As the days get colder and nights longer, we celebrate this time of year as people have for generations: with the sights and smells of the holiday season. In addition to the pine tree and the mint from candy canes, the scent of the holidays is that of cinnamon.
From eggnog to pumpkin pie, this ancient spice has become a staple of American homes — and for good reason.
Cinnamon is more than a tasty addition to toast and hot chocolate. When combined with other healthy, fresh ingredients, cinnamon provides a number of benefits for the holiday season and beyond.
Before we start talking about those benefits, I want to share an interesting fact with cinnamon with you. Believe it or not there are 3 types of cinnamon. Those types are Cassia (or false cinnamon), Ceylon (actual cinnamon), and Saigon (also actual cinnamon).
In order to get the maximum benefits from cinnamon, always use Saigon cinnamon.
Alright, let’s get on to the many benefits of cinnamon…
Manage Sugar Levels
Sugar plums and candied yams may have been an efficient way for our ancestors to prepare for the long winter, but modern Americans have the opposite problem: too much sugar. And for people with Type-2 Diabetes, the issue is far greater than simply watching their figure.
Certainly, cinnamon provides a simple and healthy alternative to raw sugar. Its natural sweetness and strong flavor make it a superb substitute in teas, coffees, breakfast grains (such as organic oatmeal), and more.
Beyond that, however, cinnamon has a natural balancing effect on blood sugar levels. When used along with any existing medications and healthy eating choices, cinnamon can help you balance the effects of indulging in your holiday sweet tooth.
Strengthen Digestive Health
Even those maintaining a healthy relationship with holiday desserts can find themselves overindulging in holiday meals. The turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, bacon-wrapped green beans, and fresh bread make it all too easy to overeat.
It’s no wonder, then, that two natural remedies for digestive health are integral to the holiday season. Mint is well known as a aid to indigestion and stomach inflammation. Cinnamon also provides relief from excessive digestive gas, which can lead to heartburn, intestinal pain, and social anxiety.
Simply mix ½ teaspoon of cinnamon with ½ teaspoon of honey in a cup of warm milk and drink. Recipe source: http://homeremediesforlife.com/stomach-gas/
Stay strong in cold season
Being with friends and family in the holiday season usually means being indoors for most of the time, and with that close proximity generally comes the onset of the cold and flu season. You can help your body stay strong and resistant with healthy doses of cinnamon in your diet.
Cinnamon has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. When combined with immune-supporting foods such as garlic, cinnamon can help you keep the winter bugs at bay.
And if you do come down with that cold or flu? Add fresh cinnamon to your tea to help you clear up mucus, improve circulation, and feel better quickly.
Get going with cinnamon early
Looking for a way to enjoy the benefits of cinnamon at the start of the day? Try this delicious oatmeal breakfast:
- 1 1/2 cups soy, rice, or almond milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons honey, plus more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- 3/4 cup regular (not quick-cooking) oats
- 2 tablespoons oat bran, optional
Combine the milk, salt, and spices in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly; add the honey, vanilla (if desired), oats, and bran (if desired), and stir until combined. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the oatmeal is thick and creamy. Serve hot with additional honey to taste.
Chai Oatmeal recipe source: http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,10000000522255,00.html
Looking for more ways to get healthy in the kitchen? Check out four additional spices that have surprising health benefits.
Check out my favorite cinnamon dessert options for the holidays.
- Pumpkin Bread