How Should I Add Cinnamon to My Diet?
Cinnamon is one of my feel-good foods. The scent reminds me of fall, my favorite time of year, and brings back memories of making apple pies with my mom, and celebrating the holidays.
While I’ve always been a fan of its flavor and aroma, as a nutritionist, I’m also thrilled to spread the news about cinnamon’s health benefits. For example, one teaspoon of cinnamon packs as much antioxidant potency as a half cup of blueberries, and cinnamon’s natural antimicrobial properties have been shown to fight strains of E. coli, as well as Candida yeast. Also, while technically not sweet, “sweet spices” like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger have been shown to boost satiety and mimic sweetness, which allows you to cut back on sugar in nearly anything, from your morning cup of Joe to a batch of homemade muffins.
To take advantage of cinnamon’s potential benefits, incorporate it into more meals. One of the things I love about this spice is how versatile it is. I use it in both sweet and savory dishes, and I feel like I’m always finding new ways to add it to meals, snacks, and beverages.
· Sprinkle cinnamon into your coffee, or add it to your coffee grounds before brewing.
· Add a dash or two of cinnamon to hot oatmeal, overnight oats, or cold whole grain cereal.
· Fold cinnamon into yogurt, along with cooked,fresh cut fruit, and nuts or seeds.
· Freeze cinnamon in ice cubes to add zest and aroma to water or cocktails.
· Stir cinnamon into almond butter, or any nut or seed butter, and use as a dip for fresh apple or pear wedges or a filling for celery.
· Add a pinch of cinnamon to lentil or black bean soup, or vegetarian chili.
· Season roasted cauliflower, sweet potatoes, spaghetti, and butternut squash with a pinch of cinnamon.
· Sprinkle a little cinnamon onto popped popcorn.
· Stir a little cinnamon into melted dark chocolate and drizzle over whole nuts to make spicy ‘bark’ or use as a dip or coating for fresh fruit.
Cinnamon can be purchased in several forms, including ground powder, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon bark oil, or even capsules.
Tips for Storing & Using Cinnamon Spice
· Buy hollow brown sticks or ground powder. Whole sticks (quills) keep their flavor indefinitely. Powdered cinnamon loses its flavor quickly, so you should purchase in small quantities and keep away from light in airtight containers.
· Do not store powdered cinnamon spice in refrigerator, humidity will destroy it. Powdered cinnamon spice should be stored in airtight containers in a cool dark place.