MOSCOW, 11 Mar – RIA Novosti. Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices. Why is cinnamon useful and harmful to human health, what is its amazing properties, how much it can be eaten per day, as well as how to choose and store cinnamon correctly – in the material of RIA Novosti.
What is cinnamon
Cinnamon is an evergreen tree that belongs to the laurel family. It is also called Ceylon cinnamon. The spice is made from the outer shell of the trunk. On sale, it can be found in the form of a piece of bark rolled into a tube or a fine powder.
There are two main types of cinnamon as a spice: Ceylon cinnamon, which is noble or real cinnamon, and Chinese cinnamon, which is also cassia, aromatic or Indian, which is most often sold in stores.
The first is grown in Ceylon, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Guiana, Reunion and Martinique. It has a sweetish, slightly pungent taste and delicate aroma.
The second is from South China. Has a harsher taste than Ceylon and is less healthy.
Real cinnamon, or Ceylon cinnamon, is about ten times more expensive and much healthier. Almost all those properties important for the human body that are attributed to cinnamon are present in cassia in small doses.
Cinnamon is considered one of the most ancient spices. The Egyptians used it as one of the components in the embalming of bodies. In ancient Rome, it was highly valued in cooking. In ancient Greece, it was a part of perfumes and medicines, was used in the preparation of various amulets and amulets.
Composition and calorie content
– The chemical composition of Ceylon cinnamon includes tannins, resins, gums, phenolic acids, vitamins and minerals. It also contains the volatile compound eugenol, which gives the spice a pleasant and rich aroma. But cassia contains a lot of starch and coumarin, which are dangerous to health. In real cinnamon, these substances are present in small doses, – nutritionist-nutritionist Lyudmila Mikityuk told RIA Novosti.
Cinnamon contains such useful substances as potassium, manganese, iron, copper, selenium, zinc, vitamins A, B1, B2, B9, C, E, K.
KBZHU per 100 grams of cinnamon: -caloric content – 261 calories; -protein – 3.9 grams; – Fats – 3.2 grams; – Carbohydrates – 79.8 grams.
Useful properties of cinnamon
Cinnamon strengthens the immune system, has anti-inflammatory and hemostatic properties, improves memory and helps fight Alzheimer's disease. Also, the spice has a positive effect on the work of the cardiovascular system: it lowers the level of LDL cholesterol (low density lipoproteins) and triglycerides, while leaving the “good” HDL cholesterol (high density lipoproteins) stable; thins the blood and lowers blood pressure.
– Cinnamon is effective as an antiviral and antibacterial agent. In addition, the spice increases concentration and improves eyesight, the doctor emphasized.
According to a study by American neuroscientists, cinnamon may improve learning ability and may also be effective in Parkinson's disease. Plus, cinnamon protects against colon cancer.
Harm of cinnamon and contraindications
– Like any other product, cinnamon should be taken in dosage. Excessive use of the spice can provoke a breakdown, severe headaches and depression. In addition, coumarin in high doses can damage the liver and kidneys. Chinese cinnamon – cassia – contains much more coumarin than the Ceylon variety, – said the nutritionist.
According to the doctor, cinnamon should not be consumed: —Children under 3 years old; —When breastfeeding, as it affects the taste of milk; —Pregnant, as it affects uterine contraction and can provoke premature birth; —With peptic ulcer and pancreatitis; – with poor blood clotting; – with high temperature and blood pressure; – with chemotherapy; – if there is an allergic reaction to the product.
The benefits of cinnamon for men
– In men, the use of cinnamon helps to increase potency and physical activity. The aroma of the spice greatly enhances the sensitivity of the erogenous zones and stimulates the libido, the doctor said.
However, this effect can only be achieved if cinnamon is taken in reasonable doses. Excessive use gives the opposite result – a man experiences a breakdown and even depression.
The benefits of cinnamon for women
For women, cinnamon is indispensable during painful periods. It relieves pain, improves overall tone and removes irritability. In addition, regular use of the spice enhances sexuality, improves blood circulation in the uterus and promotes tissue regeneration.
“And due to its antioxidant properties, cinnamon in drinks is able to slow down the aging process of the body,” the doctor said.
The benefits and harms of ground cinnamon
In ground form, cinnamon retains all its beneficial substances, but it is much easier to eat it this way.
– Benefits of ground cinnamon in reasonable doses for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and analgesic effects. The spice helps the liver, regulates blood pressure, and prevents blood clots, the doctor explained.
At the same time, if in moderate quantities cinnamon stimulates the brain, then with an excess it can provoke lethargy and headaches.
The benefits and harms of tea and coffee with cinnamon
– Cinnamon tea is recommended for women to relieve menstrual pain. This is due to the high magnesium content in the spice. The substance also provides normalization of the nervous system, reduction of sugar and stimulation of fat metabolism, – the doctor explained.
Cinnamon coffee, according to the expert, reduces the risk of developing heart disease.
– This effect is achieved by reducing the number of triglycerides by almost 30%. This helps prevent blockage of the vascular cavity, – said the nutritionist.
