The cinnamon you put in your French toast or sprinkle in your beverage at your favorite coffee shop is not only a popular spice, it was once considered as valuable as a precious metal and has medicinal properties dating back to early civilizations.
Cinnamon was used to stop bacterial growth and has long been used to cure everything from athlete’s foot to indigestion and was even used in embalming by the Egyptians. During the Middle Ages, cinnamon was mixed with cloves and warm water, and placed in the sick rooms of victims of the Bubonic Plague. Studies show that the antiseptic power of cinnamon makes it great for battling bacteria that upset the stomach, cause ulcers, urinary tract infections and the fungus associated with yeast infections. Recent research indicates that cinnamon can have favorable effects on brain function, improving memory functions and the ability to process information quickly.
The most astounding recent discovery came when USDA scientists found that apple pie with cinnamon helped lower blood glucose levels. They did further research on diabetics who were not taking insulin and found that doses of cinnamon reduced their blood sugar levels and increased their natural production of insulin as well as lowered their blood cholesterol, even 20 days after the 40 day cinnamon treatment ended. This is a wonderful discovery for more than 50 million Americans who suffer from diabetes and/or heart disease because all the patients in the study showed better glucose metabolism and natural insulin production when they took cinnamon capsules that delivered less than two teaspoons a day of the spice. Lowering blood sugar levels and improving cholesterol ratios can help reverse prediabetes and Metabolic Syndrome, and in fact may actually prevent the worsening of health to full diabetes and help you lose weight, particularly belly fat which is sensitive to glucose levels.
Adding cinnamon to your diet
You can start right now to get the recommended 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon a day using the spice in your food. The cinnamon you have in your pantry or pick up in your supermarket in either stick or ground form will work and comes from the bark of the evergreen cinnamon tree. As with any herb or spice you choose, make sure it’s fresh for the best flavor, aroma, and benefits. Open the jar in your kitchen and if the smell is strong and sweet your cinnamon is fresh. If not, throw it away. Once open, be sure to seal the container tightly and store it away from light. Enjoy cinnamon by:
- Add a cinnamon stick to flavor your favorite tea
- Add to unsweetened applesauce, cereal or oatmeal
- Sprinkle on toast or add to butter or cream cheese
- Sprinkle on coffee, cocoa, fruit juices, and ciders
- Add cinnamon to your favorite baked goods
If you want to take cinnamon as a supplement consult with your physician before beginning to use cinnamon in medicinal quantities, especially if you are already taking a diabetes medication since cinnamon may have an impact on your blood sugar.