I don’t know about you, but I used to go to the store, pick up cinnamon if I was out of it, and be on my merry way, never considering the differences between average cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon. Well ladies, let me tell you, I’ve turned over a whole new leaf when it comes to cinnamon, and I think you will do the same after you read this. First though, let me give you a briefing of my obsession with this ridiculously healthy, invigorating, uplifting, and delicious spice. Cinnamon is one of those items that if I run out, I have a small food-shortage panic. I literally sprinkle cinnamon on everything from oatmeal to yogurt, smoothies, nuts and seeds, nut butter, dark chocolate, roasted veggies like sweet potatoes or winter squash, and I even like it on fish. There’s not many times I don’t reach for my cinnamon shaker, but now, instead of buying the standard cinnamon at the store, I go for Ceylon cinnamon and buy it online. Why Ceylon cinnamon? I started researching herbs and spices a couple years ago when I became fascinated with their medicinal benefits, but I learned they aren't all the same like you think. Let me share with you why this exotic, rare, and most elite form of cinnamon isn’t just given a fancy name, but it’s also the best for you!
1. Better Taste
One of the main culinary reasons to go with Ceylon cinnamon is because it just tastes better! It tastes much fresher, cleaner, and purer in flavor. It has a mildly sweeter flavor than standard cinnamon, which has a harsher flavor. Ceylon cinnamon is also unique as it has a delicious background flavor of citrus and spice. I love how it works in smoothies!
Ceylon cinnamon actually comes straight from Sri Lanka, and is the purest, most delicious form of cinnamon you can use. Many people see Vietnamese, Chinese, Saigon, or Korintje cinnamon, and think those are the most elite, but they’re not actually made from true cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is actually “true” cinnamon, made from 100% real cinnamon bark. It comes straight from Sri Lanka, and for this reason, is the absolute best.
3. Higher Nutrition
Did you know that cinnamon is actually a fantastic source of minerals like magnesium, fiber, calcium, iron, chromium, and manganese? All of these help to regulate your blood sugar, give you energy, aid in digestive health, keep your bones healthy, keep your nerves steady, and provide you with better overall health. Ceylon cinnamon, being the purest form, is naturally higher in these crucial nutrients than cheaper brands on the market. In fact, most cinnamon you buy at the store today is a “fake” cinnamon that actually comes from the cassia plant. It resembles cinnamon in taste and appearance, but is in fact not true cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon has almost no nutrients whatsoever, nor does it taste as fresh. As you'll learn below, it can actually hurt your health and has potential toxic effects on your body.
4. Liver Health
This issue might just sway you over to Ceylon cinnamon if the other reasons didn’t. Did you know that standard cinnamon that’s in the form of cassia cinnamon has been found to promote liver damage? That’s scary stuff to be enjoying this spice as much as I do, and I'm sure as much as you do too! Cassia cinnamon has a great deal of a compound called Coumarin, which the FDA currently warns against as they say, "Coumarin is a substance with potential toxic side effects." It has been linked to liver damage specifically, and even nerve damage. Not good stuff! Choosing a quality brand that ensures the cinnamon is 100% cinnamon will keep you completely safe from those side effects.
5. Variety of Uses
Many cinnamons out there can be a bit “harsh.” I mean, some of them are so strong, just sniffing them will make your nose twinge! However, Ceylon cinnamon is delicate in scent and very pleasant to smell. Since it has a very mild flavor and scent, yet is still incredibly sweet and delicious, it's a better cinnamon to use for a variety of purposes. Because of its unique flavor and scent, you can use it in more dishes, without it being so overpowering. I find it’s also tastier to use in the dishes I originally used cinnamon in, and the taste no longer overpowers my food.
Cassia, or “fake” cinnamon, is a very harsh, burnt, almost red orange color. Real Ceylon cinnamon is actually a lighter brown color. Though color might not affect the taste, it will help you decipher the difference between fake cinnamon and real cinnamon. Always check the label to ensure the cinnamon is Ceylon cinnamon.
7. Cost Factors
Most brands are pretty pricey if they’re real Ceylon cinnamon. You get what you pay for! It's best to buy Ceylon cinnamon in bulk to save more money. Those small spice jars can cost a fortune! That’s one reason I choose the Flavor of the Earth brand, and I simply use an old glass spice jar that I save, and fill it as needed. It lasts forever, and for one whole pound, it’s a great buy, which is important for a gal on a budget like me! I especially love that the cinnamon is handmade as it arrives straight from Sri Lanka in small batches from 100% pure cinnamon. Talk about knowing where your food comes from!
Here’s another important reason to buy Ceylon cinnamon over regular cinnamon- pesticides! Most cinnamons out there come from cheap cassia, which contains a large amount of pesticides. Pesticides have been linked to everything from reproductive damage to digestive damage and nerve disorders. Herbicides and fertilizers are another issue you need to consider along with pesticides. Most herb and spice producers treat their spices and herbs with herbicides and/or fertilizers to kill off potential pathogens, allowing them to sit on the shelves longer at the store without going bad. This is just another reason to buy your cinnamon freshly made, not preserved to sit on a shelf. Herbicides and fertilizers contain all the same potential damages to your health that pesticides do, so be aware of this before you pick up any old jar of cinnamon.
This one isn’t something I like to think about, but it’s important. Did you know that most brands of spices and herbs are allowed by the FDA to contain a certain percentage of fillers in them? These “fillers” can contain anything from animal hair to actual dirt! For this reason, it’s best to buy 100% Ceylon cinnamon bark so you can avoid this unsanitary, dark result of the cinnamon industry!
Next time you go to pick up a tried and true favorite spice of many, I hope you’ll keep this important issue in mind. I will never go back to regular, cheap cinnamon at the supermarket. I cringe at how much of that stuff I used to go through! Now, I make sure I purchase the best cinnamon possible, Ceylon cinnamon. There are many different brands out there to choose from that offer Ceylon cinnamon, but I typically prefer to buy mine from a source that processes their cinnamon by hand. Flavor of the Earth cinnamon has been the only brand so far I’ve found to do that. If you have ever tried Ceylon cinnamon, I’d love to hear from you too! Do you have a fun cinnamon recipe to share using it?