Cinnamon is a wonderful flavor to add to green smoothies. It goes especially well with smoothies using apples, pears, citrus (oranges, tangerines), banana and durian. Cinnamon can be used on its own or with other spices like nutmeg, clove, ginger and all spice.
Cinnamon is best used with mild, less-bitter greens like romaine, leaf lettuce and baby spinach. Avoid using it with bitter greens like kale and dandelion, or with flavorful berries.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon has also shown some potential benefit for people with diabetes. A study published in the December 2003 issue of the journal Diabetes Care, found that 1, 3 and 6 gram doses of cinnamon over a 40-day period reduced fasting serum glucose by 18-29%, triglyceride by 23-30% and LDL cholesterol by 7-26%. Other studies have shown cinnamon to have a mild to moderate effect on blood glucose levels in diabetics.
Cinnamon is often said to have antiviral properties, and this has been demonstrated to some degree within in vitro (cell culture) experiments. However, there are no clinical trials linking cinnamon consumption with a reduced risk of viral infection, nor has dietary cinnamon been shown to be effective in treating viral infections.
Different Types Of Cinnamon
You might think that cinnamon is cinnamon, but there are actually several distinct varieties commonly sold as cinnamon.
Ceylon cinnamon (cinnamomum verum), also called “true cinnamon” is supposedly the most flavorful and aromatic cinnamon. Ceylon is not the type of cinnamon that you typically get in the spice section at the grocery store. It’s difficult to find and usually sold in gourmet shops and online.
Cassia cinnamon (cinnamomum aromaticum), also called “Chinese cinnamon” is what you’ll typically find in your grocery store’s spice aisle. This is the cinnamon that is most often used in baking, in commercial foods that use cinnamon and it’s the variety that has been most studied by scientists for potential health and therapeutic benefits.
Saigon cinnamon (cinnamomum loureiroi), also called “Vietnamese cinnamon” is similar to cassia but has a sweeter, richer flavor and aroma than cassia. I prefer Saigon cinnamon to the standard cassia variety.
Cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin, a substance that can be toxic to the liver in large amounts. Marketers of “true cinnamon” (Ceylon) have capitalized on this recent public health scare since Ceylon cinnamon has very little coumarin compared to cassia cinnamon. However, it is highly unlikely that a toxic dose of coumarin would be consumed by a healthy adult unless they consumed excessive amounts of cinnamon on a daily basis. Young children might be most at risk for coumarin toxicity.
Smoothie Recipes That Contain Cinnamon
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