There has been a lot of debate on the two cinnamon varieties, cinnamon and cassia, which has even led to terming one or the other as real and fake cinnamon! Which variety of cinnamon is occupying your spice cabinet? And it was only recently that we came across the difference between the two cinnamon varieties. In fact, both cinnamon and cassia are from the same plant family. So how are they different? Cinnamon also known as “true cinnamon” is the soft, light flavored inner bark as compared to the stronger and more pungent cassia. Though cassia is marketed as cinnamon globally, it is far inferior when it comes to flavor, and not to forget, cinnamon would cost you ten times more than cassia.
A Healthy Spice Regardless of the Variety
You can differentiate between the two when it comes to taste and texture but the health benefits of both the varieties are close. The main focus here would be the coumarin (a natural flavoring compound) content of the two. Cinnamon is said to have lower coumarin than cassia. However, we found a common factor in a study at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, which shows both the varieties to be helpful in controlling blood glucose levels. According to the research, both the cinnamon varieties have compounds such as chromium and polyphenols that aids in a better flow of insulin. The study also showed that the glucose, insulin and cholesterol levels are improved in patients with Type 2 diabetes as a result of chromium intake.
Cinnamon vs Cassia
As mentioned earlier, cassia has a stronger and more intense flavor than Ceylon cinnamon. This is due to a higher concentration of cinnamaldehyde (a natural compound that gives cinnamon its flavor), up to 5-6%. Cinnamon and cassia, have certain visual markers such as the bark texture which makes it easier to differentiate between the two.
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