The Great (Grate) Cinnamon Debate

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Cinnamon lovers like me have heard about the differences in the two main cinnamon types for years (Ceylon and Saigon), were you aware of the great cinnamon debate?

Questions arise such as:

  • How do the differ?
  • Which one tastes best?
  • What are the health benefits of each?
  • Which is the “true” cinnamon
  • Is store bought ok, or should you grind your own?
  • How is cinnamon farmed, where does it come from?

All great questions and even I thought I knew all the answers…until I did more research. Boy, was I surprised! Turns out, fresh is best-in other words, grate your own at home.

I love cinnamon and I use it every day! I had been told years ago when I started studying different diets that Ceylon cinnamon was the best and only cinnamon one should use.

First off, there is no nutritional difference in the two, yet when buying store bought ground or powdered cinnamon, one can’t know where it was sourced. Were pesticides used? Flour or God forbid, sawdust added? (Yes, some manufacturers do that for added filler!!)

So, the best method to ensure one is getting real, fresh cinnamon, is to buy from trusted sources and grate it yourself. That way, you are guaranteed the harvest date, where in the world it came from, and the method of farming used.

I need to buy a grater!

A wonderful blog I follow called Food Renegade is run by a passionate advocate for real food, Kristen Michaelis who suggests this site for buying the best cinnamon and graters.

A starter kit of 2 fresh cinnamon sticks of each type, individually wrapped, plus a grater is $25. That would also make a cinnamon lover like me a great gift!

Do you know everything there is to know about cinnamon? Me neither, yet I can answer some of the most asked questions like the ones I listed above.

What’s the difference?

Saigon cinnamon is native to Vietnam but trees are also grown in Japan and China. Ceylon cinnamon is grown in Brazil and Chinese cinnamon (also called cassia) is found in southeast Asia.

How does each one taste?

Ceylon cinnamon is subtle, warm, and has a citrusy aroma.

Saigon cinnamon is hot and sweet.

They both come from the bark of the tree and are ground for use or sold as sticks for flavoring drinks, gravies, or to be ground fresh by the consumer.

Wrapped cinnamon sticks stay fresh about a year, of course, once unwrapped they lose that freshness. Cinnamon loses the precious essential oils and nutrients in the manufacturing process, so it’s best to grind your own.

However, if you do choose to buy ground cinnamon, be sure to get Organic, preferably from Amazon, or your favorite health food store.

Photo credit: Monika Grabkowsky for Unsplash

What are the health benefits?

  • reduces blood sugar -good for type2 diabetics-lowers bad cholesterol
  • alternative sweetener
  • great source of calcium, manganese, iron, and fiber
  • has an anti-clotting effect on the blood
  • helps digestion
  • improves skin
  • inhibits bacterial growth
  • stops some medication-resistant yeast infections

Some other claims are that it aids in pain reduction, acts as an inflammatory, and boosts cognitive function and memory. Some studies suggest cinnamon and honey together help one lose weight.

The fresher the spice is, the greater the benefits will be. Obviously, if your cinnamon is old and stale, it won’t taste good or work as well.

Much has been discussed on the accuracy of studies on cinnamon being able to reduce blood glucose in type 2 diabetics since no one knows how the tested cinnamon was sourced, if it was on pills, extracts, powder or freshly grated.

Keep taking your medication by all means, yet try an experiment and see if adding freshly grated cinnamon to your daily diet helps lower your blood glucose.

Which cinnamon contains the most Coumarin?

Saigon cinnamon has a higher concentration of the natural flavoring coumarin, which in 2006 claims were made by German health authorities could cause liver damage to sensitive people. You would have to eat lots of cinnamon to worry though.

Is cinnamon an aphrodisiac?

According to the Bible, ancient Chinese medicine, and even 17th century witchcraft, cinnamon heats up your body, turns on your sex drive, and strengthens the heart. Hmmmm. Pumpkin pie sir? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Photo credit: Deryn Macey for Unsplash

How is cinnamon used?

I can’t think of too many ways cinnamon couldn’t be used! I take it in my coffee every single day, shake it in smoothies, on my porridge and in my home made keto granola.

Think how much better freshly ground would taste!!!

I hope I’ve given you some food for thought, a source for fresh cinnamon and graters, and a new appreciation for this ancient spice. Let me know if you need clarification on anything by comments in the box.

Have a great Wednesday and spice up your life!

7 Replies to “The Great (Grate) Cinnamon Debate”

  1. ok, i know when i ground my own cinnamon that it tastes stronger and smells better. But now i’m kind of pissed that i’ve lived in Brazil for a long time and i can’t remember my cinnamon being anything but hot and spicy.

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