Cinnamon and Type 2 Diabetes

While cinnamon is a delicious way to upgrade your morning oatmeal, baked goods, and fall treats, it may do more than simply contribute to a warm flavor boost. Some studies have found that cinnamon may also contribute to health benefits. Keep reading to learn about what the latest research says about cinnamon and the rewards it might hold for those with diabetes or prediabetes, as well as some tasty ways to add this spice to your life!

The benefits of cinnamon for type 2 diabetes

Cinnamon contains many phytonutrients, which have antioxidant effects.1 While additional research is needed to further investigate the role cinnamon may play in reducing diabetes risk and improving glucose control, there is a growing body of research that points to some powerful potential benefits. One study found that taking cinnamon extract improved the amount of antioxidants in the blood (antioxidants help reduce cellular damage), which was linked to a decrease in the level of blood glucose while fasting.2 Although research is inconsistent, some studies have found that cinnamon intake amongst people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes was correlated with reduced blood glucose levels and reduced insulin resistance when compared to those who did not take cinnamon.

What are the different types of cinnamon?

The current body of research on cinnamon and its impact on diabetes has also considered the different varieties, doses, and formulations (for example, extract and capsules) of this spice. Of the different types of cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon has been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, while Cassia cinnamon (including the Saigon variety) may help lower blood glucose and lipid levels in addition to containing antibacterial and antifungal properties as well.1 Although more research is warranted to determine the most beneficial forms of cinnamon to ingest, what we do know is that cinnamon has antioxidant benefits in whichever form you consume. If you do take it as a supplement, just be sure to check with your doctor about safe quantities for any preexisting medical conditions or medications.

Creative ways to enjoy cinnamon

The data thus far suggests including a little of the ground spice in your day could be worthwhile, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s naturally tasty. By adding cinnamon, you can get a sweeter taste without added sugar (an extra win for diabetes management!), or a complex flavor kick for a savory dish. See below for a variety of ways to incorporate this super-spice in your diet.

Not sure where to start when it comes to adding some cinnamon into your life? Here are some of the sweet ways to get cozy with this warming and versatile spice:

  • Mix it with crushed walnuts and fruit jam and spread it on to whole-grain toast
  • Sprinkle on fresh fruit – it goes well with most fruits
  • Add into hot or cold oatmeal or other whole grain hot cereal
  • Mix into whole-grain pancake or waffle batter
  • Sprinkle on top of yogurt or ice cream
  • Mix in tea or coffee
  • Spice up a cup of milk or soy milk
  • Mix it into homemade granola or granola bars
  • Use it as a topping for homemade popcorn
  • Cook it into fruit compote
  • Add it to healthy baked goods, such as a banana or pumpkin bread

Besides the sweet classics, cinnamon also offers a flavor boost for savory dishes and vegetables:

  • Use it in mole sauce recipes
  • Cook it into butternut squash soup
  • Stir into cooked whole grains, such as quinoa or brown rice, topped with seeds or slivered nuts and dried fruit
  • Use a teaspoon in a big pot of veggie or turkey chili
  • Add a pinch to tomato pasta sauces
  • Use it to add a little sweetness for a tofu marinade
  • Add a pinch for a chicken breast rub
  • Sprinkle it over roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, or other root vegetables
  • Rub it on nuts before roasting or toasting them

Note that while cinnamon might play a role in helping to improve blood sugar control and reducing your diabetes risk, nutrition and lifestyle changes and any medication prescribed by your doctor are still crucial.

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