This spice, commonly found in many cuisine varieties, is a favorite flavor enhancer. Aside from its delicious taste and wonderful aroma, there are also other benefits associated with it such as digestion aid, anti-inflammatory properties, and more!
But what do we know about its compatibility with the Low FODMAP diet?
Whether following a strict elimination phase or just wanting to remain mindful of your dietary choices--let's dive into some facts about cinnamon that may help guide your low FODMAP journey.
What is cinnamon?
Cinnamon is an aromatic, sweet-tasting spice that has been prized since ancient times. It has a lot of natural flavors and can add tons of natural aroma to a dish. It's not only delicious, but it's also a superfood that can help improve digestion and reduce inflammation.
Where does Cinnamon come from?
Cinnamon is made from the inner bark of several varieties of trees, most commonly Cinnamomum cassia or Cinnamomum zeylanicum. The bark is harvested, dried, and ground into a powder. It is one of the oldest known spices, and its use dates back thousands of years in various cultures.
Benefits of cinnamon
It has been used for centuries as both a flavoring and healing ingredient in many cultures as it's high in antioxidants. Antioxidants can help reduce inflammation, help with digestion, improve blood sugar control, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Cinnamon is often used as an ingredient to add flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike and is used in many spice mixes such as pumpkin spice. But for those on a low FODMAP diet, it can be confusing to determine whether or not to include cinnamon in your meals.
On the surface, cinnamon may seem like a safe food - after all, it's widely recognized as having numerous health benefits.
Is Cinnamon low FODMAP?
Yes, cinnamon is low in FODMAP in small quantities, making it suitable for those on the diet. The FODMAP content depends on the type – the Ceylon variety is low FODMAP, while the Cassia variety is high FODMAP.
The main difference between these two types is that Cassia contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which can be problematic for those with IBS. To stay within your low FODMAP limits, it’s important to make sure you are using the Ceylon variety.
Some people may still experience digestive discomfort, such as IBS symptoms, after consuming the Ceylon variety. This could be because cinnamon contains small amounts of the high FODMAP component fructan, which can be problematic for some people despite it being low FODMAP.
What are the effects on the gut?
Cinnamon contains fructans, which are a type of carbohydrate found in some foods like wheat and fresh garlic that can trigger gastrointestinal symptoms in people with IBS. Some studies have shown that consuming cinnamon can lead to increased gas production, bloating, and abdominal discomfort in those who are sensitive to FODMAPs.
For this reason, it's important to be mindful of your digestive system when deciding whether or not to include cinnamon in your low FODMAP diet. If you find that consuming cinnamon increases your symptoms, then it is best to avoid it.
Overall, cinnamon can be a great addition to your low-FODMAP dishes if you don’t experience any adverse effects. Just make sure to monitor your digestive response when consuming cinnamon and adjust accordingly!
How to incorporate Cinnamon into a low FODMAP diet
Now that we know cinnamon is FODMAP friendly, let’s look at how you can incorporate it into a low-FODMAP recipe. As mentioned previously, the Ceylon variety of cinnamon should be used to stay within your limits.
It can be added to sweet and savory dishes alike for an extra layer of flavor. Try sprinkling some of the spice into your oatmeal, smoothies, porridge, stir-fry, or lactose-free yogurt for a sweet treat. It can also be used to flavor sauces, dressings, and marinades for savory dishes combined with olive oil and other herbs and spices.
Tips for eating low FODMAP recipes with cinnamon
When trying to incorporate cinnamon into your Low FODMAP lifestyle, it’s important to keep the following tips in mind:
- Choose the Ceylon variety of cinnamon when grocery shopping.
- Enjoy cinnamon in moderation – don’t use it as a main ingredient.
- If you are sensitive to fructans, make sure to limit your intake of cinnamon.
- Pair cinnamon with low FODMAP foods, and in particular fruits such as half a firm banana or blueberries for an extra taste.
Some great tasty low-FODMAP spice mixes are:
- Bread: Cinnamon, brown sugar, cardamom.
- Salads: Olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, and parmigiana cheese for a salad
- Marinade: Cinnamon, ginger, lemon juice, garlic-infused olive oil, green parts of a spring onion
What are alternative spices to using Cinnamon in Recipes
If you find that cinnamon causes digestive discomfort, there are low FODMAP alternatives.
These FODMAP-safe alternative spices include:
- chili powder
- and allspice up to one tablespoon
Some spices that are naturally low in FODMAPs and add flavor:
- black pepper
- star anise
- brown sugar
- lemon zest
- curry powder
- curry leaves
- sesame seeds
- poppy seeds
- coriander seed
- bay leaves
- pandan leaves
- fennel seeds
- The green part of spring onions/green onions (to replace onion)
- some fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, green tops of spring onion, rosemary, basil, and thyme can be used for cooking (these can also be dried herbs).
Each of these spices has its unique flavor profile and health benefits, so experiment with your recipe to find the one that works best for you!
You can read more in this blog post on 70+ low FODMAP herbs and spices as well as low FODMAP seasonings. Learn more about onion and garlic alternatives in low FODMAP cooking.
Final thoughts on low FODMAP spices
So there you have it - cinnamon can be consumed while on the Low FODMAP diet! Cinnamon adds natural flavors to many recipes and food items, but also a great way to add some extra nutrition and health benefits when following a Low FODMAP diet.
Just be extra careful with the type of cinnamon you buy (Ceylon cinnamon only!) and remember not to go overboard - too much of anything can still be harmful even if it is low FODMAP. To find out your body's reaction and tolerance, try it in smaller portions when you're feeling symptom-free; this allows you to observe any potential adverse reactions.
With this in mind, enjoy adding a bit of flavor and health benefits to your low FODMAP meals with this wonderful spice!