Can Cinnamon Really Help Your Health?

When I got ready to write this article, I had all sorts of titles like “3 Ways Cinnamon Makes You Healthier” and “Why You Should be Eating More Cinnamon” running through my mind.

Cinnamon and type 2 diabetes management

What I found after doing my research, though, is that cinnamon may not be all it’s cracked up to be when it comes to helping those with type 2 diabetes. If you Google “cinnamon and type 2 diabetes,” you’ll get many, many search results. And quite a few of the articles you’ll get pointed toward tout the positive benefits of cinnamon—things like lowering blood sugar and even cholesterol!

But if you take a deeper look, specifically by reading scientific studies, you’ll see the results of using cinnamon are unclear. In fact, some studies show cinnamon does nothing helpful for diabetes at all (but mostly nothing harmful, either, see below).

What does the research show about cinnamon?

Well, one study that shows cinnamon improves glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes.1 And another study shows cinnamon does just about nothing for patients with type 2 diabetes.2

To complicate matters, there are two types of cinnamon: Cassia cinnamon, which has been used more often in human studies, and Ceylon cinnamon. They’re both available in the US, and both appear to have some health benefits (maybe?), but there is some research that too much Cassia cinnamon can cause issues like kidney and liver damage (in rats).2

Summarizing cinnamon

Is everything clear as mud now? Although my head is also spinning, here’s how I can break it down for you:

  • Cinnamon seems like it might have some positive effects on blood sugar. We’re not 100% sure, but it seems like it might.
  • There are two kinds of cinnamon, Cassia and Ceylon. You can look online to read more about it and purchase the kind you’d like.
  • Cassia cinnamon contains something called Coumarin, which may cause liver issues if too much is ingested. If you have liver problems or damage, or take a medication that affects your liver, look for Ceylon Cinnamon.
  • Cinnamon is delicious. If you’d like to add it to your routine, there doesn’t seem to be any reason not to, other than the above.
  • Always talk to your doctor when taking a new supplement, even if it’s one you can find in your kitchen cabinet.

Ways to add cinnamon to your diet

Are you ready to add cinnamon to your diet? If you want to take the plunge, my favorite way to eat cinnamon is in my morning oatmeal: I cook up a serving of oats (old fashioned or steel cut), add chopped apples, cinnamon, and then top with walnuts. Cinnamon is also great on a plain old microwaved apple — just cut up and microwave an apple of your choice, sprinkle on cinnamon, add some walnuts, and you’re good to go. It’s also delicious sprinkled on sweet potatoes or butternut squash, in healthy baked goods, or mixed into yogurt.

Cinnamon is easy, inexpensive, and readily available, so if it feels like a good fit for you, give it a try!

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