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The Spice Diaries: Cinnamon

by Lisa on July 15, 2010

I remember the way I used to eat cinnamon: Mixed with granulated sugar and sprinkled on toast. It was great, and I sure wasn’t doing that for the health benefits as a kid—but maybe somehow it helped take the unhealthy edge off all the sugar and non-whole wheat bread I was eating?  Probably not, but cinnamon is an awesome superfood and can be used in many different ways.

A Granny Smith with Cinnamon...

Why eat cinnamon?

  • Helps lower cholesterol (the bad LDL cholesterol, that is)
  • Helps regulate blood sugar, especially for Type II diabetics
  • Can help fight candida infections in the body
  • Reduces proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells (shown in a study by the US Dept of Agriculture)
  • Prevents clotting in the blood
  • Can decrease arthritis pain (one study showed this particularly when it’s combined with honey)
  • Helps prevent food from spoiling (a natural food preservative)
  • Smell cinnamon and you may even boost your cognitive function and memory!
  • A great source of manganese, fiber, calcium, and iron

How do you eat cinnamon?  It’s such an easy thing to add to smoothies—I buy the Frontier Organic brand of cinnamon and add it to almost every smoothie I make (which is a lot!). I’m not necessarily in need of all the things on the benefits list, but cinnamon just seems to be a great thing to have overall. It’s a relatively cheap spice, and it tastes good too (especially in chocolate smoothies!).

I’ve heard of people using it while cooking beef too–I’ve never done that (Have I ever cooked beef?  Ummmmmmm, probably but I really don’t remember it, unless we’re talking about meatballs…and I didn’t put cinnamon in my meatballs…).

My other commonly sprinkled-with-cinnamon snack is a cut-up apple. I’m sure I’ve taken a few pics of that snack and then never posted it because it seemed so simple and uninteresting–but the taste is great and now we know the health benefits are great too!

I’m heading to Massachusetts this weekend to visit Beth and Catie, a couple college friends. We’ve been out of college since 2001, and  we’ve been able to get together almost once a year since then (it was way easy when the three of us all coincidentally lived in the Boston area for a couple years—we went to school in Ithaca, NY). Our friend, Jenn, is being left out this time (but we’re hoping for another get-together in January!). She lives in Florida and just had a baby, so it’s not so practical for her to make this trip. I’m in super-work mode till I leave so I don’t have to take my laptop to the beach!  Since I’m feeling very focused and productive today (how did that happen?), I may be back to post too.  I’m hoping to get into the city on Sunday. Boston holds a special place in my heart—I really learned a lot and became a real grown-up when I lived there. Do you have a place like that in your life—one that has a super special meaning to you?

Eat some cinnamon!!

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