Monday, October 4, 2010

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Since fall is finally upon us, I think this is a good time to start talking about cinnamon.

Aside from being extremely flavorful, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon contains 6 calories, 1.4 grams of fiber, manganese, and calcium.  The flavanoids in cinnamon act as antioxidants to help fight free radicals.

American culture commonly uses cinnamon in sweet dishes. In the Eastern world cinnamon is added to spicy dishes such as curries in India, and braised dishes in China and Vietnam.

To maximize cinnamon's flavor, you can add it to hot oil, butter, or water. If using this technique, only use a small amount of cinnamon because it is potent.

Here are some healthy recipes you can try using cinnamon....

Peas- Mushroom Pilaf
- Developed by Madhu Gadia, MS, RD, CDE
- 8 servings per recipe

  • 1 cup basmati rice or brown basmati rice
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces mushrooms (about 1 cup), sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup roasted cashews (optional)* 

  1. Wash rice in two to three changes of water, then soak in cold water for 15 minutes and drain.
  2. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves, cooking until cumin seeds are golden brown
  4. Add onions and cook until golden brown, then mushrooms and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until wilted.
  5. Add rice and peas, gently stirring and cook about one minute. Add water and salt.
  6. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until rice is cooked and water is absorbed.
  7. Cover until ready to serve.
  8. Fluff with fork and garnish with cashews, if desired
Nutrition facts per serving: Serving size: 1/2 cup.
Calories 140, total fat 3.5g, saturated fat 0g, trans fat 0g, cholesterol 0mg, sodium 290mg, carbohydrates 26g, fiber 2g, sugar 1g, protein 3g.
* Does not include cashews

Double Cinnamon Chicken Chili with Sweet Potatoes
- Developed by Karen Ferries, RD
- 4 servings per recipe

  • 4 six-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups low sodium fat free chicken broth
  • 1 small (two ince) cinnamon stick
  • 1 small onion (about 1 cup), diced
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium to large sweet potatoe, coarsely grated
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup crushed low sodium tomates
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pepper to taste

  1. Bring chicken broth with cinnamon stick to a boil in medium pot, lower heat to simmer and gently poach chicken in broth for about 7 minutes or until cooked through.
  2. Remove and shred chicken, reserving poaching liquid.
  3. in a medium pot, cook onion in olive oil over medium heat for 3 minutes until softened. Add about 2 tablespoons water to prevent browning.
  4. Add reserved poaching liquid, sweet potato, black beans, tomatoes, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and shredded chicken.
  5. Bring to a boil, then decrease heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove cinnamon stick, season to taste and serve.
Nutrition per serving: Serving size 1 and 3/4 Cup
Calories 330, total fat 6g, saturated fat 1g, trans fat 0g, cholesterol 100mg, sodium 560mg, carbohydrates 22g, fiber 6g, sugar 3g, protein 45g.

This blog and its recipes were gathered from the ADA times, Autumn 2009, page 19.

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