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Embrace Cinnamon, Avoid the Cinnamon Challenge

Talk about ruining a good thing. You take something wonderful like cinnamon, throw in teenagers and YouTube, and you have a growing recipe for disaster. The foolish internet craze referred to as the “cinnamon challenge” is causing a major commotion.

If you haven’t heard of the cinnamon challenge, it is very simple. It refers to the attempt to consume a spoonful of cinnamon in a hurry. No liquid is allowed to aid in washing it down. As one might imagine, cinnamon is very effective at drying out the mouth and the flavor can be spicy. YouTube is littered with videos of teens taking the challenge, and they are often seen gagging and coughing as the cinnamon goes flying everywhere.

Seems like harmless, albeit stupid, fun, right? Wrong. Dr. Alvin Bronstein is the medical director for the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center recently released this statement.

“We urge parents and caregivers to talk to their teens about the cinnamon challenge, explaining that what may seem like a silly game can have serious health consequences.”

Some of those serious health consequences can include choking, vomiting, and injuries to the mouth, throat, and lungs. Also, children who intentionally inhale the cinnamon into their lungs are at risk for getting pneumonia.

Previously, any emergency calls to Poison Control regarding cinnamon were a rarity. After just three months, poison centers across the country have received 139 calls about teens and cinnamon this year. According to the American Association of Poison Control, most of the calls fall into the category of “intentional misuse or abuse.”

Cinnamon is chalked full of flavor and loaded with many health properties. Studies say that just ½ a teaspoon a day can lower cholesterol. It can also help regulate blood sugar and help combat type 2 diabetes. There are even studies linking cinnamon to fighting cancer cells, boosting memory, aiding in metabolism, and even aiding in arthritis relief. Cinnamon is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

The safest and best way to use cinnamon is to mix it in. Mix it into yogurt, bread dough, cereal, mulled drinks, or even use it as a marinade for beef or lamb. Do not take a spoonful and attempt to swallow it dry. Cinnamon does not need to get a bad rap because of the dangerous cinnamon challenge.

Boost your cinnamon intake with these recipes:

Cinnamon Pecan Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Fruit Dip

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

March 30th, 2012

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