Cinnamon – the magical spice
Ironically it’s cinnamon, often an ingredient in Christmas menus, that helps to detoxify the body after the holidays. This is because the fragrant cinnamon sticks can do a lot more than add flavour to desserts!
In complementary medicine, cinnamon gets credit for health promoting characteristics that include helping to break down sugar, triggering an anti-inflammatory effect, and providing antioxidants to protect the body while it eliminates toxins. Using cinnamon therefore makes a lot of sense, especially after the holidays when we often consume lots of meat, sweets and alcohol.
It’s simply tree bark
But where does cinnamon actually come from and how is it made? Cinnamon is simply the bark of the cinnamon tree. There are two kinds: Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka and Cassia cinnamon from China. Ceylon cinnamon is sweeter and more fragrant – Cassia cinnamon is somewhat more bitter. Cinnamon is produced by shaving off tree bark, and the shavings are then rolled into sticks or made into powder or oil.
Stimulate your metabolism with cinnamic aldehyde
Cinnamon is mostly used as a spice in foods and beverages. The key health promoting substance in cinnamon is cinnamic aldehyde, an essential oil that stimulates the metabolism, triggers an antibacterial effect and, according to studies, can positively influence the body’s ability to break down sugar and fat. In ayurvedic medicine, it has been used for a long time for these purposes. Furthermore, cinnamon is known for its ability to warm the body and positively influence one’s mood. It’s therefore an excellent way of fighting the winter blues and surviving during the cold and grey winter months. Cinnamon also helps stimulate the digestion and can alleviate bloating and cramps.
Recipe idea: Cinnamon water
Although cinnamon is generally used for cooking and baking, you can also use it to make cinnamon water. This is easy to prepare and allows for many variations.
- Bring 2-3 cinnamon sticks (Ceylon cinnamon) to a boil in water
- Add a teaspoon of honey if you like
- Add cold water until you have the desired intensity
Positive effects: A flavourful beverage with few calories, has a warming effect, can help to break down sugar and burn fat.