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Spicing up health: A study on cinnamon-infused yoghurt in Africa

Author: Priscilla Asare, BSc. Agriculture| Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

In the twilight of his life, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote a phrase that would forever change our perception of food and identity. Just weeks before his death in 1826, he wrote, “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es,” a timeless adage that translates to “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are” (Britannica 2014). This profound connection between our diet and our identity has not only left an important mark on the field of gastronomy but also serves as the guiding principle behind today’s blog: Spicing Up Health: A Study on Cinnamon-Infused Yoghurt.

Where Do We Begin?

Our love for yoghurt is undeniable! This fermented dairy delight has been a staple in human diets for thousands of years. It’s a nutritional powerhouse packed with protein, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins B1, B2, and B12. Moreover, it’s a valuable source of folate, niacin, magnesium, and zinc (Michelle C Mckinley, 2005).

In the world of spices, cinnamon holds a special place. This common spice, derived from the inner bark of trees belonging to the genus Cinnamomum, is renowned for its numerous benefits. Traditionally used in Asian medicine, cinnamon boasts a range of pharmacological properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antimutagenic, and anticarcinogenic activities. It also offers a host of health benefits, such as antidiabetic effects, hypoglycemic activity, pancreas protection, prevention of urinary tract infections, neuroprotection, reduction of cardiovascular disease risk, and even cancer prevention (Sharma R and Moffatt R.J 2012).

The reason for highlighting both yoghurt and cinnamon is simple. As consumers become increasingly conscious of the link between their dietary habits and nutritional health, they are gravitating towards foods that incorporate natural ingredients over synthetic chemical compounds.

This shift in consumer behavior has sparked a wave of innovation in the food industry, with natural herbal extracts replacing synthetic additives in food products. These natural alternatives are sought after for their health benefits and the sensory enhancements they bring to the table (Granato Daniel et al., 2018). After all, what good is health if it doesn’t come with great taste?

So, I set out to solve what seemed like a simple equation: add cinnamon to yoghurt and measure its acceptance in society. After all, the best solutions are often the simplest ones.

Inside the Lab 

Things might get a bit technical here.

By purchasing cinnamon sticks from the local market and grinding them into a fine powder, a mixture of cinnamon powder with distilled water gave a fine solution. Addition of reconstituted powdered milk, pasteurization and cooling enables conducive environment for the growth of starter cultures. After some incubation, it led to the formation of a soft gel and developed the characteristic yogurt flavor.

Following the preparation of our yoghurt samples, we set out to evaluate their pH, color, viscosity, and titratable acidity. Using a pH meter, the determination of the pH of yogurt samples were established. The color of the yoghurt samples was assessed using a colorimeter, with all three-color parameters being recorded. We employed a viscometer to analyze the viscosity of the yoghurt and calculated the titratable acidity.

But our analysis didn’t stop at the lab. We wanted to understand how our yoghurt would be received by real people. So, we conducted a sensory analysis at the Faculty of Agriculture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), West Africa campus. Over the course of a day, we gathered feedback from 100 random individuals. This allowed us to gauge not just the scientific properties of our yoghurt but also its appeal to potential consumers. After all, the ultimate test of a food product is in the eating!


This study yielded some interesting findings which indicated addition of cinnamon extract did not significantly alter the pH, viscosity, or color of the yoghurt (p > 0.05). However, it did have a significant impact on the titratable acidity (p < 0.05). When it came to the sensory score, which ranged from ‘dislike extremely’ to ‘like extremely’, the panelists expressed a liking for all the yoghurt samples. This suggests that the addition of up to 1.0 ml/L of aqueous cinnamon extract in the yoghurt was well-received by consumers. In other words, our cinnamon-infused yoghurt passed the taste test with flying colors! This is a promising indication that our experiment could pave the way for more natural and flavorful alternatives in the food industry (a bit of a stretch … but what is life without a dream)

Bring it all home

Today, we delve into the intriguing world of cinnamon-infused yoghurt. This fusion not only enhances the flavor, but also piques consumer interest, making the yoghurt more enjoyable and captivating.

Moreover, yoghurt is renowned for its probiotic content that aids digestion. The health benefits are amplified when paired with cinnamon, a spice known to alleviate bloating and support digestion (Mathew S and Abraham, 2006). Furthermore, cinnamon has been recognized for its potential in regulating blood sugar levels (Lee et al., 2005), making cinnamon-infused yoghurt an appealing choice for those managing their blood sugar levels.

Closing Thoughts

Cinnamon-infused yoghurt represents a mindful approach to integrating both taste and potential health benefits into our diet. So, the next time you find yourself reaching for yoghurt, why not venture into the enticing realm of cinnamon-infused options?


  1. Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2024, February 19). Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. Encyclopedia Britannica.
  2. Mckinley, M. C. (2005). The nutrition and health benefits of yoghurt. International journal of dairy technology58(1), 1-12.
  3. Sharma, R., Moffatt, R., & Itharat, A. (2012). Herbal supplements or herbs in heart disease: Herbiceutical formulation, clinical trials, futuristic developments. Bioactive Food as Dietary Interventions for Cardiovascular Disease: Bioactive Foods in Chronic Disease States, 491.
  4. Granato, D., Santos, J. S., Salem, R. D., Mortazavian, A. M., Rocha, R. S., & Cruz, A. G. (2018). Effects of herbal extracts on quality traits of yogurts, cheeses, fermented milks, and ice creams: a technological perspective. Current Opinion in Food Science19, 1-7.
  5. Mathew, S., & Abraham, T. E. (2006). In vitro antioxidant activity and scavenging effects of Cinnamomum verum leaf extract assayed by different methodologies. Food and chemical toxicology44(2), 198-206.
  6. Lee, R., & Balick, M. J. (2005). Sweet wood—cinnamon and its importance as a spice and medicine. Explore1(1), 61-64.
  7. Behrad, S., Yusof, M. Y., Goh, K. L., & Baba, A. S. (2009). Manipulation of probiotics fermentation of yogurt by cinnamon and licorice: effects on yogurt formation and inhibition of Helicobacter pylori growth in vitro. International Journal of Nutrition and Food Engineering3(12), 563-567.
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