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Spice of the month: CINNAMON

CINNAMON:


Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods. While native only to the island of Sri Lanka, cinnamon trees are now naturalized in South East Asia
If you want to react faster in your next squash game, chew some cinnamon gum. It speeds the way your brain processes visual cues. Cinnamon regulates blood sugar levels.
History
Cinnamon, which is actually the dried bark of the laurel tree, has been used since antiquity. This powerful spice was used in Egypt, Rome, and China. Native to Sri Lanka, cinnamon can be produced from many species of laurel. The “real” cinnamon of old comes from the C. zeylanicum tree, but most modern cinnamon comes from the C. cassia tree.
Origin
The history of cinnamon dates back to about 2800 BC where it can be found referenced as kwai in Chinese writings. It was used medicinally for colds and flu as well as problems of the digestive system. One of the worlds most important medicinal spices, it was also mentioned by Pliny, Dioscorides, and Theophrastus.
Historically, cinnamon is even mentioned in the Bible. Moses used it as an ingredient for his anointing oils. In ancient Rome, it was burned during funerals, perhaps partly as a way to ward off the odor of dead bodies. The ancient Egyptians used it in embalming mummies because of its pleasant odors and its preservative qualities.

How to buy cinnamon
Ground cinnamon begins to fade in flavor after a few months, so it’s best to buy whole cinnamon quills (or sticks) and grind as needed. The quills are somewhat tough, so you’ll need a sturdy spice grinder or fine grater.
If your only option is to buy ground cinnamon, try to find good stuff made from whole quills, as opposed to “featherings” (which are the inner bark of twigs and small shoots that are not large enough to form a full quill) or from “cinnamon chips” (made from shavings and trimmings). When in doubt, buy Ceylon cinnamon, which comes from Sri Lanka and is widely considered to be the best in the world.
Health Benefits: Balances Blood Sugar
1)Maybe it’s ironic that cinnamon — that spicy-sweet favorite that cooks use to give desserts extra flavor — can help control blood-sugar problems. Or maybe — given the fact that the rate of type 2 diabetes in the United States has doubled in the past two decades — it’s Mother Nature’s way of cutting us a break.
2)Study after study has shown that cinnamon can play a role in the everyday management of blood sugar (glucose) levels and other cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.
3)Diabetes, a disease of chronically high blood sugar, attacks arteries and veins, increasing the risk of heart disease sixfold. The good news is that preventing type 2 diabetes and reversing prediabetes is possible with lifestyle changes alone — they are actually more effective than preventive medications.
4)Cinnamon helps control blood-sugar levels in the short term as well. Swedish researchers studied 14 people, feeding them the same meal twice — rice pudding, with or without a hefty sprinkling of cinnamon. The cinnamon-spiced meal yielded significantly lower blood-sugar levels.
May also help prevent and treat:
Cancer, cholesterol problems, food poisoning, heart disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome, stroke, ulcer, vaginal yeast infection, wounds.

 

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