People often think that vegan diets are boring or that following a strict diet means eating tasteless food! Herbs and spices are one of the best ways to add flavour to your meals and not only that they come with a heap of added health benefits too!
Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree! It has been used for thousands of years and used to be given to Ancient Egyptian Kings as a rare gift!
Did you know that there are hundreds of types of cinnamon? The main four sold for us to eat are varieties known as Ceylon, Cassia, Saigon and Korintje and they can be distinguished by their taste and smell! Ceylon is known as “true” cinnamon but most supermarkets sell the Cassia variety!
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon contains high levels of polyphenols which work as antioxidants in our bodies! There was a recent study which tested 26 spices for antioxidant levels and cinnamon came out on top even beating herbs like garlic which is well known to fight against disease!
2. ANTI INFLAMMATORY
Research shows that cinnamon contains anti inflammatory properties which means it is great for warding off disease and helping with recovery. There have been lots of recent studies to show that cinnamon can help with problems such as acne and digestive disorders!
3. FIGHTS AGAINST HEART DISEASE
Latest experiments show that people with Type 2 Diabetes can benefit from taking ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon into their diet on a daily basis, cinnamon has been proven to have a healthy effect on blood markers and also reduces bad cholesterol whilst improving the good levels!
Cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood pressure so in turn can help prevent against the number one killer – heart disease.
4. IMPROVE INSULIN SENSITIVITY
Cinnamon has been shown to reduce insulin sensitivity and thus in turn helps your metabolism work better! It reduces the amount of glucose that enters your blood stream after a meal; this can be particularly beneficial to diabetics.
5. BRAIN HEALTH
Cinnamon inhibits the build up of a protein in the brain called Tau and this protein has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Cinnamon helps to protect the neurons in the brain!
6. HELPS WITH COLON CANCER
Ongoing research is underway to see the effects of cinnamon on colon cancer, so far they have seen that cinnamon has a detoxifying effect on the enzymes in the colon and prevents the cancer tumors from growing.
7. HELPS WITH FUNGAL INFECTIONS
Cinnamon has been shown to help clear respiratory infections and inhibits the growth of bacteria’s such as listeria and salmonella!
Thanks to its antimicrobial effects it also helps with bad breath and tooth decay!
HOW MUCH CINNAMON SHOULD I EAT?
You may now all be running to the shop to stock up on this wonder spice! But how much do you really need to eat to see the benefits? The recommendation is to have a maximum of ½ a teaspoon a day. If you can find the Ceylon variety online or in health food stores this is the one to go for! If you have any kind of liver disease please be wary about the amount of cinnamon that you consume.
You can sprinkle cinnamon on your oats, make healthy muffins or cinnamon and raisin bagels but my all time favourite thing is to add to my coffee!
Cinnamon is so versatile I often add to my bean chillis or stir-fry’s too for an extra tasty flavour sensation!
WHERE TO BUY?
My all time favourite cinnamon is the one in Starbucks! It is super extra sweet and I cannot find anything similar! It could be that they add sugar or stevia to their cinnamon blend?
You will find cinnamon in all supermarkets and health food stores and it is also readily available online too! It ranges from 50p to around £3.00 and a jar will last you 4-12 weeks depending on how often you use it!
Here are my favourites in order!
Stewed Apple Protein Pudding
1. Mix 1 scoop of PLANTAFORCE protein powder with 20g of rolled oats, 10g of nut butter and 100ml of water.
2. Stew 70g of apple in a pan over low heat with CINNAMON and stevia.
3. Mash the stewed apples and add to the mixture.
4. Bake on 180 degrees for half an hour.