Many experts have suspected for a long time now that cinnamon may aid in maintaining healthy blood levels for diabetics (and those prone to high blood sugar), but now more recent studies conclude that our suspicions could be correct – cinnamon may reduce blood sugar levels anywhere between 3-5%, based on this article by NPR.org.
That’s pretty exciting news, because there are SO many recipes that use cinnamon from sweet desserts to beverages and even savory dishes.
As if that isn’t a good enough reason to consider adding cinnamon to your daily supplement ritual, even more recent research has concluded that cinnamon may help decrease blood triglycerides (fats) and LDL (bad) cholesterol as well.
So let’s just pour that shit on everything, right?
Not so much. At least not with the cinnamon you’re most likely thinking of (and most definitely not mixed with brown sugar…in a sweet dough roll…with icing).
I’ll explain first by distinguishing what cinnamon actually is and where it comes from:
Cinnamon comes from the bark of a tree and has been used over the course of human history in a medicinal manner. There are many different varieties that are indigenous mostly to Southeast Asia and Southern China.
The cinnamon that we are all most acquainted with is of the cassia variety. This is the less expensive variety and is most commonly found in supermarkets. The problem with cassia is that it contains a compound called coumarin, which has been shown to cause liver toxicity in some people when taken in high doses.
The cassia variety is nothing to worry about for light seasoning or light use in recipes here and there, but if you plan to start taking cinnamon supplementally on a regular basis (more than 1 tsp. per day), ceylon cinnamon is the way to go, as it does not contain this same compound.
Ceylon cinnamon is a bit pricier and much milder in flavor. This variety can be purchased in pre-made capsules or can be added loose to foods you are already consuming (like bullet-proof mocha).
One thing we don’t know yet is how much cinnamon must be taken for any benefits to take effect, or how long the benefits last after we stop taking cinnamon. But for those of us who are looking for preventative health measures that are easy to incorporate in our daily lives and are not too expensive, ceylon cinnamon could be right up our ally.
Important Note: Cinnamon should NOT be used as a replacement for any medication without the supervision of your doctor. Do not stop taking any medication without consulting your doctor first.
Sources: Cinnamon Can Help Lower Blood Sugar, But One Variety May Be Best, NPR.org.
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