(Natural News) The next time you find coffee to be too bitter for your taste, sprinkle some cinnamon onto it. The spice makes for a much richer and healthier condiment than the usual cream, milk, or sugar used to blunt the strong taste of coffee.
Coffee is widely consumed for a number of health benefits. It warms the body, gets the heart pumping, increases energy levels, raises alertness, and helps people stay awake. However, coffee can be difficult to swallow due to its bitter flavor. The stronger the blend, the more bitter it tastes.
Some people who want to enjoy the benefits of coffee but cannot stand its bitter taste deliberately dilute the drink. They mix hot water with coffee to make the bitterness more manageable. Needless to say, reducing the amount of coffee also diminishes its effects.
Other people use condiments to reduce the bitter flavor of coffee. They add cream or milk to increase the smoothness and richness of the drink, as well as sugar to directly counter the bitterness with its polar opposite flavor.
However, these condiments can be unhealthy if taken in large amounts. Consuming lots of processed sugar, in particular, is bad for the metabolism because it increases the risk of metabolic disorders like diabetes. (Related: Medicinal benefits of cinnamon.)
Cinnamon is a spice made from the inner bark of a handful of tree species belonging to the Cinnamomum genus. It is one of the oldest spices known to man, with cassia cinnamon – also called Chinese cinnamon – making up the vast majority of cinnamon available.
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In addition to serving as an aromatic and flavoring in food, cinnamon has been used for medicinal purposes. It is one of the ingredients for embalming fluid that preserves mummies in Ancient Egypt. Traditional Chinese medicine prescribes cinnamon for patients suffering from epilepsy and other diseases.
When it comes to improving the flavor and aroma of food, cinnamon is not limited to solid meals like breads, cookies, and pastries. It can also improve the bitter taste of coffee.
Adding a couple of shakes of the spice increases the richness of the flavor and reduces the bitterness of the acidic drink. Enough cinnamon can eliminate the need for cream or sugar. In turn, cutting back on those condiments reduces the drinker’s intake of calories and glucose.
Cinnamon is not just limited to making coffee taste better. It also increases the nutritional value of the drink. In addition to decreasing the potentially unhealthy levels of blood sugar, cinnamon also adds nutrients such as calcium, iron, manganese, and vitamin K to coffee.
“Cinnamon has been shown in some studies to lower insulin resistance, meaning that the spike in blood sugar after eating carbohydrate-containing foods was lower with the consumption of cinnamon,” said New York-based dietitian Lisa Hayim. “While this is important for diabetics to note, it may also be important for those trying to cut back on sugar.”
There are also studies that indicate cinnamon supports the normal cognitive functions of the brain. One such experiment – conducted by researchers at Rush University in 2016 – reports that sodium benzoate in the spice improves the formation of memories.
The researchers say that cinnamon greatly improved the arrangement of the neurons that make up the brain. Sodium benzoate enhanced the physical links between individual neurons, making it easier for the brain to create and store memories.
This brain-boosting benefit goes well with coffee’s invigorating effect during busy mornings. So instead of reaching for the usual condiments, add cinnamon to your cup of morning joe.