Do Not Underestimate This Spice: Cinnamon

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Sometimes we underestimate the sweetest things, in this case, the cinnamon spice.

Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of the cinnamon tree. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts are removed. When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. Then, the sticks can be ground to form cinnamon powder.

Besides flavor in recipes from shakes, pancakes, meat dishes, and desserts; cinnamon packs many immediate and future benefits. In people with type 2 diabetes, 1 gram of cinnamon per day has beneficial effects on blood markers.

It reduces levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while HDL cholesterol remains stable.

In one study of 60 patients with type II diabetes, it was found that after only 40 days of taking about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon daily, fasting serum glucose levels were lowered by 18 to 29 percent, triglycerides by 23 to 30 percent, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) by 7 to 27 percent and total cholesterol by 12 to 26 percent. It’s particularly interesting that the effects of the cinnamon lasted for 20 days following the end of the study, leading to speculation that you don’t have to eat cinnamon every day to enjoy its benefits. (1) In another study it was shown to improve sensitivity to The Hormone Insulin by dramatically reducing insulin resistance. (2)

In relation to dieting, carb loading and athlete carbohydrate intake:

cinnamon drink

Cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal, by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes; which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract.

A compound in cinnamon can act on cells by mimicking insulin, leading to a greater improved glucose uptake by cells, even though it acts much slower than insulin itself. (3),(4)

Relation to wound healing and recovery

Cinnamon is also an antibacterial. The essential oils in this spice are able to stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the common yeast Candida. (5). The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and memory effects. (6)

Improvement in memory

Two compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease(7).

References:

 

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