You know how the world says that Indians have strong immunity. Well, there is a secret to that. Our ancestors were very smart, they knew about the vast variety, medicinal properties and benefits of the spices found in the country. And just by adding these spices in our everyday meals, we have slowly and steadily built up strong immune system.
To pay a little tribute to these varied spices, we thought of starting a series where we talk about each spice in detail and how you can incorporate it in your meals either way- breakfast/lunch/dinner or starter/main course/dessert. And, we are beginning with the most flavoursome and fragrant spice- Cinnamon.
1. What is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of a tropical tree and is used widely as a condiment and flavouring agent in beverages, curries, cakes and desserts. It is easily available in the Indian market in whole bark form and powdered form also. Cinnamon is a sweet-tasting spice with a warm and woody aroma.
It is fairly easy to use cinnamon powder in our daily routine, but it loses its smell and flavour quickly so it is recommended to buy it in small quantities and store properly in an air tight container. Cinnamon bark, on the other hand, keeps the flavour and aroma intact for really long and can also be purchased in bulk. The thinner the bark, the better.
2. Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon contains high amounts of anti-oxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Its consumption has been linked to reducing chances of heart attack and lowering blood sugar levels.
In addition, cinnamon helps in fighting bacterial and fungal infections in the body especially respiratory tract infections caused by fungi.
3. How to include cinnamon in your daily diet?
- Start your day by drinking warm water with a pinch of cinnamon powder or infused with cinnamon stick. This cinnamon drink has been proven beneficial in reducing effects of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) by reducing insulin resistance in women, boosting the immune system, inducing weight loss by preventing cravings and hunger pangs.
This wonder drink is also said to be effective in reducing the effects of Parkinson's disease.
- For breakfast, you can incorporate cinnamon powder in your oats, pancakes and smoothies (if you have any of it in the morning). A dash of this spice is enough to do its magic. Include this easy oats recipe in your breakfast regime.
- Cinnamon is a great spice to be used in Indian cooking. Garam Masala, a mix of staple spices, used in almost all Indian curries, has cinnamon as a star ingredient. Not only that, you can add cinnamon stick while making pulao along with the other spices or even in plain rice. It adds flavour, aroma and makes your pulao look presentable. You can also try this quick and easy Chinese Five Spice recipe using Tassyam Cinnamon Powder.
- Because cinnamon is a sweet spice, it works greatly for desserts like apple pie, spiced carrot cake, cinnamon rolls and banana and oats muffins and for drinks like hot chocolate, mulled wine and pumpkin spice latte. With the cold weather finally knocking at our doors, a cup of hot chocolate is the perfect way to end the day, no?
Looking for an easy mulled wine recipe this winters? Check here.