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Ten ways to add cinnamon to your diet for weight loss and health

Cinnamon is healthy

Here are ten weight loss-friendly ways to use cinnamon: beverages, soups, side dishes, entrées and desserts.

You want to include cinnamon in your diet because:

As well as tasting good, cinnamon reverses insulin resistance and fights metabolic syndrome, which hinder weight loss. It helps to lower levels of blood glucose and cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, increases lean muscle and decreases body fat.

Moreover, it is also a potent antioxidant and helps to protect the body against cancer and processes of aging. It is also thought to reduce inflammation and act as an antibacterial and antifungal agent.

NB Be aware when buying cinnamon, that some cheaper brands sold as cinnamon are actually cassia. Cassia does not have all the health benefits of genuine cinnamon.

Beverages

1. Honey also has a beneficial effect on insulin resistance and helps weight loss. Cinnamon combined with honey is a classic weight-loss remedy drink.

Place a half-teaspoonful of cinnamon in a cup, pour over boiling water, after about 30 minutes add honey. You may wish to strain the “tea” to get rid of the cinnamon powder.  Add a bit of lemon juice for extra flavor.

2. I sometimes add a cinnamon stick as well as milk to a mug of tea or coffee to make it deliciously different.

Soups

3. Butternut squash soup with apple and spices

This is a delicious low-calorie, high-fiber soup. In addition to cinnamon, it also contains ginger and cayenne or chilli pepper get your metabolism going and help burn fat. Find the recipe here.

Vegetables and salads

4. Cinnamon goes surprisingly well with spinach! Try adding some to cooked spinach together with a dash of lemon juice. Alternatively, prepare a salad of raw, baby spinach leaves and dress with a vinaigrette or yogurt dressing with added cinnamon.

Entrées

5. Stifado
A classical Greek stew, which used to be made mostly with rabbit meat. Today, many people use beef. The combination of herbs, cinnamon, wine and vinegar gives it a rich and unique flavor. Click for the recipe.

6. Moroccan tagine
Numerous variations are possible for this spicy, slightly sweet dish. To balance the previous suggestion, I’ve chosen a vegan version here using garbanzos (chickpeas). This is a tasty, high-fiber variant and you can make it very low in fat if you substitute a low-calorie frying spray for the olive oil. Here is the recipe.

If you prefer a meat or poultry-based tagine, you can:
Use 1 lb meat or poultry (450 g)  to substitute one can of garbanzos, or leave them out altogether and use 2 lb meat (900 g).

Desserts

7. Cinnamon mixed into plain yogurt with sweetener gives it a fantastic taste.

8. Rhubarb is extremely low in calories, and is excellent stewed or baked with cinnamon, sweetener and perhaps a little orange juice and zest. It can be eaten alone or served with custard made with skimmed milk and custard powder.  Otherwise, mix the cooked rhubarb with low-fat Greek yogurt to make an alternative to rhubarb fool.

9. Grilled pineapple: use either pineapple rings placed directly under the grill, or chunks speared onto skewers. Sprinkle with cinnamon or with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Grill briefly until warm. You can also use a barbeque.
Serve as dessert, alone or with ice-cream or yogurt. Alternatively, use as a garnish for gammon steaks or king prawn kebabs.

10. Baked apples are delicious stuffed with dried fruit mixed with cinnamon. Core the unpeeled apples, taking care not to break them. Score lightly through the skin making a line around the fattest part of the apple. Stand the apples in a baking tray and stuff the centers with mixed dried fruit, chopped dried apricots or prunes, raisins, or any combination of these or other dried fruit. Toss the fruit in some cinnamon first. Place a small amount of water or wine in the bottom of the pan. Optionally, you can drizzle the tops of the apples with a little honey and/or place a small knob of butter on top. Bake until soft. The time will depend on the variety of apple used. Taste-wise, tart cooking apples such as Bramleys are the most successful.

We really can have it both ways: eating delicious food and at the same time enjoying all the health benefits of cinnamon.

Ten ways to add cinnamon to your diet for weight loss and health by