Cinnamon (Dalchini) is one of the oldest spices. It is an aromatic spice which is a part of the dried bark of a Southeast Asian wild tree. This tree belongs to genus ‘cinnamomum’. It is medium to dark brown in colour. It is used in Asian cuisines to give them a nice aroma. Also used in desserts or porridges for the same purpose. It is hard in texture as it’s a part of the bark of the plant and hence the pieces or the stick of cinnamon is removed from the food preparation when served, as it is very hard to chew and swallow.
Many a times, this stick is powdered and then used in the preparations. This way it will be absorbed by the body well and thus utilized to give out its many health benefits.
The peculiar flavor and smell of cinnamon comes from an essential oil in it, called as cinnamaldehyde. The other helpful substances present in it are cinnamic acid and cinnamate. These display various beneficial properties and promote good health. It also consist a good amount of effective anti-oxidants which are responsible for preventing various diseases and disorders. Cinnamon is also antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal in nature.
Cinnamon and Diabetes: - Many studies have shown that cinnamon positively controls blood sugar levels after meals and the lipid profile in patients with diabetes.
The results of a study states that intake of 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon per day reduces blood glucose, triglyceride, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease. Cinnamon improves body's ability to utilize insulin which helps to keep blood sugar levels under control.
The antioxidants in cinnamon help in reducing the risk of cancer: - Studies suggest that cinnamon has certain anti-cancer properties. This may help in prevention of cancer. Also, it aids in restraining the growth of existing tumor cells thus restricting the growth of tumors.
Helps in fighting various infections: - The essential oils from cinnamon exhibit antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activities and thus it helps in combating different types of infections.
Minoti Dighe Gadre- Sr. Dietician