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Is Cinnamon Safe for Kids?

by Deborah Lundin

As a parent, you may worry if you are feeding your child the right foods and providing them with all the vitamins and minerals they need. When it comes to cinnamon, you see various breads, snacks and cereals containing the spice, but are they safe for your child? Cinnamon is a flavor additive and generally safe for your child, when served as intended. Too much cinnamon, however, can cause medical risks.

Possible Health Benefits

Cinnamon is a tree bark that has been used as a cooking spice and medicinal treatment for centuries. While there is little scientific evidence to confirm health benefits, medicinal cinnamon uses include blood sugar reduction, gas and stomach upset relief, inflammation reduction and appetite stimulant.

Serving Suggestions

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, cinnamon is safe, for most people, in amounts up to 6 grams a day. A little sprinkle of the seasoning to add flavor to food is well below this amount, making that loaf of cinnamon raisin bread or cinnamon-flavored cereal healthy for your child. Other ways to use cinnamon include sprinkling it on their favorite oatmeal or adding it to a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies.

Health Concerns

Cinnamon is not always safe for children or adults. Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin, which is a compound that inhibits the bloods ability to clot. If your child takes medications to thin his blood, such as warfarin, too much cinnamon can cause bleeding issues. In diabetics, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels and eventually lead to hypoglycemia.

Cinnamon Challenge

For older kids and teens, cinnamon is often used what is called the “Cinnamon Challenge.” This challenge has gained the attention of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, which has warned parents to talk to their children about the challenge. To perform the challenge, kids must swallow a spoonful of dry cinnamon without water. Because cinnamon is a fine powder, ingesting that much at one time increases the possibility of inhaling some directly into the lungs. The dry powder also coats the mucous membranes, increasing the risk or respiratory distress and breathing problems. In this instance, cinnamon is not safe or recommended for anyone.

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