Special note: Here’s a reminder why you should try to include cinnamon in summer cooking with some new ideas, along with a popular blog I first posted in December.
Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years as a healing agent by wisdom-driven cultures. It’s a highly prized food item for not only for flavoring, but for its antioxidant and digestion-enhancing effects, as well as for its ability to lower blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance. Of specific importance to us is the fact that cinnamon reduces bone breakdown and can help prevent osteoporotic bone loss.
While best known as a holiday treat, there are plenty of delicious reasons to choose cinnamon to spice up your summer. Here are just a few of my favorites:
• Cut up apples and sprinkle them with cinnamon. A staff member reports that cinnamon on watermelon is excellent summer treat.
• Include in your favorite chai tea recipe
• Try adding cinnamon to fried rice
• Use as a topping on frozen bananas
• Try with all cereals – not just oatmeal – along with fruits and nuts.
As you shop for cinnamon, you may notice several alternatives. I do recommend you look for Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) also called “true cinnamon.” While it can be more expensive than the alternatives such as Cassia cinnamon, I believe the potential building effects are worth it year-round!
Finally, you may want to try one of my favorite recipes for Chai Tea, delicious hot or cold:
Traditional Chai Tea
Recipe courtesy of Gina Galli
(makes 4 cups of tea)
• 2 cups of boiling water
• Black tea – Either 2 tea bags or loose tea in a tea ball or disposable tea filters
• 1 teaspoon of whole Cardamom pods (crush and just use the seeds)
• 3 whole Star of Anise
• 2 whole Cinnamon Sticks
• ½ of whole Nutmeg
• 2 cups of Milk or Almond Milk
• Sweeten to taste with sweetener of choice (Stevia, Agave, or honey)
• Other spices you can add are ginger, whole black peppercorns, or a Masala Spice Mix
1) Boil water in a sauce pan, remove from heat and add tea to steep for 5-10 minutes—longer if you like it stronger.
2) Add the spices whole to the tea (or you can put them in a small strainer or tea ball) and simmer for 10 minutes more until the tea becomes fragrant.
3) Strain the tea or remove strainer and add 2 cups of milk. Bring the liquid back to a simmer just for just 2 to 3 minutes to blend flavors.
4) You can add sweetener to taste if you like. In India they sometimes will add a teaspoon per serving of sweetened condensed milk.
Tsuji-Naito K. Aldehydic components of cinnamon bark extract suppresses RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis through NFATc1 downregulation. Bioorg Med Chem. 2008 Oct 15;16(20):9176-83. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2008.09.036. Epub 2008 Sep 14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18823786 (accessed 12.05.13)