New Ways to Enjoy Cinnamon!
For many people, cinnamon is a staple kept on the spice rack waiting to be sprinkled on Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. Cinnamon is a spice that can be enjoyed with both sweet and savory dishes.
The health benefits of cinnamon
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Cassia) has been used since ancient times not only to flavor our food, but also for medicinal purposes. It comes from the inner bark of evergreen trees, grown in tropical climates. In more recent times, cinnamon has been studied as a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for diabetes treatment. CAM is often used in addition to, or in place of, conventional medicine.
There are two main kinds of cinnamon: Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon (“true” cinnamon.). Most Americans are familiar with Cassia cinnamon, which has a strong, spicy-sweet flavor. Ceylon cinnamon is less sweet, more complex, with a citrusy flavor. Ceylon cinnamon has also been referred to as “old-fashioned cinnamon”.
Cinnamon has been studied for it’s potential positive health benefits in the following areas:
- Blood sugar control
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Improved total cholesterol, LDL (“bad” cholesterol), and triglycerides
Of particular interest, for those with diabetes, is the question: Could cinnamon be used to improve blood sugar control? Cinnamon has been postulated to improve blood sugar control by enhancing insulin sensitivity as well as reducing post meal blood sugar levels. Thus far, studies assessing efficacy of cinnamon as a diabetes treatment has provided mixed results; some studies showing positive benefits while other studies have shown no improvement in blood sugar control (assessed by measuring A1c).
Doses in studies have ranged from as low as 120 milligrams per day to as high as 6,000 milligrams per day. One teaspoon of cinnamon equals approximately 2.6 grams (2,600 milligrams). Cinnamon is considered safe as a food, but if taken in large doses for a prolonged period of time it may cause or worsen liver disease.
At the present time, more evidence is needed to assess the potential benefits of a cinnamon supplement in diabetes management. Until more is known, the safest way to use cinnamon is likely by adding it to the foods you are already enjoying.
How to add more cinnamon to your diet
Check out the following list for some new ways to add cinnamon into your diet:
- Stir into coffee
- Add a cinnamon stick to tea
- Mix into a skim milk latte
- Sprinkle on oatmeal
- Add to sweet potato fries
- Sprinkle on roasted squash or pumpkin
- Stir into pumpkin soup
- Sprinkle on baked apple
- Sprinkle on orange slices
- Sprinkle on grilled fruit
- Add to baked goods such as muffins and pancakes
- Mix into vanilla yogurt
- Add cinnamon to roasted almonds or walnuts
- Add to hot meat dishes
- Use as a marinade/rub for beef or lamb
- Add to spinach salad with pine nuts and raisins
Need some additional inspiration? Check out the following recipes with cinnamon from type2diabetes.com:
- Cinnamon Walnut Steel Cut Oats
- Berry Walnut Parfait
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Coconut Vanilla Latte
Do you have a creative or favorite way to use Cinnamon? Please share your ideas with the Type2Diabetes community!
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