During the holidays, many of us tend to eat more carbs and sugars we should. Fortunately, new research shows that simply starting the day with some cinnamon in your coffee can help control your blood sugar during the most tempting time of year (and year-round).
Plus, research shows that this simple, common kitchen spice touts eight other key health benefits.
But before I dig into that exciting, new research, let’s talk about where this traditional, aromatic spice came from…
Another gift from the East
Like some of the other traditional holiday spices I’ve talked about this month, cinnamon is a “gift from the East.” It comes from the Spice Islands of Southeast Asia.
It even anchored the spice trade among historic civilizations in Africa, Asia, and Europe. And it helped establish early American ports — such as Boston and Baltimore — as economic powerhouses in the New World. To this day, Baltimore is still home to McCormick Spices.
The most common form of cinnamon, cassia cinnamon, comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum cassia tree. The dried bark curls up into the characteristic curlicue of a cinnamon “stick,” which you can enjoy in hot drinks or alcoholic beverages like a “hot toddy.” You can also grind the stick to make the dry powder, which is found in just about every kitchen in America.
Of course, aside from a popular addition to holiday baking and beverages, cinnamon has many health benefits…
Beyond baking and beverages
Research shows cinnamon blocks inflammation-promoting compounds in the body, including arachidonic acid, an unhealthy fat metabolite. It also blocks the toxic biochemicals that are involved in systemic inflammation.
Of course, cinnamon is perhaps best known for controlling blood sugar. And in recent laboratory and clinical studies, cinnamon has also been shown to:
- Encourage normal insulin activity
- Help tame sugar cravings
- Make you feel fuller after a meal
- Prevent chronic insulin resistance brought on by a high sugar diet
- Prevent long-term damage to tissues due to chronic high blood sugar and insulin resistance
New research shows cinnamon may even outperform the most well-established diabetes drugs. In fact, in my view, we can now say with confidence that cinnamon can prevent Type II diabetes, an epidemic that affects millions of Americans.
Other research shows taking cinnamon can also help to:
- Lower cholesterol
- Improve digestion
- Thin blood
- Prevent blood clots
Just eyeball your dose
Most studies use medicinal preparations of cinnamon. But even the common ground spice found at the grocery store can be effective.
An important note before I continue: If you take a blood thinner drug, you should NOT use cassia cinnamon. Instead, make sure to use the other variety of cinnamon called ceylon. It’ll give you the health benefits without potential drug interaction side effects.
When it comes to dosage, I suggest enjoying cinnamon liberally in food quantities. Just scoop a teaspoon or two into your favorite beverage. You can also add this delightful spice to your steel-cut oatmeal, stews, meats, fruit, and vegetable dishes, particularly with other healthy spices.
Of course, you have many natural options in addition to cinnamon, for managing your blood sugar over the holidays and all year round — like ginger, chromium, and vanadium. You can learn more about this powerful combination by clicking here.
To learn about more effective, commonsense, drug-free strategies for optimal blood sugar control, check out my online learning protocol, the Integrative Protocol for Defeating Diabetes. To learn more about this tool, or to enroll today, simply click here.
“Cinnamon: Potential Role in the Prevention of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes,” J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2010; 4(3): 685–693