One of my favorite spices to use during the winter is cinnamon. It’s a wonderful, warming spice that, with its health-giving qualities, can ease the discomfort of the illnesses that often arise in these cold winter months.
Although this fragrant spice might remind you of the holiday season, it also contains potent antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties.
Cinnamon has been used for hundreds of years as a natural medicine. In Ayurvedic treatment, it’s often used to treat respiratory and digestive problems.
St. Hildegard even enjoyed cinnamon as a healing spice long ago, sharing that it was good for sinus issues. She also included it in her yummy Joy Cookies along with nutmeg and cloves.
Do you know? Cinnamon is harvested from the inner bark of a tropical evergreen plant where it’s peeled and laid in the sun to dry. It curls into rolls which we know as cinnamon sticks. These sticks are ground into a powder form to become one of our favorite household spices.There are 2 common types of cinnamon:
- Cassia cinnamon – this cinnamon originates from southern China and is the more common and less expensive type you see in the store.
- Ceylon cinnamon– sometimes named “true” cinnamon, this one originates from Sri Lanka and southern India and is less common and typically more expensive at the store.
The distinct aroma and flavor of cinnamon that we recognize are due to the oil in the inner bark which is very high in the compound cinnamaldehyde. Scientists believe that it’s this compound that’s responsible for cinnamon’s powerful effects on health.
The Benefits of Cinnamon
There are many health benefits of cinnamon. Here are just a few to support you during this season.
1. Anti-viral and anti-bacterial – The essential oil of cinnamon that contains cinnamaldehyde has antiviral and anti-bacterial properties.
2. Lowers blood sugar- Cinnamon is known for helping to manage blood sugar, working in a way similar to insulin.
3. Supports brain health – Recent research indicates that cinnamon may support the health of the aging brain, possibly reducing the risk of such conditions as Alzheimer’s.
Simple and Delicious Cinnamon Recipes
Here’s one of my favorite cinnamon recipes to have when I’m feeling under the weather. You can sip it as a tea to help relieve your discomfort when you have a cold, the flu, or a sore throat. You can also store it in a jar to use on pancakes, toast, oatmeal, or even roasted squash or sweet potatoes. So simple and delicious!
1 Tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
To make tea, simply dissolve a spoonful or two of cinnamon honey in hot water. Then enjoy!
Feeling more adventurous and not sick? Then enjoy roasted squash or sweet potatoes with cinnamon honey.
Roasted Squash with Cinnamon Honey
Prepare butternut squash by peeling and chopping it into 1-inch pieces, discarding the seeds. Place the squash pieces in a bowl. Other varieties of winter squash or sweet potatoes can be used as a substitute, if desired.
Depending on the size of your squash, add 2-3 T. cinnamon honey, 1-2 T. olive oil and ¼-1/2 t. salt in the bowl. Mix until the pieces are fully coated.
Spread evenly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and roast in a 375-degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Stir halfway through. Serve warm and enjoy!
This is the third post in my series of nourishing foods and recipes for the month of January. A way to support you in taking care of yourself this month. Did you miss the first two? You can find them here:
The Nourishing Food That’s Good for Digestion and Skin and Even Makes Us Happy
An Easy, Nutritious Snack to Help Curb Cravings