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Health and Beauty

The Dark Brown One: Cinnamon

Previously on The Riviera Woman we discussed turmeric and its many benefits. Today, it's time to discuss another popular spice of a different colour but which packs as much healthy goodness: cinnamon. Cinnamon is commonly added to both sweet and savoury dishes. Its distinct smell can be recognised from far away, and is synonymous with festive drinks and cakes. However, that's not all cinnamon has to offer. Science suggests it has a lot of health benefits that make it the perfect ingredient to be included in your diet.

This exotic spice is derived from the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum. Healthline explains that the smell and flavour of cinnamon come from its oils, which contain the compound cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamaldehyde is responsible for most of cinnamon's health benefits.

What symptoms does it help with? Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years, even in the prehistoric era. Today, its documented benefits are particularly helpful for people who experience the following: *Type 2 diabetes - 1 gram of cinnamon a day aids in maintaining the stability of blood sugar levels. *Heart disease - Cinnamon helps lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. *Memory problems - A study from Wheeling Jesuit University found that chewing cinnamon gum during a test "improved participants' scores on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed."

Cinnamon assists in regulating the brain's neurotransmitter levels and improves its function.
*Digestive problems - Cinnamon extract has been a common remedy to counter gastrointestinal problems for many years. BBC Good Food describes it as a carminative, renowned for its digestive, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. To achieve this effect, the spice is usually added in hot tea.
*Toothache - If you're experiencing toothache, cinnamon can help manage the pain until you see a dentist. This is because cinnamon helps strengthen the bones, which include teeth. Its antibacterial properties help keep harmful teeth-damaging bacteria at bay.

Cinnamon is available in: Cinnamon has two main types: Ceylon and Cassia. While the former is regarded as the "true cinnamon," both types pack the same benefits. Most of what is present on the market is Cassia due to it being a lot cheaper. The spice also comes in various forms. Aside from powder, Foxy Bingo explains that cinnamon may also be found in stick or dried flower form. Each one has its own merits depending on its intended use. For example, it's best to use cinnamon powder for pastry or if you’re mixing it with a drink.

Meanwhile, you can add a cinnamon stick while cooking oats. Modern medicine has also allowed for cinnamon to be consumed via capsules. If you need to apply it topically, using cinnamon oil extract is probably your best option. If you plan on taking cinnamon, consider the limit in which you consume it. The daily recommendation is between 1 to 4 grams. As with all things, practice moderation. And if you're leaning on cinnamon to address any particular health issue, it is best to check with your doctor first.

Saturday, 30 June 2018    Section: Health and Beauty
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