To Your Health
January, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 01)
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Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice

By Editorial Staff

Spices and seasonings can add another dimension to your food without adding calories or fat. For example, new research suggests cinnamon can aid in controlling blood sugar, lowering cholesterol and relieving arthritis pain. It's also a great source of manganese, fiber, iron and calcium.

Researchers at Malmo University Hospital in Sweden conducted a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which indicated that adding about one teaspoon of cinnamon to a bowl of rice pudding lowered the usual increase in post-meal blood sugar. In a separate study of people with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that one gram a day of cinnamon significantly lowered blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL or "bad" cholesterol, and total cholesterol.

A bundle of cinnamon sticks. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark According to scientists, cinnamon appears to slow the rate in which food passes from the stomach to the intestines, and the active ingredient, proanthocyanidin, activates insulin receptors inside cells allowing the cells to use energy from sugar.

Of course, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. In high doses, cinnamon may be toxic, and you certainly don't want to load up on cinnamon rolls, muffins or other cinnamon-laden, high-fat treats. For a healthy treat, try half a teaspoon of cinnamon with a spoonful of honey every morning before breakfast.