Cinnamon: The Best Power House of Flavor & Health Benefits

We all know the warming effect cinnamon has to our taste buds and as well as the aromatic impact, as your mouth starts to water as soon as you catch a whiff of the delicious scent.  What’s even better, are the tremendous amount of health benefits!

Cinnamon Spiced Cake
Cinnamon Spiced Cake

Yes, it tastes amazing and it’s great for you.  Love it when that happens!

Cinnamon had been used for centuries and dates back to ancient Egypt. It was considered a gift fit for kings as it was rare and therefore very valuable.  It was even used as a natural food preservative during medieval days. Fortunately, for us, it’s easily accessible these days.

There are two main types and it’s important to note, not all cinnamon is created equal. Click To Tweet

Ceylon, is known as the “true” cinnamon. Cassia is more common and probably the one you’ll find most often in your grocery store. Ceylon is lower in in coumarin then Cassia which can be harmful in high doses. In addition, Ceylon has been found to contain more of the health benefits listed below.

Read labels carefully, Ceylon is the one you want.

 

Most of the health benefits come from cinnamaldehyde and comes from the oily part of the bark that carries the distinctive smell and flavor.  The benefits of which, may surprise you.

  • One of the most powercinnamon-1070153_1920ful antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits and improves circulation
  • Reduces risk of heart disease by reducing LDL and Triglyceries and increasing HDL, while at the same time lowering blood pressure
  • Improves Insulin sensitivity, the hormone that regulates metabolism and energy use. Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Has an anti-diabetic effect by decreasing the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after you’ve eaten
  • Has to be shown to have numerous benefits in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer by preventing the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, a key factor in Alzheimer’s disease
  • It’s been proven to improve cognitive function even with use of a scented candle.
  • Fights bacterial and fungal infections with oil being very effective in treating respiratory infections caused by fungi, but also inhibits the growth of bacteria like Listeria and Salmonella
  • Useful in combatting congestion by clearing up mucus and improving circulation and not just good for viruses like the common cold. It’s been effective in studies on HIV by preventing the virus from entering the cells
  • The antimicrobial effects can even prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath (a great addition, if you make your own toothpaste or look for it when shopping for a natural brand)

Whew! I did say it was a power house of taste and health benefits and this isn’t even an all-inclusive list. In short, it can combat free radicals with its anti-inflammatory benefits, reduce the risk of heart disease, stabilize your total cholesterol level, improve Insulin sensitivity, boost brain function and fight bacterial and fungal infections.

Experts do warn of incorporating too much cinnamon into your diet if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a heavy menstrual cycle. As always, if any of this applies or you’re looking to add it as part of a healing protocol, please consult your health care professional.  The recommended dosage according to the U.S. Department of Health is up to 6 grams daily but should not be used for more than 5 days a week.  Add cinnamon into your diet slowly. Even half a teaspoon a day has a positive effect.

Here is one great way to enjoy cinnamon’s power house of flavor along with it’s healthy benefits. Try our Mini Cinnamon Spiced Cake.

 

 

Resources:

http://authoritynutrition.com

http://www.organicauthority.com

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/substance/cinnamaldehyde

How to Easily Stop Mosquitoes Driving You Insane

How to Easily Stop Mosquitoes Driving You Insane

I want a natural solution to stop mosquitoes from mauling my family

Mosquito season is still rampant here and my poor husband and kids are constantly battling the biting irritant. Especially when one finds its way into your bedroom and goes on a feeding frenzy while you sleep. That’s a nightmare when you wake up! We’ll continue to need protection all the way through November and sometimes beyond so the family will need to have a ready supply of repellent to ward off this tiny menace.

Are mosquitoes mauling your family? Click To Tweet

Why don’t I get bitten?

