BY KAVITA DEVGAN
There is no doubt that this unmistakable aromatic, slightly pungent spice has an aroma that stimulates the senses, yet soothes the nerves
To someone in Norway the scent of cinnamon (dalchini) might mean breakfast buns. In other parts of the world it could evoke apple pie or cinnamon rolls, and to most of us in India, it most definitely means a cup of spiced chai. Personally, I find it warm and uplifting, and love its simultaneously sweet and savoury flavour. The use of cinnamon goes back nearly 4,000 years. It was a popular herb in traditional Chinese medicine, and today modern science has caught up and proved its umpteen health benefits many times over.
BALANCES SUGAR LEVELS
It is one of the best ways to balance blood sugar levels, and may help prevent or delay Type II diabetes. Sprinkling a pinch of cinnamon in your morning cuppa can work wonders as this spice helps activate essential enzymes in the body, which stimulate the cells to respond more efficiently to insulin. This helps prevent diabetes. The double bonus here is that controlling diabetes helps lessen the risk of heart problems. Also, when blood sugar levels are balanced, the hormones can function in a way that allows for better sleep. And cinnamon is a brilliant fatigue cutter. We all know that if blood sugar levels are imbalanced, one may feel tired through the day.
It can help combat colds, flu and digestive problems. The healing abilities offered by this simple spice are courtesy of its phytochemical compounds and terpenoids, substances found in its essential oil. Not many people know that cinnamon is a good source of the powerful antioxidant manganese, crucial for both our brain and body’s health. Cinnamon also effectively combats Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that cause most ulcers, and is loaded with polyphenols that are anti- inflammatory in nature.
Both the taste and smell of this spice are said to significantly improve scores on memory tests. The compounds proanthocyanidins and cinnamaldehyde lead to greater cerebral blood flow and better processing of information and thus a sharper brain.
Kavita Devgan is a Delhi-based nutritionist, weight management consultant, health columnist and author of four bestsellers, Don’t Diet!
50 Habits of Thin People, Ultimate Grandmother Hacks, Fix It With Foods, The Don’t Diet Plan.