Winter break has come and gone. The festive cheer of the holidays and New Years is behind us. I personally harbor an intense hatred for the upcoming bleak months. However, this year I have decided to continue to make winter cozy even in these dark, cold months. One way to maintain the joy of pre-holiday winter is to continue eating like Christmas is right around the corner, and cinnamon is the perfect spice to achieve that goal. But did you know that cinnamon can also make your winter brighter by keeping you healthy?
We depend upon cinnamon for pumpkin pies, seasonal coffees and general happiness (eggnog, anyone?). There is more to this ancient spice than you may know, though.
Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of a tree that grows mainly in Sri Lanka and has many uses in traditional medicine. It has been used for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties to help fight symptoms of the common cold and troublesome coughs.
Mixing a few drops of essence of cinnamon with water may make you feel even better than lying in bed with chicken noodle soup when you’re sick. Are you having abdominal pain or nausea? Sprinkling cinnamon on your food or mixing it with honey may alleviate your ailment. After nights brimming with debauchery, try asking for extra cinnamon on the dry toast that seems to be the only safe option at Sunday brunch.
These traditional medicinal uses unfortunately do not have a lot of scientific research backing them, but cinnamon’s health benefits are not mere folklore.
Recent studies have indicated that cinnamon may be useful in balancing blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes; there is also evidence that the antioxidant properties of cinnamon are beneficial in softening the negative effects of eating foods that have high fat levels. That means putting even more spice on the cinnamon roll you devoured this morning can help lessen your body’s negative reaction to all the fat you just ingested.
Cinnamon pairs well with chocolate, coffee, chicken, alcohol, apples and many other sweet and savory foods. It can add interest to a bland meal, give depth to a flavorful one and benefit your health in unexpected ways. Don’t worry about sacrificing taste for nutrients to keep your health intact. Enjoy the winter season, and invest in cinnamon.