Nothing says holidays more than the warm, sweet smell of cinnamon. Sadly its often used with sugary high fats foods like rice pudding, sweet rolls and egg nog. That too bad because this popular spice offers a buffet of health benefits:
Cinnamon and Diabetes
Studies published in the peer reviewed Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported that cinnamon added to a routine diet can lower elevated blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon and Cancer
Laboratory reseaarch has demonstrated that cinnamon extract can slow the growth ( or even kill) cancer cells.
Cinnamon and Pain
Athletes who took cinnamon supplements after a tough workout reported less pain after exercising.
Cinnamon and Cholesterol
Doctors have found that people who took cinnamon supplements lowered their triglycerides levels up to 30%. Even better, the cholesterol levels also dropped from 10-30%.
Adding Cinnamon to Your Diet
In addition to being essential in apple pie, this spice is a powerful antioxidant. This means it cleans up the free radicals that are linked to aging, heart disease, cancer and pain. When you add cinnamon to your diet its important not to add additional fat and sugar. Rather than a cinnamon bun for breakfast, sprinkle it over oatmeal or on buttered toast. For lunch mix cinnamon into fat free cream cheese, spread on a bagel and top with a few bits of chopped waluts. At dinnertime, end your meal with a freshly baked cinnamon topped apple or dust it over sugar free rice pudding. For potluck parties extra cinnamon will elevate sugar free apple pie from blah to beautiful.
My favorite way of adding spicy health to my meals is with a cup of chai. tea. Not that artificial tasting tea bag, but home brewed spice infused tea that will make your kitchen smell like Christmas.
Cinnamon Chai Tea Time
Ingredients: 4 cardamom seeds, 3 cloves, 2 peppercorns 2 cinnamon sticks, 4 teabags, 1 cup of 2% milk, I cup of water
Directions: Pop the spices into a small plastic bag and crush lightly with a hammer. Empty the smashed spices into in a saucepan and add the cinnamon sticks, water and milk. Warm until boiling, then turn off the heat. Toss in the tea bags, top with a lid and forget about it for 5 minutes. Strain the fragrant tea into mugs and add sugarless sweetner to taste. Its a whole healthy holiday in a mug