You’re no doubt familiar with cinnamon as a delicious spice in pies and pastries.
How ironic that a substance so closely associated with sugary snacks should turn out to be a remarkable natural weapon against diabetes.
Let’s look at the science:
- Research published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism reviewed eight studies involving cinnamon. Scientists found the spice significantly reduces blood sugar levels, both fasting and postprandial (after eating).
- The journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society published another review of the medical literature. Researchers found that chromium, a mineral found in cinnamon, improves insulin response, glucose levels, and HbA1c in type 2 diabetes patients. HbA1c is a measure of long-term blood sugar levels.
They also concluded that cinnamon polyphenols improve insulin sensitivity, fasting glucose, and total cholesterol.
And cinnamon extract was found to help people with metabolic syndrome improve their blood sugar, lower their blood pressure, and reduce body fat.
- A study from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, found cinnamon slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream by inhibiting digestive enzymes.
- A study published in the journal Diabetes Care looked at 60 people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers gave half of them doses of cinnamon between 1,000 mg and 6,000 mg. The other half took placebos. After 40 days, the cinnamon group’s blood sugar was 18% to 29% lower and their triglycerides were 23% to 30% lower.
- Promotes heart health. A study from London’s Thames Valley University looked at 58 type 2 diabetes patients. Scientists randomly gave them 2,000 mg of cinnamon a day or a placebo. After 12 weeks, in addition to having lower HbA1c, the cinnamon group had significantly lower blood pressure.
- Protects against free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that occur naturally in your body and cause oxidative stress. That leads to DNA damage and diseases of aging…everything from atherosclerosis to macular degeneration to wrinkly skin.
A study from the University of Hong Kong ranked the antioxidant abilities of 26 spices. Cinnamon topped the list. It beat even much-praised “superfoods” such as garlic and oregano.
- Fights inflammation. Medical experts believe chronic inflammation is the main cause of cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. A study published in the journal Food and Function ran lab tests that showed cinnamon has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
You can get cinnamon’s benefits by adding it to foods and drinks. And it’s also widely available in capsule form. You can buy cinnamon supplements from online retailers and health food stores.
Making this spice a regular part of your diet is one of the best things you can do for your health.