Ingredient of the month January

Happy new year!

I hope all of you had a nice and wonderful new year's eve. Welcome to 2017! A new year full of possibilities. It’s chapter one. We have all the best intentions for 2017. We’ve made our new years resolutions and are on the path to form new habits.

January is the only month of the year when you can put your phone on silent without people questioning your sanity. Embrace it. Do the things you always tell people you are interested in, but never had the time to actually do.

There is something about starting a new year that reignites people’s sense of creativity and ambition. You start to reflect what you have or haven’t achieved in your big life plan thus far. And now is the time to do it!

We searched for an ingredient of the month, that makes you think of the winter when you taste it. The perfect partner for a hot chocolate or to enhance the taste of vegetables and fruits. It really is an allrounder.

This months favourite ingredient is cinnamon!

Did you know, that there was a time when cinnamon was more valuable than gold? True story!

One of the lesser known benefits, is that it can be used as a natural food preservative. It has anti-bacterial abilities, so there is no need for chemicals or artificial ingredients.

The potential health benefits of cinnamon are simply amazing. Here is just a handful of proven ones:

Type 2 diabetes

Yes, that’s true! Cinnamon can be such an effective tool in managing diabetes. How? By reducing blood pressure and lowering your fasted blood sugar levels. Furthermore, it can also improve insulin resistance.

By working directly in the muscle cells, cinnamon forces them to remove sugar from the bloodstream, where it is converted to glycogen. A recent research has shown, that cinnamon works even better than most prescription meds.

Basically, cinnamon - as a completely non-toxic food - repairs the receptors, so they can better respond to insulin again.

Bad cholesterol (LDL)

Cinnamon is lowering your fasted blood sugar, reducing triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and for that reason your total cholesterol.

It may also cause an increase in your “good” cholesterol (HDL). Adding cinnamon to your diet can also remedy the effect of occasional high-fat choices, so they're not quite as detrimental to your health as they would be otherwise.

Bacterial and fungal infection

The main active component of cinnamon is called Cinnamaldehyde. They may help fight various kinds of infections. If you suffer from an respiratory tract infection caused by fungi you can use cinnamon oil to treat it effectively.

In fact, it’s known that it inhibits the growth of certain bacteria, such as Listeria and Salmonella.
The antimicrobial effects also help prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath.

Inflammation

Cinnamon is very high in antioxidants, and therefore has anti-inflammatory effects. This could also help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, brain function decline and more. Seven kinds of flavonoid compounds have been found in cinnamon alone, which are highly effective at fighting dangerous inflammations throughout the body.

Suffering from a swelling? Cinnamon may help! Even with pain management. Studies have shown that it helps to relive muscle soreness, PMS pains and severity of allergic reactions.

Sugar replacement

Cinnamon has a naturally sweet taste, without containing any sugar. Therefore, adding cinnamon to your foods can help you cut down the amount of sugar you normally eat. Thereby it lowers the glycemic load of your meals.

Try using cinnamon in coffee, tea, baked good, yogurt, on fruits and in your oatmeal.

My 3 favourite cinnamon recipes

Honey-roasted cinnamon Chickpeas
  • 500g chickpeas
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. If you got canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them. Place them on a towel to dry. Now just spread the chickpeas on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. Afterwards, while the chickpeas are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the honey, cinnamon and sea salt. If you want a caramelised effect, place them back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Now sit back and enjoy!

Cinnamon Smoothie
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 250ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 25g vanilla whey protein powder
  • optional: cinnamon stick for garnish

Simply combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until it's all smooth. Add more almond milk as desired. Pour into a tall glass, add the cinnamon stick for garnish and enjoy. Perfect for cold winter mornings!

Baked cinnamon banana crisps
  • 4 medium ripe bananas
  • lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  • cinnamon

This is my absolute favourite! It’s perfect as topping for oats or simply as a snack. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees. Peel the bananas and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Dip each slice into the lemon juice and place on a baking sheet.

Now sprinkle as you like with cinnamon. Bake 3 to 4 hours, or until the chips are dry and slightly brown. Make sure to flip your chips halfway through. Remove from the oven and let them cool down. Enjoy!

At the end of the day, cinnamon is one of the most delicious and healthiest spices on the planet. Just make sure you get Ceylon cinnamon. Otherwise stick to small doses if you’re using the Cassia variety.

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