This truly amazing spice is used in many traditional herbal systems, helping to balance blood sugar and reduce the ill-effects of sweet foods, whilst actually tasting sweet. It has long been used to treat high blood pressure and improve circulation and is now used to help control insulin in diabetics and to inhibit the bacteria that contribute to peptic ulcers.
Research has shown that it helps the body to use the hormone insulin more effectively by helping fat cells recognise and respond to it. Cinnamon’s active ingredient methylhydroxychalcone polymer (MHCP) actually mimics the insulin, actively helping to prevent diabetes and reduce sugar cravings – a useful weight management tool.
MHCP also stimulates glycogen production, the form of sugar that we store in muscles and the liver for peak energy needs, like when we exercise and during stress. This means that we crave fattening and ageing refined sugars less and regulate energy better. ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cinnamon daily has shown to reduce circulating blood sugar, so good for diabetics that they need their glucose levels and medications checked if eating regularly. This also stops sugars in the bloodstream damaging tissues and DNA which is extremely inflammatory and ageing. Cinnamon is a superior sweetener for food and flavouring for sweets and desserts; when eaten, tells the brain it has received something sweet without creating a damaging sugar surge.
- Has a reputation as an aphrodisiac and simply smelling cinnamon has shown to improve brain reactions and memory.
- A teaspoon of cinnamon has the same antioxidant power as ½ cup of blueberries or a cup of pomegranate juice.
- Kills microbes and yeasts that upset digestion and immunity.
Practically, this can be seen by adding cinnamon to tea or coffee as a sugar substitute (one or two allowed per day per day with food!) where it can lessen the sharp spike in blood sugar levels usually seen. Adding cinnamon to baking or choosing a cinnamon flavoured cake for the occasional treat has shown to be less harmful than without, but unfortunately still cannot make up for the high sugar and saturated fat content.
Cinnamon is also now found in many supplements, especially blood sugar support formulae with 2000mg a common dosage.