Cinnamon's tasty and may have a medicinal benefit

  1. Post Cinnamon's tasty and may have a medicinal benefit

    Cinnamon's tasty and may have a medicinal benefit

    Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News


    Sep. 20--CINNAMON -- it's not just a tasty ingredient in those heavenly breakfast rolls. The sweet little spice also may pack a healthy punch for your body.

    Studies conducted by the Nutrient Requirements and Functions Laboratory of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center found a small amount of cinnamon may help with a variety of medical conditions.

    According to Dr. Richard A. Anderson of the NRFL, cinnamon has been shown to help those with type 2 Diabetes. About half of a teaspoon of cinnamon, Anderson notes in his research that this appears to lead to improvements in blood sugar, cholesterol LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides.

    "Some studies indicate that it may be beneficial," says Krystal Staggs, registered dietitian with Heartland Health. "More research is needed before we give a specific amount that is beneficial."

    The spice also is purported to help with a host of other aliments, including improving digestion, congestion relief, menstrual cramp relief, relief from traveler's diarrhea, colds, better circulation, relief from arthritis pain and prevention of urinary tract infections.

    Even Hippocrates is said to have used cinnamon in some of the 300 medicinal remedies he created.

    "It's interesting," says Jim Fly, owner of A-Z's Freshair Fare Natural Market Inc., "that some spices, like cinnamon, have culinary, as well as medicinal uses."

    But, before you decide to worship at the altar of the frosted cinnamon roll, take heed.

    Although cinnamon is most commonly known as a spice added to baked goods, whatever benefits it may posses can get smothered in a frosting of sugar and calories.

    "The cinnamon roll would not be a good choice," Ms. Staggs says.

    But you knew that already.

    Ms. Staggs says that cinnamon is low in calories and that "you can place it in a lot of different recipes."

    Both she and Mr. Fly say cinnamon can be added to tea. It also can be put in coffee and hot chocolate, sprinkled on cereal and added to sauces and soups, rice, poultry and meat recipes. The NRFL research also says that cinnamon can be added to orange juice and salads. Ms. Staggs says that if you are a cinnamon fan, you can experiment by adding the spice to just about any food you like.

    "I really think cinnamon toast would be easy," Mr. Fly says.

    And if you're not sweet on cinnamon, you also can get the spice in pill form, says Catherine Jones, owner of Catherine's Basic Essentials in King City, Mo.

    "You have it in an encapsulated form," she says. "They've taken it at the freshest form and captured the essence of the cinnamon."

    Brands and dosage will vary from product to product, but the capsulated form of cinnamon is available in most health food stores.

    Ms. Staggs says, and a lot of the research recommends, that those who wish to take cinnamon in the supplement form should consult their doctor before doing so.

    "My advice," Ms. Staggs says, "is to use it naturally."

    And since a little bit of cinnamon adds flavor to a variety of foods, why not add a spice to your menu?

    "It has a wonderful smell," Mr. Fly says, "It tastes sweet without being sweet."

  2. Good stuff. I use a ton of it every day on my oatmeal.

  3. From what I have read I always thought that cinnamon had a dextrose type effect on your blood sugar level, albeit a mild one, almost like it stimulates sugar, but without the cals.

  4. Quote Originally Posted by MakaveliThaDon
    From what I have read I always thought that cinnamon had a dextrose type effect on your blood sugar level, albeit a mild one, almost like it stimulates sugar, but without the cals.
    There are compounds in cinnamon which decrease insulin one's body creates less insulin to perform its various metabolic functions.

    Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8.

    Isolation and characterization of polyphenol type-A polymers from cinnamon with insulin-like biological activity.

    The causes and control of type 2 diabetes mellitus are not clear, but there is strong evidence that dietary factors are involved in its regulation and prevention. We have shown that extracts from cinnamon enhance the activity of insulin. The objective of this study was to isolate and characterize insulin-enhancing complexes from cinnamon that may be involved in the alleviation or possible prevention and control of glucose intolerance and diabetes. Water-soluble polyphenol polymers from cinnamon that increase insulin-dependent in vitro glucose metabolism roughly 20-fold and display antioxidant activity were isolated and characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy. The polymers were composed of monomeric units with a molecular mass of 288. Two trimers with a molecular mass of 864 and a tetramer with a mass of 1,152 were isolated. Their protonated molecular masses indicated that they are A type doubly linked procyanidin oligomers of the catechins and/or epicatechins. These polyphenolic polymers found in cinnamon may function as antioxidants, potentiate insulin action, and may be beneficial in the control of glucose intolerance and diabetes.

    J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jan 14;52(1):65-70

    Cinnamon extract (traditional herb) potentiates in vivo insulin-regulated glucose utilization via enhancing insulin signaling in rats.

    Cinnamon has been shown to potentiate the insulin effect through upregulation of the glucose uptake in cultured adipocytes. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of the cinnamon extract on the insulin action in awaked rats by the euglycemic clamp and further analyzed possible changes in insulin signaling occurred in skeletal muscle. The rats were divided into saline and cinnamon extract (30 and 300 mg/kg BW-doses: C30 and C300) oral administration groups. After 3-weeks, cinnamon extract treated rats showed a significantly higher glucose infusion rate (GIR) at 3 mU/kg per min insulin infusions compared with controls (118 and 146% of controls for C30 and C300, respectively). At 30 mU/kg per min insulin infusions, the GIR in C300 rats was increased 17% over controls. There were no significant differences in insulin receptor (IR)-beta, IR substrate (IRS)-1, and phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase protein content between C300 rats and controls. However, the skeletal muscle insulin-stimulated IR-beta and the IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation levels in C300 rats were 18 and 33% higher, respectively, added to 41% higher IRS-1/PI 3-kinase association. These results suggest that the cinnamon extract would improve insulin action via increasing glucose uptake in vivo, at least in part through enhancing the insulin-signaling pathway in skeletal muscle.

    Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2003 Dec;62(3):139-48

    Le Magazine, December 2005 - Report: Controlling Blood Sugar With Cinnamon And Coffee Berry

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