Cinnamon is a sweet spice derived from the bark of trees in the Cinnamomum genus. Records of cinnamon’s usage date back to 2,000 B.C., when it was imported to Egypt. One serving equals approximately 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon. One serving of cinnamon provides approximately 40 percent of your daily value of manganese along with several other essential nutrients. However, before adding cinnamon to your diet, consult with your physician to ensure that cinnamon would be beneficial for you.
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Benefits of Eating Cinnamon
According to Charles Moden, author of "Health Benefits of Cinnamon," consuming 1 tsp. of cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels, in turn decreasing appetite. In addition, cinnamon inhibits bacterial growth and can help fight illness. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce swelling from injuries.
Inhaling the scent of cinnamon can help boost brain function and improve cognitive ability. To reap these benefits, smell cinnamon-spiced food before you consume it or enjoy the scent upon opening a container of ground cinnamon. Additionally, the scent of cinnamon can help you determine if the spice retains its beneficial properties. Fresh cinnamon should smell sweet and powerful; if cinnamon lacks the sweet scent and smells musky or muted, discard it.
Ways to Enjoy Cinnamon
You can add 1 tsp. of cinnamon to an array of different foods to add complexity to their flavors and to enjoy the benefits of the spice. Examples include applesauce, rice pudding, toast, bagels, ice cream, cookies, sautéed vegetables, curries, burritos, and other spicy or sweet foods. Additionally, you can stir cinnamon into drinks such as coffee, tea and hot cocoa.
How Often to Eat Cinnamon
According to Moden, it is safe to consume up to 1/2 cup of ground cinnamon each day. However, consuming this amount of cinnamon is impractical and undesirable in most situations. In order to reap all the health benefits of cinnamon, you should consume at least 2 tsp. each day. This is easily achieved by eating 1 tsp. of cinnamon on two separate meals daily. Alternatively, consume one cinnamon-rich meal spiced with 2 tsp. for the sake of convenience.
Studies show that consuming a teaspoon of ground cinnamon without mixing or blending with other foods could cause serious complications. The cinnamon can enter your lungs and cause throat irritation and difficulty breathing. Instead, try mixing the cinnamon with yogurt or other foods to help prevent injury.