You already know of cinnamon’s health benefits, but are you aware of the dangers of cinnamon? Here’s what you need to know.
Getting optimal nutrition through a healthy diet and the selective use of nutritional supplements can be a challenge especially when there is conflicting information about what’s healthy and what’s not. This is particularly true when it comes to cinnamon. A variety of studies have confirmed the apparent health benefits of cinnamon. Addition of a half teaspoon of cinnamon to the diet has been demonstrated to lower LDL cholesterol as well as increase insulin sensitivity which helps to moderate blood sugar levels. What has been less publicized are the potential dangers of cinnamon when consumed in large quantities. If you want to keep adding cinnamon to your cereal and do it safely, here’s what you need to know to avoid the potential dangers of cinnamon.
There’s little doubt that cinnamon has positive benefits when taken in small quantities. You’ll often see it recommended that those who want to receive the health benefits of cinnamon should consume a teaspoon or less each day. The reason high quantities of cinnamon aren’t recommended is that the most common type of cinnamon available in the United States is “cassia cinnamon”. Cassia cinnamon is known to have high levels of a flavoring agent known as coumarin. It’s this flavoring agent that accounts for the potential dangers of cinnamon.
How does coumarin interact when taken into the body? Coumarin has the potential to cause liver damage in humans even in the relatively small quantities that an enthusiastic cinnamon user might use on a daily basis. It also has anti-coagulant properties and is a potential carcinogen. Even more disturbing, the European Food Safety Authority demonstrated that the amount of cassia cinnamon found in as little as three small cinnamon cookies could potentially harm the liver of a young child.
If you happen to be a cinnamon lover, there’s good news with regards to the dangers of cinnamon. There is a form of cinnamon known as Ceylon cinnamon that has very low quantities of coumarin and is considered safe for daily consumption. Because Ceylon cinnamon is more expensive, it’s rarely the type found in most grocery stores and food markets. Ceylon cinnamon can be ordered online at a reasonable price and is worth the additional effort if you’re a cinnamon lover and want to gain the health benefits without the potential dangers of cinnamon.
If you purchase cinnamon locally, it can be difficult to tell whether you’re purchasing cassia or Ceylon cinnamon since this isn’t stated on most commercial cinnamon bottles, although in most cases it will be cassia cinnamon. Some health food stores and natural food markets do offer Ceylon cinnamon in stick form. Be sure to ask from where the cinnamon originates before purchasing it. Fortunately, you can get the health benefits of cinnamon without the dangers of cinnamon over consumption by switching from cassia cinnamon to Ceylon cinnamon. It’s a good switch to make to preserve the health of you and your family.