How Can Cinnamon Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels?
Cinnamon is a spice that not only adds flavour to your food but also has been studied for its potential to help balance blood sugar levels, which is especially important in diseases like diabetes. Managing diabetes requires a combination of healthy eating, regular exercise, monitoring blood sugar levels, and sometimes taking medications or insulin therapy. In addition to these practices, incorporating cinnamon or other herbs that help balance blood sugar levels into your diet can also be beneficial.
Scientific Names of Cinnamon: Cinnamomum verum, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Laurus cinnamomum
The Antidiabetic Effects of Ceylon Cinnamon
Research has shown that Ceylon cinnamon can have antidiabetic effects by lowering glucose absorption after a meal, enhancing cellular glucose uptake, improving glucose metabolism and glycogen synthesis, inhibiting gluconeogenesis, and stimulating insulin release.(1)
Double-Blind Study Results
In a double-blind study, 79 patients with type 2 diabetes who were not on insulin therapy but treated with oral antidiabetics or diet were randomly assigned to take either a cinnamon extract or a placebo capsule three times a day for four months. The amount of cinnamon extract corresponded to 3g of cinnamon powder per day. The results of the study showed that the cinnamon group had a significantly higher reduction in plasma glucose levels (10.3%) than the placebo group (3.4%).(2)
Understanding the Difference Between Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia
When it comes to choosing cinnamon, it is important to understand the difference between Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia), as most cinnamon sold in stores is the latter. Cassia looks and tastes similar to cinnamon, but it is not the same thing.
Why Choose Ceylon Cinnamon?
Ceylon cinnamon is the preferred choice due to its ultra-low coumarin levels and mild, delicate taste. Coumarin is a natural substance found in many plants, including cinnamon, and it can be harmful in high doses. Cassia cinnamon contains higher levels of coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon, which is why it is not recommended for regular consumption.(3)
Where to Find Ceylon Cinnamon?
While Ceylon cinnamon may be more expensive than Cassia cinnamon, it is worth the investment for its health benefits and safety. Ceylon cinnamon can be found in specialty health food stores or online. When purchasing cinnamon, make sure to read the label carefully to ensure that it is Ceylon cinnamon and not Cassia.
Creative Ways to Incorporate Cinnamon into Your Diet
Cinnamon is not only delicious but also has various health benefits. Here are some creative ways to incorporate cinnamon into your diet:
Sweeten Meals and Drinks
Cinnamon has a naturally sweet flavour, making it an excellent alternative to sugar. You can add cinnamon to your coffee, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, or baked goods instead of sugar. This will not only add flavour but also help regulate blood sugar levels.
Enhance Savoury Dishes
Cinnamon is not just for sweet dishes. It can also add an extra layer of flavour to savoury dishes like soups, stews, and curries. Try adding a cinnamon stick to your dish while cooking or sprinkle some ground cinnamon over roasted vegetables.
Use Cinnamon Sticks or Ground Cinnamon
Cinnamon can be used in various forms, either in stick or ground form. Cinnamon sticks can be used to infuse flavour in hot drinks like tea or coffee. Ground cinnamon can be used for baking or sprinkled over food.
Moderation is Key
While cinnamon has many health benefits, it is important to use it in moderation. Experts recommend consuming about half a teaspoon a day.
If you are not a fan of the taste of cinnamon, you can try taking cinnamon capsules. These capsules usually contain a more concentrated dose of cinnamon and can be found in health food stores or online. As with any supplements, it is important to consult with your doctor before taking them.
The Versatility and Health Benefits of Cinnamon
In conclusion, cinnamon is a versatile spice that can be used in a variety of ways to add flavour and potentially help balance blood sugar levels. Ceylon cinnamon is the preferred choice due to its lower coumarin levels and mild taste. Whether you prefer to use cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon, sweeten your meals or enhance savoury dishes, it is important to consume cinnamon in moderation. If you are not a fan of the taste of cinnamon, you can try taking cinnamon capsules, but make sure to consult with your doctor before taking them. Incorporating cinnamon into your diet, along with other healthy practices, can help manage blood sugar levels and promote overall health.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.