Though you might be well aware of the delicious taste and health benefits that cinnamon brings, you may not realize that there are many different varieties of the spice. Some of these are really healthy, benefiting your blood sugar, heart health and dental health, yet the majority of the cheap cinnamon on the market in the US today contains a high proportion of coumarin, which is known to be toxic for your liver.
So, if you've been increasing your cinnamon intake after hearing of its wonderful health benefits, you will want to know more about how you can avoid eating the wrong kind of cinnamon, and why you should do so.
Though there are some 13 varieties of cinnamon available to purchase, we can group these into two clear categories: cassia and verum. Verum is the Latin word for ‘true’ because this cinnamon group is the real deal and comes from Sri Lanka. Thus it is usually referred to as Ceylon Cinnamon. Everything good you have heard about the spice can be attributed to Ceylon or verum cinnamon.
Cassia Cinnamon, on the other hand, derives from three different regions: Vietnam, China, and Indonesia. Most commonly used for flavoring, cassia now dominates the cinnamon market in the US because of its cheap cost, though its use has been severely restricted and partially banned in the EU due to real concerns about its poisonous health effects. Thus far, there is no sign that cassia’s sale will be restricted in the US.
Cheap and hard cassia contains between 2 to 8% of a phytochemical called coumarin, a dangerous ingredient of rat poison, which has been shown to cause cancer in rodents. According to the BFR in Germany, coumarin taken in even low doses can lead to liver damage, as listed below:
So far, it is thought that these detrimental liver effects are reversible.
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