Before we get into solutions, have you ever wondered why some people seemed to get bitten more than others? I can sit outside and not even get touched and my family ends up with 20-30 bites. There is research that indicates blood type does play a role. Apparently type O is also universal for Open season lunch for mosquitoes. I have seen comments from people who are Type O and don’t get bitten. As with most things, it may be a combination of things. Body temperature and CO2 may play a role. schnakenstiche-59775_1280Other people have found if the body is in balance with vitamin B1 and C, they are less likely to be bitten so boosting your B1 and C intake may be a good preventive measure.

Why do your bites swell up and mine don’t?

Of course the other aggravation is the variance in how people are effected by the bite itself. Some people swell much more the others. Those with sensitive skin seemed to be at a higher risk. One preventive measure to minimize the impact of the bite is to use a natural antihistamine to boost the system in preparation of the buggy season.  Similar to taking bee pollen or local seasonal honey to ward off allergy attacks. However, how do you know when you have the right balance? Histamine creation also links back to gut flora. Balanced gut health could improve our body’s ability to maintain homeostasis even in the middle of getting mauled by mosquitoes. So what’s a body to do?

It all comes down to balance.
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All indicators point to eating a balanced diet of whole foods and looking after your gut. Coincidence? I think not.  There is a protocol that has proven helpful when dealing with allergic reactions called the “water protocol”. When your bug bite swells it’s a result of an allergic reaction, increased inflammation. According to the protocol, if you place some Himalayan salt on the tip of your tongue for a few minutes and then rinse off, it should help to bring the body in balance. It’s also said to work with sinus congestion and watery eyes and skin irritation from other seasonal allergies.

What about commercial repellents?

DEET has undergone a lot of scrutiny around the adverse effects of this chemical in commercial bug repellents along with other toxic chemicals. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has gone on record advising, when used properly, the effects of DEET can be minimized and outweigh the potential of disease causing bites. Sorry, I don’t buy it. The “precautions” include: not spraying too close; use a minimal amount; make sure you bathe when you get home so it does remain on your skin too long; spray in an open area to avoid inhaling the contents. Seems to me anything which is suggesting limiting the amount of contact, should just be avoided. Especially when healthier nontoxic alternatives available.

How to protect your family?

For my family’s protection, I’ve done some research and discovered a combination that works. You can use any combination of essential oils with either an oil or water based blend. Experiment until you find one that works for you. Every body chemistry is different and people have their own fragrance preference. While lemon options do deter insects they may also invite a few bees so I tend to stay away from it in our repellent. Lemon does work great, along with peppermint to help the itch if you do happen to get bitten. A great tip if you’re out and have forgotten the spray and the little villains are on the attack, grab the lemon wedge in your water and rub it on your bites. It’ll provide quick relief.


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 What is my favorite blend?

I like the oil blend as I like the way it feels on the skin. If you’d like to opt for water based, swap out the 2 tablespoons of oil for witch hazel, rubbing alcohol or a blend of both in an 8 ounce container. Since water and oil do not mix, the witch hazel or alcohol will help as a binder. Alcohol is also a natural preservative.  Add enough water to bring the mixture to 8 ounces.

My easy formula:

  • 30 drops of basil oil
  • 40 drops of lavender oil
  • 30 drops of peppermint oil
  • 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil ( can also use coconut, olive, almond, jojoba or a combination of oils)

Mix together and store in a dark , preferably glass bottle. Store in a cool, dark place. You can either use a spray nozzle or simple rub into your skin like a lotion.

Other essential oils that work well to stop mosquitoes:

  • citronella
  • eucalyptus
  • tea tree
  • cypress
  • rose geranium
  • bergamot
  • lemon
  • Thyme
  • Lemongrass
  • Rosemary
  • cedarwood

Precautions for pregnant or nursing women and children under 2 years of age.

  • If you are pregnant or nursing, as with any essential oil, you should consult your healthy care provider before using them.
  • When using essential or any type of lotion on children, extreme caustion should be exercised. Especially for those under the age of 2. Always consult your health care professional.
  • It is recommended to always perform a patch test to check for an allergic reaction before using an essential oil for the first time.
  • Be sure to label homemade products with the ingredients and include the “creation” date.