Some of my most used culinary spices are warming and earthy vanilla and cinnamon.
Each have amazing flavor and aroma, can be used in both sweet and savory dishes and contain some really useful health benefits.
Cinnamon has been used by our ancestors since 2800 BC for various purposes such as anointing, embalming and various ailments.
Many recent clinical trials have explored the beneficial effects of cinnamon for Parkinson’s, diabetes, blood, and cognition.
There’s a multitude of research on PubMed linked to it’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects.
One nice effect of cinnamon is its effect on metabolism.
Several controlled studies have demonstrated that cinnamon is excellent at reducing fasting blood sugar and keeping blood sugar spikes after meals in check.
Some researchers say it does this by slowing down the rate at which food empties out of your stomach.
It was found that consuming 1.2 teaspoons of cinnamon with a serving of rice pudding led to slower stomach emptying and lower blood sugar elevations then eating rice pudding without it.
Yay, I can now eat my mom’s “Cuban Rice Pudding” all day long!
My research on cinnamon supports the use of “Ceylon” cinnamon. (I have no affiliation)
Ceylon has a smaller amount of coumarin in it, which makes it safer.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states cinnamon and cinnamon supplements should be safe for most people when properly dosed. Cassia cinnamon (what most people use) contains coumarin. This can be toxic to the liver if taken in large amounts or over a long time.
The benefits of vanilla are not confined to just flavoring your desserts; adequate consumption in your diet can have a significantly positive affect on your overall health.
I use cinnamon on sweet potatoes, carrots, in smoothies, mixed in nut or seed butters and in keto muffins and pancakes!
Vanilla is chock-full of anti-oxidants, which help protect your body’s cells against free radicals and toxins; promotes heart health, contains anti-inflammatory properties AND is even known to contain anti-depressant benefits!
A 2013 study on mice showed that exposure to vanillin reduced depression. The effect was significant and was comparable to an anti-depressant drug.
It is believed that the smell of vanilla can even help to suppress cravings for sweet foods.
I use Madagascar vanilla. (no affiliation)
I adore vanilla in my Greek yogurt parfait, smoothies and use it in my savory cooking too!
Try vanilla in a vinaigrettes, and marinades, or your next lamb stew! 😉
How do you use these spices?