Cinnamon • Healthy spice or is it poisonous?

Cassia or Ceylon: there are different types of cinnamon. With its typical aroma, the spice should not be missing in many winter recipes. But cinnamon is not only spicy, hot and delicious, it is also healthy – at least if you don’t eat too much of it.

Cinnamon is a popular spice and should not be missing in Advent baking or in the autumn pumpkin-spice mix. But in addition to its delicious aroma, cinnamon is also very healthy, at least in small quantities.

At a glance:

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Product knowledge and origin: where does the cinnamon tree grow?

Cinnamon is extracted from the bark of the cinnamon tree, which is dried and rolled up. Botanically, the spice belongs to the laurel family, so cinnamon is closely related to the avocado and the spice laurel. Cinnamon has its origins in Asia and is mainly grown in China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Seychelles.

Cinnamon: ingredients and health effects

There are many healthy ingredients in cinnamon; it is not only a spice, but also a medicinal plant. Cinnamon owes its typical aroma to the essential oils it contains, the main components in cinnamon oil are cinnamaldehyde and eugenol. In addition, cinnamon contains slime-forming substances, camphor (camphor) and tannins.

Cinnamon has been used as a remedy for centuries, the spice was and is used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for example against tension and stress. Cinnamon oil can also be found in today’s medicines and ointments, including the popular “Tiger Balm”, which is used in many households to relieve neck tension, headaches and colds.

This is how cinnamon affects health:

  • Blood lipid levels: Studies show that cinnamon can have beneficial effects on blood lipid levels, especially triglycerides and total cholesterol levels. Cinnamon protects the blood vessels and prevents atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.
  • Blood sugar: A large number of studies show that cinnamon has a positive effect on blood sugar levels and can therefore protect against vascular diseases and diabetes.

In addition, studies indicate that women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCO syndrome) in particular can benefit from the health benefits of the herb. Cinnamon is said to both improve the insulin resistance that is associated with the disease and stabilize the hormonal balance and consequently lead to a regular menstrual cycle.

Ceylon or Cassia cinnamon: what’s the difference?

There are different types of cinnamon, they differ slightly in taste and health aspects.

  • Cassia cinnamon: The conventional cinnamon from the supermarket, which is usually already ground, is usually cassia cinnamon. It is also known as Chinese cinnamon and is inexpensive because it is obtained in large pieces from the bark of the cinnamon cassie (Cinnamomum cassia) can be removed. Cassia cinnamon is used more often than Ceylon cinnamon, but caution is advised here: the cinnamon variety has a particularly high proportion of coumarin. This is a flavoring substance that, in large quantities, can lead to health problems.
  • Ceylon cinnamon is the cinnamon originally used as a spice. It is made from the bark of the Ceylon cinnamon tree (True Cinnamon) manufactured. It has its origin in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). The cinnamon variety is considered to be particularly noble, which is why its price is high. Often you can only get Ceylon cinnamon in special delicatessen and spice shops. Ceylon cinnamon is also healthier, as its coumarin content is significantly lower than that of cassia cinnamon.

Coumarin: Why You Shouldn’t Eat Too Much Cinnamon

Cassia cinnamon in particular, which is usually found in store-bought gingerbread, speculoos or cookies, contains a lot of the harmful substance. In high amounts, coumarin can damage the liver, even in small amounts in very sensitive people and children. You can also

appear. In addition, coumarin has an effect on the vitamin K metabolism and thus has an influence on blood clotting.

The harmful aromatic substances are not only contained in cinnamon, they are also found in large quantities in woodruff and the tonka bean.

How much cinnamon can you eat per day?

The maximum recommended dose per day for an adult person weighing 60 kilograms is no more than two grams of cinnamon. It is correspondingly lower in children. Those who frequently eat cinnamon stars, cinnamon rolls and other Christmas cookies often exceed this recommended maximum daily dose. It is important to pay attention to the ingredients, how much of the spice is contained and especially not to let children eat too much of it.

According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), children up to 15 kilograms should not weigh more than

  • six small cinnamon stars or
  • 100 grams of gingerbread

consume. If you don’t want to take the risk and especially like to eat a lot of cinnamon, you have to dig deeper into your pocket. Ceylon cinnamon is a good alternative, albeit a little more expensive.

Cinnamon capsules as a dietary supplement for diabetes?

Cinnamon is available over the counter in pharmacies and drugstores as a dietary supplement in capsule form. The cinnamon preparations are said to have a positive effect on blood sugar levels and are especially recommended for people with type 2 diabetes. In fact, some studies show that taking cinnamon as a dietary supplement has beneficial effects on blood sugar levels, but it should be urgently discussed with a doctor.

Type 2 diabetes must always be treated medically, usually drugs are prescribed that lower blood sugar levels and stimulate the absorption of sugar into the cells. If the cinnamon capsules are taken in addition, the blood sugar level can drop undesirably sharply (hypoglycaemia). In addition, the preparations often contain cassia cinnamon and thus a high amount of coumarin; in the worst case, permanent liver damage can occur and even lead to organ failure.

Symptoms of hypoglycaemia

Cinnamon in pregnancy: what to watch out for

Cinnamon is considered to promote labor and should therefore only be consumed in small amounts during pregnancy, but the risk is very low as a small pinch on the rice pudding. Food supplements with cinnamon should be avoided during pregnancy in any case, also in order to protect the unborn child, because large amounts of the cinnamaldehyde contained in it are classified as a risk for the embryo.

Recipe: apple and cinnamon porridge

Cinnamon not only tastes wonderful after Christmas and winter pastries, it also enhances muesli, semolina and rice pudding. With juicy apples and oat flakes, it makes a healthy breakfast that will keep you full for a long time.

ingredients for 4 persons

  • 2 apples
  • 1 pear
  • 1 tbsp honey (also maple syrup as a vegan alternative)
  • 500 ml whole milk or a herbal alternative
  • 180 grams of oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • Some nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of salt

This is how the apple and cinnamon porridge is prepared:

  1. Peel an apple and the pear. Halve the pear and dice one half together with the apple. Generously remove the core housing.
  2. Grate the rest of the pear and the other apple.
  3. Put milk or milk substitute in a saucepan. Add oatmeal and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil briefly while stirring. Add grated fruit. Reduce heat and simmer for another two minutes.
  4. Stir in honey, cinnamon and grated nutmeg.
  5. Divide into bowls and garnish with diced fruits. Bon Appetit!

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Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.

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