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Five health benefits of cinnamon and a veggie soup recipe

Nutritionist Tara Miller shares her tips for boosting energy and immunity with a simple dash of cinnamon!

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Cinnamon stick

Photo by Masterfile

Although the hope of spring is in the air here in Toronto, we’ve still got a little way to go. That damp, cool and heavy feeling we sometimes experience during the darker months hasn’t quite lifted and we need something to help us to the finish line. Cinnamon, commonly used in the traditional Indian Ayurvedic art of healing, is a natural way to warm, stimulate and invigorate and, happily, it also comes with a heap of health benefits.

A little of this aromatic spice goes a long way. Sprinkling some on your oatmeal, adding it to your coffee or tea or incorporating it into your baking can give the lift your body and spirit need.

Here are five more ways cinnamon can spice up your life:

1. Cinnamon can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. This can mean weight loss, a stable mood, more energy and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

2. Due to its strong anti-inflammatory effects, cinnamon has been shown to reduce symptoms of diseases ranging from arthritis to neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

3. In Ayurvedic medicine cinnamon is thought to ignite the digestive fire, enhancing both digestion and absorption of foods.

4. Cinnamon has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties and can therefore increase immunity and be a great remedy for those prone to infection.

5. Cinnamon has been know to improve blood flow and circulation, which helps deliver oxygen to the cells while reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Parsnip and pear soup recipe with cinnamon and coconut

Parsnip and pear soup recipe with cinnamon and coconut
Photo by Tara Miller

Parsnip and pear soup recipe with cinnamon and coconut
Cinnamon is an extremely versatile spice and can be added to almost any dish — savoury or sweet. Due to an abundance of root vegetables left over from my weekly box of organic vegetables I decided to experiment with a sweet and savoury soup with a hint of spice (for the digestive fire of course).

Ingredients
3 large parsnips
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 pear
1/2 an onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 litre vegetable broth
1/2 litre water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon chili flakes (add more or less to your taste)
1/2 can full fat coconut milk
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Chives, chopped (for garnish)

Directions
1. Roughly chop the parsnips, carrots, celery, onion, garlic

2. Heat a large pot over medium to low heat with the grapeseed oil

3. Add the vegetables, cinnamon, nutmeg and chili peppers and sauté until the vegetables start to soften (about 10 minutes)

4. Add the broth, water and pear and simmer for 30 minutes

5. With a hand mixer or blender puree the soup until it is all one texture

6. Add the coconut milk and blend again

7. Add sea salt and pepper, tasting to get the flavor you desire

8. Garnish with chives and a drizzle of coconut oil

Serves 6

Tara Miller is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist. Her educational background is from The Institute of Holistic Nutrition combined with a degree in psychology from the University of Guelph. This combination allows Tara to address the challenges individuals face when it comes to everyday healthy living. Tara is also the owner of the Health Hut Boutique in Muskoka where she offers effective and toxic-free beauty, household and specialty food items. You can follow her blog for holistic recipes and tips at taramillernutrition.com.