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Cinnamon: worth the hype?

Written by Sophie

I love cinnamon and it’s had a lot of good press in recent months, so as a big fan of the delicious spice (which also happens to be perfect for wintery comfort food!) I wanted to find out what the benefits were of sprinkling it on everything. As I’m not a nutritionist, I have done lots of research to get to the bottom of this and have noted the sources at the bottom of the page if you want to find out more.

  1. Blood Sugar

As someone who has a tendency to get hangry when my stomach starts rumbling, this is a huge one for me. This point is also a real plus for those who have diabetes.

The way that it helps to regulate blood sugar levels (and stops those annoying spikes that you can experience) is to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal, by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract[1]. It also contains a compound which mimicks insulin and helps the body to slow down the release of actual insulin[2]. There have been a lot of studies and human trials to show that cinnamon can lower fasting blood sugar levels.

 

  1. Inflammation

People are getting more and more stressed, pushing themselves, not allowing ailments to heal so inflammation has become another hot topic that people are trying to escape!

Cinnamon contains antioxidants which can have an anti-inflammatory effect[3] and can aid reduction of inflammation.

What is inflammation? It is the body’s attempt to self-protect, as part of the body’s immune response. Chronic inflammation is longer-term inflammation which can last for several months and even years and can eventually cause more serious diseases and conditions. [4]

 

  1. Better brain function

In our busy lives this one is always a big plus! There has been research to show that even just smelling cinnamon can have a positive effect on attention as well as responses.[5]

There are a lot of other claims, such as lowering the risks of heart disease and improving general heart health, aiding in recovery from yeast infections and even protection against some cancers.

On the other hand, it’s important to note here that too much cinnamon can have a toxic effect especially if you’re consuming the wrong type of cinnamon as quality and properties can differ between brands and source. Some cinnamon (a variety called Cassia) contains a compound called Coumarin which can be harmful in large doses. Apparently the best type to eat is ‘Ceylon’ also called ‘true cinnamon’ because it is much lower in this compound than Cassia. Your best bet is to find really top quality cinnamon…if you love it as much as I do, here is a link where you can buy a big batch.

 

Easy ways to use cinnamon:

  • Sprinkle in your coffee to give it more flavor and the natural sweetness
  • It’s a perfect flavor to add to porridge, especially if you have pear or apple in there.
  • It’s great with yoghurt along with seeds and nuts
  • A topping for homemade popcorn with some coconut sugar or maple syrup
  • A topping for a sweeter batch of roasted nuts
  • Have it as a tea! Pukka 3 cinnamon tea is one of my favourites.

 

 References:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21538147https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21711570

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11506060

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003790/

[4] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php & https://authoritynutrition.com/anti-inflammatory-diet-101/

[5] http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/16701089/cognitive-enhancement-through-stimulation-chemical-senses