The Safer Cinnamon


“The Safer Cinnamon” Second in spice popularity
only to black pepper, cinnamon is the powdered inner
bark of four different species of cinnamomum trees. There’s Vietnamese cinnamon, Chinese
cinnamon, Indonesian, and Ceylon. A recent review raised concerns
about one of them, because of a compound
called coumarin, which new human data suggests
may be toxic to the liver. It’s been banned as a food additive,
but still can be found naturally in Chinese cinnamon—
also known as cassia cinnamon. It is not found in
significant amounts in so-called true cinnamon—
Ceylon cinnamon— and we don’t have enough
data on the other two. Now, these traffic lights
are not for recreational users. These are only for people
going out of their way to add like a teaspoon or more to their daily
diet—which ideally should be everyone, since it appears so health promoting,
and anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antitumor, cardiovascular,
cholesterol-lowering, and immunomodulatory effects. Especially useful for those
with diabetes, or prediabetes. So, if you’re eating cinnamon every day,
great—just make sure it’s the right kind. In the U.K., if it says cinnamon,
then it’s Ceylon cinnamon. Chinese cinnamon is labeled cassia. In the U.S., though, they can
both just be labeled cinnamon, and since Chinese is cheaper, that’s
what most cinnamon is on our shelves. So make sure it specifies Ceylon.