Few can resist a cinnamon roll, and true cappuccino connoisseurs do not recognize a drink without a pinch or stick of aromatic spice. Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices: it has many beneficial properties, is inexpensive and is available in many supermarkets. But do you know about one important nuance? In fact, there are several types of cinnamon, and one of them is really healthy, and the other is high in a very dangerous toxin. We understand the details.
Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tree called Cinnamomum. The bark strips are dried until they curl up, forming a kind of roll. We usually call these rolls "sticks". After drying, the bark can also be ground into powder, and an extract is produced from it.
The unique taste, aroma and useful properties of the spice are due to the content of essential oils, in particular, cinnamaldehyde (aka cinnamal). There are two main types of cinnamon that can be easily confused.
The Cinnamomum verum tree grows primarily in Sri Lanka and southern regions of India. It is from the bark of this tree that the spice is obtained, which is called Ceylon and which is considered "real cinnamon". Ceylon cinnamon sticks are tightly rolled "rolls" of soft bark of a very rich brown color. The spice has a wonderful texture, delicate and slightly sweet taste, ideal for desserts. The cinnamal content is approximately 50–63%. Since Ceylon cinnamon is rare, it is considered quite expensive compared to the more common Cassia variety.
Cassia (Chinese cinnamon)
The Cinnamomum aromaticum tree is often found in southern China. There are also several subspecies of the plant that are now actively cultivated in East and South Asia. The bark of Cassia is coarser in texture and the sticks do not look as tightly rolled up as compared to Ceylon cinnamon. Cassia has a sharper taste due to its high content of cinnamaldehyde (about 95%). This spice is quite cheap and is often used in Chinese cooking and medicine.
What you should pay special attention to: Cassia, unlike Ceylon cinnamon, has a high content of the toxic compound coumarin. In rodents, coumarin is known to damage the kidneys, liver and lungs and may even trigger cancer. It is believed that the toxin is capable of producing a similar effect on the human body. At the moment, 0.1 mg / kg is considered the acceptable daily intake.
Therefore, if you are one of the big fans of cinnamon or use dietary supplements with a spice content, then it is better to choose Ceylon cinnamon. And it is worth remembering that for many, even one or two teaspoons of Cassia can exceed the allowable rate and cause serious harm.
Photo: Getty Images
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