also rich in antioxidants beneficial to health.
Characteristics of cinnamon
– Source of fiber;
– Very low in calories;
– Promotes digestive well-being;
– Source of antioxidants;
– Taste enhancer.
Zoom on the minerals contained in cinnamon
Contrary to what you might think, cinnamon is not devoid of nutrients. On the contrary, it contains essential minerals to boost your daily health.
Among the good sources of manganese is cinnamon. Manganese is involved in several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes and also manganese is involved in preventing free radical damage;
Ground cinnamon contains Iron in sufficient quantity for men only, as the needs of women are higher than those of men.
– Iron is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood
– It also plays a role in the manufacture of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses)
– It should be noted that the iron contained in plant foods is less well absorbed by the body than the iron contained in animal foods
– However, the absorption of iron from plants is enhanced when consumed with certain nutrients, such as vitamin C.
– Every cell in the body contains iron …
The benefits of cinnamon
Thanks to its exceptional content of antioxidants, minerals and fibers, cinnamon is precious for our health. Moreover, it is considered as a natural remedy in many regions of the world and integrated in many therapeutics in the form of decoctions, infusions or essential oils.
A spice rich in fiber
Spices are not the first foods you think of when you think of dietary fiber… Yet, surprisingly, fibre makes up more than half of the weight of ground cinnamon: a portion as small as 2 g of cinnamon (1 teaspoon) contains 1.3 g of fibre. Note that it is recommended to consume 25 g of fibre per day for women between 19 and 50 years old, and 38 g per day for men in the same age group.
The body’s cells are protected by antioxidants against damage caused by free radicals.
Radicals are highly reactive molecules that are believed to be involved in the development of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and other age-related diseases. A large review of the scientific literature ranked ground cinnamon fourth among the 50 foods with the most antioxidants per 100g serving. The antioxidant activity of cinnamon may be increased when subjected to heat according to one study. Keep in mind, however, that a serving of cinnamon is usually much smaller than 100 g: a teaspoon, for example, is only 2 g. However, cinnamon is concentrated enough in antioxidants that even a small serving can make a significant contribution to your total daily intake.
Moreover, according to a large American database, cinnamon is the food that contains the most proanthocyanidins per 100 g, after the cocoa bean. In fact, cinnamon contains more than 8,100 mg of proanthocyanidins, which is almost 20 times more than 100 g of cranberries, and almost 25 times more than 100 g of wild blueberries. In humans, proanthocyanidins have been shown to have certain antioxidant properties, such as protecting blood cells and lipids from oxidative stress. However, more studies are needed to better understand how the human body absorbs and uses proanthocyanidins from cinnamon.
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial compounds:
Cinnamon is very rich in Cinnamaldehyde (or cinnamyl aldehyde), a volatile phenolic compound with antioxidant power, with an amount that can exceed 17,000 mg per 100 g of dry matter. An in vitro study on human blood samples showed that cinnamaldehyde had the ability to decrease the activity of 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme associated with the appearance of inflammatory or allergic reactions (such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, psoriasis). Cinnamaldehyde would also be part of the compounds providing cinnamon with antimicrobial properties. Indeed, for ages, spices like cinnamon have been used to prolong the preservation of food. Studies on cinnamon extracts now show that it can help reduce the multiplication of several micro-organisms. However, the use of spices for this purpose does not dispense with the need to respect good hygiene and food safety measures.
Type 2 diabetes
Several in vitro and animal studies indicate that cinnamon contains compounds with insulin-like properties that are potentially beneficial in the fight against diabetes.
For people with type 2 diabetes, daily consumption of 1 g to 6 g of ground cinnamon for 40 days or consumption of about 300 mg of a cinnamon extract (corresponding to about 3 g of powdered cinnamon per day) for 4 months resulted in a significant decrease in blood glucose and certain blood lipids (total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol). Cinnamon thus appears as a promising food for the control of diabetes, but some results remain contradictory and make necessary the continuation of other studies in human.
A word from the nutritionist
Cinnamon is also excellent for digestion and digestive well-being. After a heavy meal, nothing beats an infusion of cinnamon, ginger and lemon to promote digestion and quickly regain comfort. Unless there are medical contraindications, cinnamon essential oil can also be of great help in the fight against nausea and bloating.
How to choose the cinnamon ?
Cinnamon is taken from the bark of certain trees called cinnamon trees. Marketed in the form of sticks or ground, cinnamon is one of the most famous spices consumed throughout the world. The most famous cinnamon is, without any doubt, the Ceylon cinnamon, originating from Sri-Lanka.
Identity card of cinnamon
– Family : lauraceae ;
– Origin : Asia ;
– Season: available all year round;
– Color : yellow ochre ;
– Taste: warm and woody.
Store cinnamon well
Store in a cool, dry place, away from light. Both sticks and powder lose their flavour quickly, so keep them in an airtight container.
How to prepare cinnamon
In Europe and North America, cinnamon is generally used in sweet dishes, but in North Africa, Greece and the Orient, it is used in savory dishes, especially with meats and poultry. It is best to add the powder only towards the end of cooking, as it becomes bitter when cooked too long, but the sticks can withstand long cooking.
Flavouring drinks with cinnamon
– You can flavour mulled wine, hot chocolate, coffee or tea with a cinnamon stick;
– Or prepare chai tea, a classic of Indian cuisine: for three tea bags, use 1.25 l of water and 250 ml of milk. Boil the liquids for a few minutes with cardamom seeds, a cinnamon stick and fresh or powdered ginger. Add the tea bags and simmer until the tea has the desired color. Strain, sweeten with honey and serve hot;
– In Egypt, a drink called “irfaen” is prepared by boiling water with powdered cinnamon for a few minutes (1/2 tsp. per 250 ml). Sweeten to taste and sprinkle the drink with a mixture of chopped nuts.
Cinnamon: Contraindications and allergies
Fortunately, there are very few contraindications to the consumption of cinnamon. However, in some people, it can cause irritation of the mucous membranes in the mouth, especially when it is consumed in excess. It is better, therefore, to be cautious and to take this phenomenon seriously at the first signs.
Irritation of the mouth
Cinnamon oil is commonly used by industry to flavor certain foods (candy, gum, etc.) and various drug products such as toothpaste. However, this essence can cause oral irritation in some people. Dentists call this phenomenon contact stomatitis, an allergic reaction that can be characterized by small mouth ulcers, lesions and inflammation of the gums or oral mucosa. Women between the ages of 30 and 60 may be at greater risk. Avoiding chewing gum, toothpaste and other cinnamon-flavored products may prevent symptoms from developing