There is a difference between “true” Ceylon cinnamon and the kind that is typically sold at grocery stores as cinnamon, cassia cinnamon, or Saigon cinnamon. One of these spices is packed full of health benefits, while the other has the potential to cause damage to our livers when taken in access. The real cinnamon can only bring you good.
What’s the Difference?
True cinnamon and the other, cheaper to produce varieties of cinnamon actually come from a completely different species of tree. True cinnamon is typically produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil, or the Caribbean, while it’s false cousin is usually grown in China, Indonesia, or Vietnam.
Another difference is in appearance and flavor. While the cinnamon we’re used to seeing on the grocery store shelves is typically dark reddish brown and tastes quite spicy, true cinnamon is much lighter in color and has a sweeter, more mild, yet still overwhelmingly delicious, flavor.
The biggest and most relevant difference between cinnamons is the content of a compound called coumarin. Ceylon cinnamon contains about 0.017 g/kg while other types of cinnamon contain from 2.15–6.97 g/kg of coumarin. This compound is a blood thinner and anticoagulant, so it is not recommended for those already on medications such as Warfarin. In addition to its effect on the blood, studies have also found that coumarin is toxic to the liver when we consume above the tolerable daily intake, which is set at 0.1mg/kg of body weight.
That means for someone who weighs 68 kg they would have a TDI of 6.8mg/day. Since one gram of cinnamon can contain between 2.15-6.97mg of coumarin, you could be reaching that upper limit by consuming about 1/5 of a tsp. per day. If you want to take cinnamon for health benefits you’ll likely be taking a bit more than this, so it’s best to stick with Ceylon cinnamon, just to be safe.
How Do You Find the Best Quality Cinnamon?
1.Look for cinnamon that is labeled as either
2.Buy organic cinnamon to prevent contamination with pesticides and other fillers or preservatives.
3.True cinnamon “sticks” will often curl in a circle, instead of in the characteristic two-curled stick.
4.Lighter brown in color and more powdery and fluffy than conventionally sold cinnamon.
5.It will usually be more expensive. This isn’t always the best indicator, but when combined with a couple of the other points above it can be helpful.
What Are the Health Benefits of True Cinnamon?
–It’s a great source of manganese, which is a trace mineral that you need in order to build healthy bones and properly metabolize fats and carbs.
–Cinnamon also contains fiber to help digestion, calcium for strong bones, and iron for energy production.
–Cinnamon is an incredibly potentanti-bacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, which means it can help your immune system protect you from the colds and flu circulating at school, home, or the office!
–Research suggests that itsanti-inflammatory benefits may be protective against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Since this disease is becoming increasingly prevalent in North America, learning that certain common foods can provide protective benefits is incredibly empowering!
–If you suffer from pre-diabetes, Type 2 diabetes,insulin resistance, or PCOS cinnamon can be a true lifesaver! It has been shown in studies that even small amounts, as little as ½ tsp./day, can help lower your fasting glucose levels—the fancy terms for the amount of sugar circulating in our blood between meals—, HbA1C, and blood pressure by improving your response to insulin.
-Incorporating cinnamon into your daily routine can help prevent signs of aging thanks to its potent effects oninflammatory and oxidative compounds in the body.