I love cinnamon for its spicy and sweet notes that somehow go perfectly in so many desserts, tea and savory foods. But did you know that there many varieties of cinnamon? And that those with any type of liver issue, or those with young children, should be careful how much of certain varieties they consume?  

Robin wrote this week about the issues with the most common cinnamon – cassia cinnamon. Apparently there was enough concern about this popular spice in Denmark, that how much cinnamon can be put in pastry dough is now regulated by the government! That’s not a joke. 

But there is good news for those concerned. Here are three reasons you should specifically buy Ceylon cinnamon.

It tastes great

We use cinnamon as a flavor enhancer, so it’s important that it tastes good. Ceylon, in comparison to the more common cassia cinnamon, has a more gentle and sweet flavor. It is considered both more delicate and complex in flavor. While everyone has their favorite cinnamon type, many prefer Ceylon, and it is considered a better quality cinnamon than the more common cassia.

Ceylon has much less coumarin

Coumarin is the liver-damaging element in cinnamon, but Ceylon cinnamon has much lower levels, on average, than cassia. In fact, on average, cassia cinnamon powder has 63 percent more coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon. For those concerned about this potential toxin in their diet, switching to Ceylon cinnamon could be an excellent way to keep cinnamon in the diet, without the worry. 

The only negative about making this switch? So far, studies have not shown Ceylon is helpful for diabetics in the way that cassia cinnamon is. 

Children should be switched to Ceylon cinnamon

If you are a healthy adult or child, should you really have to worry about your liver when sprinkling cinnamon on your oatmeal? One study showed that we should be especially cautious about what kind of cinnamon we feed our children. Their much smaller bodies can only handle much smaller amounts of coumarin, making it even more important to be aware of this issue. It was found that small children eating bowls of oatmeal flavored with cinnamon several times a week could go over the safety threshold. (The same study found that the adults who regularly consumed cinnamon-based tea and supplements were also at risk.) 

Where to buy Ceylon cinnamon

Many spice stores and spice and herb online companies specifically sell Ceylon cinnamon. You can easily order it off of Amazon as well. Local health food stores often carry this variety and they’re a good place to start. 

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Related on MNN: 

Ceylon cinnamon: Three reasons to switch to it
Did you know that there is a liver-damaging substance in most of the cinnamon found at the store? Find out how to avoid it.