In addition, cinnamon in combination with coffee has been successfully used by men to stimulate potency.
At the same time, if you drink drinks with cinnamon at a high temperature, then they can aggravate the course of some diseases. Also, do not use them during pregnancy.
Health benefits and harms of cinnamon after 50 years
– For people over 50, cinnamon is useful in small doses, as in large doses it can lead to a negative effect, – said Lyudmila Mikityuk.
The spice is useful for the prevention of heart attack, against blood clots and insomnia. It also helps fight arthritis, normalize blood pressure. In addition, cinnamon is beneficial for seniors with memory impairments.
The benefits and harms of cinnamon for diabetes
To date, cinnamon has been proven to be effective in type 2 diabetes. It promotes the full assimilation of sugar, lowers the level of glucose and cholesterol in the blood, thereby being an analogue of insulin.
– Half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day regulates blood sugar and prevents the development of inflammatory processes in the body, – said the doctor.
The benefits of honey and cinnamon
Honey and cinnamon in the complex have a beneficial effect on the body, promote weight loss, strengthen immunity.
“Since cinnamon has an antipyretic effect, it can be used to treat mild colds in combination with honey,” the doctor said.
However, such a “duet” can be used only in the absence of contraindications to each of them, as well as an allergic reaction.
Cinnamon for weight loss
Cinnamon enhances metabolism and “burns” existing fat deposits. The active digestion of food is facilitated by a large amount of fiber in the composition of the spice. It also helps control satiety levels. – Cinnamon promotes the body's natural self-purification processes, which leads to getting rid of excess fluids, toxins and waste. And her smell reduces appetite, – said Lyudmila Mikityuk.
The benefits and harms of cinnamon with kefir
Cinnamon in combination with kefir helps to lose weight. The components combine well in taste and complement each other's beneficial properties. – Kefir is a low-calorie product, but it is able to saturate the body. In tandem with cinnamon, it neutralizes its negative effect on the mucous membrane, cleanses the intestines and is quickly absorbed, – said the nutritionist.
Essential oils of cinnamon
“Due to the content of eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, tannins, starch and resins, cinnamon oil is effective as an antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, astringent, warming and tonic agent,” the doctor said.
According to the expert, cinnamon oil is good for colds, flu, and some infectious diseases. It is also used to treat skin diseases: fungal infections, papillomas, warts, scabies.
Above all, cinnamon oil is considered a natural antidepressant and a great tonic, which is why it is good to take baths with it.
Cinnamon in medicine
Cinnamon is often used in cosmetology because it promotes tissue regeneration, helps to improve cell metabolism and speed up metabolism. The spice is added to skin care wraps and acne-fighting products as it kills bacteria and moisturizes the skin. And the spice oil is popular for massages and rubbing.
Daily value of cinnamon
Cinnamon is safe for most people when taken for a short time, and if not taken in large quantities.
– No more than one teaspoon of cinnamon is allowed per day. This is about 5-7 grams, – said the doctor.
Cinnamon in cooking
Cinnamon is used as a spice in the preparation of meat and vegetables. For a piquant taste and aroma, a pinch of cinnamon is added when brewing freshly ground coffee.
Sprinkle with spice fresh slices of fruits (apples, bananas and pears). Also, cinnamon is an indispensable ingredient in the preparation of charlotte and strudel.
Kefir with cinnamon, honey and ginger
Ingredients: – kefir – 200 ml; – cinnamon – a quarter of a teaspoon; – ground ginger – on the tip of a teaspoon; – honey – 1 teaspoon; – water – 1 teaspoon.
Mix or beat all ingredients in a blender. You can drink the drink both cold and at room temperature.
Apple and Cinnamon Pie
Ingredients: – kefir – 250 milliliters; – eggs – 3 pieces; – sugar – 1 cup; – vegetable oil – 100 milliliters; – flour – 160 grams; – salt and cinnamon – to taste; – vanilla sugar – 1 teaspoon; – baking powder – 2 teaspoons; – apples – 650 grams.
Beat kefir with eggs and vegetable oil, sugar and vanilla sugar, as well as cinnamon until smooth. Gradually add sifted flour together with baking powder and salt into the resulting mass and knead the mass. It should resemble pancake dough or thin sour cream. Cut the apples into slices and add to the mass, stir and place in a heat-resistant baking dish, previously oiled.
The pie should be baked in an oven preheated to 180-190 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. Tourism
How to choose the right one
Ceylon cinnamon is not only healthier, but also has a more pronounced aroma than Chinese cinnamon. It is important to check the country of origin: real cinnamon is brought from Ceylon, cassia – from China, Indonesia, Vietnam.
True cinnamon is more expensive. On the packaging it may be marked “Cinnamomum zeylonicum”. Cassia is sometimes labeled as “Cinnamomum aromaticum”.
How and how much to store
It is best to store cinnamon in a glass container with a tight lid. It should be in a dark and dry place.
The ground spice should not be stored for more than six months, since it will have time to lose all its useful substances. But cinnamon in the form of sticks retains healing properties and a spicy aroma for a whole year.