Cinnamon, Nature’s Miracle Spice

http://www.motherearthliving.com/Food-Matters/cinnamon-natures-miracle-spice.aspx

S.McCabeI’ll admit it. I have been on a major cinnamon kick lately, and for a good reason. Cinnamon not only adds a delicious, spicy flavor to my cooking; it is also chock-full of amazing health benefits. 

Cinnamon oil has strong antibacterial, antifungal and antiparasitic properties, rendering it very effective at treating yeast infections, stomach ulcers and head lice. The spice also has anti-inflammatory properties, which offer protection from heart disease and strokes. It even has anticlotting properties, which keep the blood’s platelets from clumping together and hindering blood flow throughout the body. 

7-26-2011 cinnamon
Cinnamon can prevent
infections and heart disease, and boost brain function.  
Photo by Spence_Sir/Courtesy Flickr 

Cinnamon is able to regulate blood sugar levels, making it especially helpful for treating type 2 diabetes. It has also been shown effective at treating many other health problems, including high cholesterol, bad digestion, the common cold, toothaches, arthritis and migraines.

Not only do you reap tons of health benefits by consuming cinnamon, but just the scent of cinnamon boosts your memory and cognitive function. A study in Florida found that students who smelled cinnamon during a test increased the students’ scores for attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed while working on a computer.

Cinnamon is an easy and satisfying addition to many recipes. The benefits you get from cinnamon are undeniable, so why not try adding a little more cinnamon to your cooking? This recipe for maple-drizzled apple muffins with cinnamon is one of my favorites. Enjoy!  

7-26-2011 apple cinnamon muffins
These muffins are a nutritious (and delicious) way to start your day.
Photo by Rachel Ford James/Courtesy
Flickr 

Maple-Drizzled Apple Muffins with Cinnamon  

SERVES 12

• 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup quick-cooking oats
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 2 cups chopped, peeled apples
• 12 pecan halves

Glaze  

• 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.

2. In a small bowl, mix milk, butter, syrup and egg; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples.

3. Fill greased or paper-lined cups until about 3/4 full. Top each with a pecan half.

4. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Then allow the muffins to cook completely.

5. For the glaze, mix the sugar and syrup together in a small bowl. Then drizzle the glaze over the tops of the cooled muffins.