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7 Benefits You Need To Know About Cinnamon

7 Benefits You Need To Know About Cinnamon

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    Cinnamon is one of the most delicious fragrances of the Season!  

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    Although cinnamon is available throughout the year, the aromatic, deliciously sweet and warm taste of the spice make it the perfect spice to use during the fall and winter months. The spice is readily available and used both inside and outside our kitchen. It is such a commonly used spice, we may give little thought to its origin and history.

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    Cinnamon has a spicy history

    Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years!   The ancient Egyptians utilized this spice as a flavoring for beverages,  for medicinal purposes, and as a step in the embalming process.  Its use and popularity became widespread in Egypt, although the Arabs seemed to hold the monopoly on the popular spice.  They kept its origins a secret, creating elaborate tales, and adventurous stories surrounding the acquisition of the spice. This early ‘supply and demand’ allowed them to drive the market with outrageous prices and create a monopoly.

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    The desire to enjoy this luxury good drove explorers to set sail in search of their own stockpile of the exotic spice.  Eventually Portuguese explorers and traders discovered their own cache at Ceylon, or modern day Sri Lanka.  By the time the British took over the country, itwas no longer a rarity and the price no longer exorbitant.

    There is more than one type of Cinnamon

    The two varieties of commercial  cinnamon, cassia and Ceylon, have similar flavor, however the cinnamon from Ceylon is slightly sweeter, more refined and more difficult to find in local markets. The Ceylon type is more expensive and produced in Sri Lanka.  Cassia is produced in Indonesia and has a stronger aroma and taste.  Cassia cinnamon is what we would typically purchase from the spice aisle of our local grocer.

    Potential Benefits of Cinnamon

    1. Cinnamon may help lower blood pressure Extracts from the bark of the cinnamon tree have been utilized throughout the ages as traditional medicine.  Cassia cinnamon may lower blood pressure in people suffering from diabetes.  More research is needed, but studies show that cinnamon may significantly aid people with type-2 diabetes improve their ability to respond to insulin, thus normalizing their blood sugar levels.  Adding this spice to a carbohydrate-rich food, such as oatmeal or sweet potato, may help lessen its impact on  blood sugar levels.
    2. Cinnamon may have anti-microbial properties. Cinnamaldehyde, a chemical found in the cassia type may help fight against bacterial and fungal infections. Cinnamon’s essential oils also qualify it as an “anti-microbial” food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. In laboratory tests, growth of yeasts that were resistant to the commonly used anti-fungal medication fluconazole were often stopped by extracts.
    3. Cinnamon may help lower the effects of consuming high fat meals. According to Penn State researchers, eating a diet rich in spices, like turmeric and cinnamon, reduces the body’s negative responses to eating high-fat meals.
    4. The scent of cinnamon may help boost brain function Just breathing in the sweet aroma of cinnamon can boost brain activity.  Walk down the corridor of any major airport and the delicious and aromatic scent of Cinnabon can entice even the strongest willpower! The wonderfully rich scent of cinnamon can stimulate the mind, uplift the spirit, and create a cozy feeling.
    5. An ancient Chinese secret Traditional Chinese medicine utilized the energy based and warming properties of cinnamon to help with the onset of flu or colds.  A delightful cup of tea was created with cinnamon and ginger to bring much needed relief for the chills brought on by illness.
    6. A natural way to freshen your home The inviting and cleansing scent of cinnamon is thought to have therapeutic effects when used in your home. The spice is a natural air freshener!  But did you know it is also a insect repellent?  It’s true!  A very inexpensive holiday room freshener is to place whole cinnamon sticks in your potpourri.
    7. Natural beauty uses Skip the collagen treatments!  Cinnamon is a natural lip plumper! Simply apply a bit of Vaseline onto your lips and gently pat a tiny amount of cinnamon on top. Rub the mixture on for a few seconds and then allow it to sit for a minute. You should feel a slight tingly sensation from the spice. Add another coat of Vaseline and you’ll have much fuller lips.
    8. A word of caution While cinnamon does not generally cause side effects, heavy usage may irritate the lining of the mouth and lips.  Very high quantities of cassia may be toxic to anyone with liver conditions.  It is always suggested to discuss usage with your physician. Do not use any spice for medicinal purposes in children or women who are pregnant or nursing.

    Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/manuuuuuu/ via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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