Well, we have hubby to thank (or blame) for this email. Since the weather is cooler we've been having porridge for breakfast and we both love adding cinnamon to it. Hubby noticed that the cinnamon we use is called True Cinnamon and was asking me what that meant. I said I know there's a reason why I buy it but I can't remember what it is!! Hence a little homework to remind me and I thought I'd share...
True cinnamon = Ceylon cinnamon = Cinnamomum zeylanicum = Cinnamomum verum. These are all one and the same (not confusing at all!)
The other types of cinnamon = Chinese/Dutch cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia), Vietnamese or Saigon cinnamon (C. loureiroi), Indonesian cinnamon (C. burmannii), and Malabar cinnamon (C. citriodorum).
If the label doesn't state what type of cinnamon it is, it will be one of the other types.
What's the difference?
True cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka but now also cultivated in India, Myanmar, South America and the West Indies. It is sweeter and has a milder flavour with a beautiful aroma. It is tan-brown in colour. The other cinnamons have a more intense flavour with some bitterness and are a more reddish-brown colour.
Health wise, the other types of cinnamon are high in coumarin. This is a naturally occurring compound but can be toxic to the liver in large quantities or in people with liver disease. Also, this type of cinnamon is usually cheaper and therefore is more likely to have fillers, additives and/or preservatives. Most supermarket cinnamons are this type of cinnamon.
The recommended safe maximum daily intake of coumarin in Australia is 0.1mg/kg bodyweight daily (7mg for a 70kg person). One teaspoon of "the other" cinnamons contain 7-18mg of coumarin.
So if you're like me and have a teaspoon of cinnamon in your porridge or smoothie plus a chai then you may be best to stick with true cinnamon.
If however, you only use a sprinkle of cinnamon on pancakes once a month it won't be enough to worry about.
Cinnamon is very high in anti-oxidants so fantastic for helping the body with all types of oxidative stress including ageing, memory and even preventing strokes. So if you like cinnamon, get the true ceylon cinnamon and go for it!
Hope that answers your question hubby?!
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