Cinnamon is a widely used spice throughout cooking but many people might not be aware that they aren’t using the proper product. Indeed, “true cinnamon” is actually a lot rarer than you may think but the flavours are much richer. This form of cinnamon mostly comes from the Cinnamomum Zeylancium plant which is native to the mountains and rainforests of Sri Lanka and is known primarily for its health benefits.
Studies have shown that Ceylon cinnamon has properties that can help those with diabetes and high blood pressure. A lot of this is due to the low levels of coumarin - a natural blood thinner which can help reduce blood sugar levels when ingested in small amounts.
The Sri Lankan form of cinnamon is generally a tan brown colour and is much more fragile when preparing it or grounding it up into a powder. Unlike other types of cinnamon, it gives off a much sweeter aroma making it ideal for use in pastries or desserts.
What are the differences between “true cinnamon” and cassia?
Despite coming from the same family, the differences between Ceylon cinnamon and cassia are quite vast. For starters, cassia plants originate from the Cinnamomum Cassia which grows in China and SE Asia rather than Sri Lanka meaning that their natural climates are much more varied. This means that cassia takes on a much more reddish appearance than Ceylon cinnamon and their quills are much tougher to break up in a grinder.
There is a surprisingly large difference in the way they taste too. Cassia sticks have a much stronger taste and pungent smell in comparison to the sweet and subtle tones of true cinnamon. Therefore, cassia sticks and powder are much better suited for meat dishes instead of desserts where cinnamon is often the better weapon of choice.
Cassia based products are generally much more common in supermarkets as they can be up to 10 times cheaper to buy than what true cinnamon products are. This has meant that the demand for where to buy both forms varies throughout the world as cassia products are preferred in Asia and the US whilst cinnamon is easily found throughout South Asia and Europe.
What are the health benefits of true cinnamon?
True cinnamon has started to really gain traction in recent years as more and more people discover about its encouraging health properties. True cinnamon contains low levels of a substance called coumarin which is seen as a natural blood thinner. This makes it ideal for regulating and normalising blood sugar levels and even cholesterol. By helping regulate these issues, it is seen as a useful product to take for anyone suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure.
These properties have caught the eyes of food standards agencies in several countries who have started looking at how this can be integrated into the food industry. The FDA in Germany completed a study found that coumarin levels in cassia products were 1200 times higher than what they were in true cinnamon-based products. This was significant as large amounts of coumarin have been linked to liver and kidney problems when ingested over a long period of time.
With that in mind, Ceylon cinnamon is set to become one of the next big health trends in the food industry. If you are looking where to buy bulk amounts in Australia, Tropical Vanilla is your one-stop shop for all things to do with true cinnamon.