Cinnamon always reminds me of my Greek grandmother. She added cinnamon to savory dishes like chicken cooked with tomatoes and spices, and stuffed grape leaves made out of meat and rice. I also recall fresh, hot, fried donuts dusted with cinnamon and sugar. I think that for many of us, cinnamon is one of those spices that transcends time and place with wonderful culinary memories.
Cinnamon is a well known spice used in sweet and savory dishes. It can be added to curries, in chocolate, teas, apple pie, and many more dishes. It is obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum.
From an anticancer perspective, cinnamon is a promising preventive treatment for cancer. It has both anti-inflammatory and high antioxidant characteristics. In addition, according to studies at M.D. Anderson, cinnamon nutraceuticals given to mice inhibited multiple pro-inflammatory pathways in cancer cells.
According to Bharat Aggarwal, PHD: “The medicinal value of spices, such as cinnamon, has been recognized for centuries by a variety of cultures,” Aggarwal says. “Even so, much of their potential has only been realized over the past 50 years. We are just scratching the surface of how spices can impact cancer. The research being done is promising.”
However, large long term doses of the spice can have adverse effects for some people. Coumarin, a chemical in cinnamon, can cause negative side effects for those with liver disease. It can also lower blood sugar levels–diabetics should exercise caution.
So assuming you have no contra-indications (always check with your doctor!), here are some delicious ways to incorporate this spice into your diet this week.