I don’t blame you! The harder we try to take charge of our lives and make healthier choices, the harder it is know just what those choices should be. Now, we learn that cinnamon, simple cinnamon, is not always cinnamon. Darn!
If you use a simple dash of cinnamon occassionally, it probably doesn’t really matter what kind you use. However, if you are using cinnamon on a daily basis as a means of controlling your blood sugar, reducing inflammation and LDL cholesterol, or fighting certain bacterias, you need to do some research on ceylon cinnamon vs cassia- related, but separate foods.
The same is true if you are dieting. It does seem that adding a dash of cinnamon to your food each meal is a big dieting aid, BUT you do want to be sure that you are using a cinnamon with no health risks. (I do find that adding cinnamon to my food (as a seasoning like salt) does much for controlling weight.)
The following is what I’ve learned by doing my own homework.*
Cassia “cinnamon” is also called Chinese cinnamon or Saigon cinnamon, and it (like ceylon) does have properties that lower blood sugar. However, cassia also has a higher coumarin content than ceylon cinnamon. Coumarins have strong anticoagulant properties, and taken in large amounts can inhibit the blood’s ability to coagulate.
Most of the cinnamon that we buy in grocery stores is actually cassia; however, it is very hard to know for sure because American laws do not force companies to label their cinnamon.
The only true cinnamon is ceylon cinnamon and, of course, it is more expensive than the cassia. It is also much lower in coumarins than is cassia, posing no real threat if used in larger quantities. (1/2- 3/4 teaspoon per day is probably a good amount to use.)
To tell if your cinnamon sticks are true cinnamon, look at the color. The deep red-brown colored sticks are cassia. Those that are light tannish in color are ceylon.
The only way that I know of to be sure that I get the right powdered cinnamon is to order it. Although there are many places to find a good organic cinnamon, I usually order from iherb.com simply because I seem to get a good price there.
As always, never take my word or that of any other blogger as the gospel when it comes to your healthy choices. This is a very easy subject to research, and a good starting place would be the abstract below.
*If you watched Dr. Oz recently, you heard him say that it is the cassia cinnamon that you want to use. Again, do a little homework!