Since you're reading, you've most likely encountered another post (or million) of mine where I proclaimed my love for cinnamon. It's a full-on kinda love. I enjoy it daily, often in oatmeal or porridge, in pretty much ANY baked good, cocoa or coffee or tea, sprinkled over some apple slices....
Yep. I love that stuff. But only when it's the good kind.
This Macro Monday, I want to chat about REAL Cinnamon vs. not-so-good-for-you cinnamon...
MM: True Cinnamon
I bet you're wondering what I'm talking about, huh?
Well, there are actually multiple kinds of cinnamon.
- The kind that most supermarkets here in Canada and the United States sell, Chinese Cinnamon, also known as Cassia
- Mexican or True Cinnamon, known as Ceylon Cinnamon.
- Indonesian Cinnamon
- Vietnamese Cinnamon, also known as Saigon Cinnamon.
You want the Ceylon. Here's why:
Cassia contains a toxic compound called coumarin, which can be harmful to the liver, potentially even causing complete liver failure.
And before you get all Saigon and Indonesian Cinnamon up in my face...bad news, these both have higher levels of coumarin as well (in fact, Indonesian cinnamon is also known as Padang Cassia, and Saigon Cinnamon is also known as Vietnamese Cassia & it actually has the highest amounts of coumarin of all the types).
Cassia = not so great.
ONLY CEYLON Cinnamon has low enough levels of coumarin to be deemed safe.
Germany even banned Cassia at one point, due to this potential health risk.
This kind of worries me, because there are thousands of articles floating around out there from various doctors and experts describing how beneficial cinnamon can be. It is recommended for people with Diabetes and to help balance blood sugar levels along with many other things. Often these articles encourage a couple of spoons of cinnamon a day.
Great in theory...but this may be causing you liver problems (probably without you knowing it).
Why did I switch to using Ceylon? Well, the only reason I even know that there are multiple kinds of cinnamon, is because a few years ago I had a strange issue show up in my liver. My regular old doctor provided me no help, so my guy T & I took to the internet to begin investigating the foods I ate on a regular basis. We realized that the cinnamon I was ingesting, on a daily basis, was actually not true cinnamon, rather, it was Cassia which is known to affect the liver. Ugh. So yeah, I changed to Ceylon, and my liver test results came back normal a few months later. Coincidence? I think not.
YES, it's more expensive.
YES, you're worth it.
And bonus: ceylon cinnamon isn't just safe for your liver, it also has a wide variety of health benefits, such as lowering LDL cholesterol, and it is a great anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. The verdict is still out on whether it too can act to help blood sugar levels; I've seen some sources saying that it does, and others that it doesn't. But this benefit from Cassia is not worth the potential liver problems, in my humble opinion.
How to Tell Ceylon from Cassia
Ceylon looks softer, and more crumbly (easiest distinguishing feature), and is a lighter brown. It's on the right.
Cassia (all varieties) look like what is is: bark. It's harder and tougher and darker.
And in case you aren't convinced: there is also a flavour bonus. Ceylon cinnamon has a softer, gentler, slightly sweeter warming flavour. It is GREAT in baking. Cassia can be quite strong in comparison. I used to really enjoy Saigon Cinnamon, as it's a bit spicier, but after becoming accustomed to Ceylon, I much prefer it. I have read that traditional Mexican & European recipes that call for cinnamon were all originally referring to Ceylon cinnamon, as it adds a softer more subtle depth to the recipe. If you made those same recipes using Saigon, the flavour would take over and ruin it.
Sometimes, okay, pretty much ALL the time, T has a 6th sense about these things. He could never stand the smell or taste of Saigon cinnamon and thought it was too potent to consume. But he sure does love the flavour of Ceylon cinnamon.
I buy Ceylon Cinnamon here, either this one or this one. Iherb has the greatest price. And if you decide to get it from there, feel free to use (only if you like, no pressure) coupon code ROP008 to get a discount on your first shipping, and to give me some points too. Thanks friends.
***And soak in the lesson here: herbs & spices are nature's medicine...they are POWERFUL, and are not to be consumed with no control. Read up, and make sure that all is well before you start including something into your daily diet.
♥♥♥Now go enjoy a big (ceylon) cinnamon bun ♥♥♥