Foundation Diet and Health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

Ground cinnamon

Ground cinnamon is used to flavor a variety of dishes. The substance coumarin, which is found in higher levels in cheap cinnamon, may be harmful to your health.
Water 10.6%  94/05/01  LA : ALA
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Ground cinnamon is a classic spice found in applesauce, compotes, casseroles, and fruit salad. It is also used to season hearty and spicy dishes. In India, cinnamon is an important ingredient in curries and chutneys.

General information:

From Wikipedia: Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon is used in both sweet and savoury foods. The term "cinnamon" also refers to its mid-brown colour.

Cinnamomum verum is sometimes considered to be "true cinnamon", but most cinnamon in international commerce is derived from related species, also referred to as "cassia" to distinguish them from "true cinnamon".

Nutritional information:

“Ten grams (about 2 teaspoons) of ground cinnamon contain:

Energy: 103.4 kJ (24.7 kcal), Fat: 0.12 g, Carbohydrates: 8.06 g (of which - fibres: 5.31 g, sugars: 0.2 g), Protein: 0.4 g”

“Cinnamon contains many bioactive substances, some of which have possible health benefits. The amount and presence of bioactive compounds differ a bit between species, but most species contain significant amounts of cinnamaldehyde, usually as much as 60-75% in the volatile oil. Other bioactive compounds comprise coumarin, styrene, cinnamic acid, cinnamate, linalool, procyanidins and catechins. Eugenol is mostly found in the leaves of cinnamon trees, but usually in high concentrations.”

Culinary uses:

“Cinnamon bark is used as a spice. It is principally employed in cookery as a condiment and flavouring material. It is used in the preparation of chocolate, especially in Mexico, which is the main importer of cinnamon. It is also used in many dessert recipes, such as apple pie, doughnuts, and cinnamon buns, as well as spicy candies, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and liqueurs. In the Middle East, cinnamon is often used in savoury dishes of chicken and lamb. In the United States, cinnamon and sugar are often used to flavour cereals, bread-based dishes, such as toast, and fruits, especially apples; a cinnamon-sugar mixture is even sold separately for such purposes. It is also used in Turkish cuisine for both sweet and savoury dishes. Cinnamon can also be used in pickling. Cinnamon powder has long been an important spice in enhancing the flavour of Persian cuisine, used in a variety of thick soups, drinks, and sweets.”

Medicinal uses:

“From Antiquity up to the Early Modern Period, cinnamon bark has been used to treat coughs, colds, and other common ailments. It supports the stomach and also has diuretic, laxative, and menstruation-promoting effects as well as astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, especially in the case of hemorrhoids. ... Cinnamon oil and cinnamon bark have high levels of antimicrobial activity, which is primarily a result of the effect of cinnamic aldehyde, which is the main component of the essential oil contained in cinnamon. Particularly active components include p-Cymene, linalool, and o-Methoxy cinnamaldehyde.*”

Cultivation:

“Aggregate annual production of cinnamon and cassia amounts to 27,500–35,000 tons, worldwide. Of this, C. verum accounts for 7,500–10,000 tons of production, with the remainder produced by other species. Sri Lanka produces 80–90% of the world's supply of C. verum, but that is the only species grown there; C. verum is also cultivated on a commercial scale in Seychelles and Madagascar. Global production of the other species averages 20,000–25,000 tons, of which Indonesia produces around two-thirds of the total, with significant production in China. India and Vietnam are also minor producers.

Cinnamon is cultivated by growing the tree for two years, then coppicing it, i.e., cutting the stems at ground level. The following year, about a dozen new shoots form from the roots, replacing those that were cut. ...

The stems must be processed immediately after harvesting while the inner bark is still wet. The cut stems are processed by scraping off the outer bark, then beating the branch evenly with a hammer to loosen the inner bark, which is then pried off in long rolls. Only 0.5 mm (0.02 in) of the inner bark is used; the outer, woody portion is discarded, leaving metre-long cinnamon strips that curl into rolls ("quills") on drying. The processed bark dries completely in four to six hours, provided it is in a well-ventilated and relatively warm environment. Once dry, the bark is cut into 5- to 10-cm (2- to 4-in) lengths for sale. A less than ideal drying environment encourages the proliferation of pests in the bark, which may then require treatment by fumigation. Fumigated bark is not considered to be of the same premium quality as untreated bark.

Health risks:

“The European Food Safety Authority in 2008 considered toxicity of coumarin, known to cause liver and kidney damage in high concentrations and a significant component of cinnamon, and metabolic effect on humans with CYP2A6 polymorphism, and confirmed a maximum recommended tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.1 mg of coumarin per kg of body weight. The European Union set a guideline for maximum coumarin content in foodstuffs of 50 mg per kg of dough in seasonal foods, and 15 mg per kg in everyday baked foods.”

“Coumarin, which is toxic when consumed in large quantities, is found in cinnamon, but in higher levels in cassia cinnamon and Chinese cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon from China, Indonesia, or Vietnam is the type of cinnamon found in most convenience foods.

The amount of coumarin found in the two types of cinnamon differs greatly. While cassia cinnamon has about 2 g of coumarin per kilogram, the same amount of ceylon cinnamon contains only about 0.02 g. ... Coumarin consumed in excessive quantities can cause headaches, and individuals with a sensitivity can also get headaches from consuming smaller amounts. Large overdoses can cause liver damage, inflammation of the liver, and possibly even cancer, as has been shown in animal testing with rats ... Comparable human studies have not been conducted. ... It is best to use ceylon cinnamon for cooking at home, which is more expensive, but is considered safe for consumption as it contains lower amounts of coumarin ... *”

Note (italics): * = Translation from a German Wikipedia entry

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