Cinnamon is proclaimed to be a wonder spice with numerous health benefits. The internet is filled with articles claiming large benefits of the spice, but most are not backed by human trials. Most tests are done in the labs or only tested on animals. It is found that the results found in the labs, or on animals, fail to produce the same outcome in humans.
We decided to investigate further. We went through several scientific studies, compiled them and have listed the results found in human trials. If you have not been using cinnamon regularly, please hang in there. Find out why you should include this wonderful spice in your next shopping list. How to consume it and in what quantities?
About 8.7% of the Indian population in the age group of 20-70 years is diabetic, according to the World Health Organization(WHO). Modern medicine doesn’t have a cure for it yet. Along with medication, it also relies on dietary restrictions and regular exercise to control the disease.
The lab studies and the studies on animals strongly support hypoglycaemic properties of cinnamon.
In a study by Hlebowitz et al. (2007) 14 healthy subjects with normal fasting blood glucose concentrations were given 300 gram of rice pudding or 300 gram of rice pudding with 6 grams cinnamon. The group that took the rice with cinnamon had delayed gastric emptying and lower postprandial glucose response.
There have been seven clinical studies done on the effects of cinnamon on type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Out of these, three studies found statistically significant beneficial effects, whereas, the other four did not find any significant benefit. Though there are indications of a positive effect of this spice on diabetes, more research is needed in this area for conclusive results.
In its World health statistics 2012 report, the WHO estimated that one in three adults worldwide has raised blood pressure. While low-cost medicines are effective in controlling hypertension, they have to be taken daily and have side effects, however small they might be.
We have already seen the positive effects of cinnamon on blood glucose levels. Now, let’s see its effect on high blood pressure.
Three studies were done between January 2000 and September 2012 on the effect of cinnamon on blood pressure. A meta-analysis of these randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials shows that the short-term use of this spice reduces both systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) by 5.39 mm Hg (95% CI, -6.89 to -3.89) and 2.6 mm Hg (95% CI, -4.53 to -0.66) respectively.
This shows that cinnamon can be used as a dietary supplement for the patients suffering from diabetes and hypertension along with conventional medication, though further long-term trials need to be conducted for concrete results.
With repeated use of antibiotics, new streams of bacteria have evolved that are resistant to multiple drugs. Hence, there is a need to identify alternative strategies.
In a study published recently, cinnamon and its constituents were found to exhibit antibacterial properties. Another study suggested using cinnamon oil in cosmetics, toiletries, and disinfectants to keep the bacteria at bay.
Additionally, cinnamon is also recommended for weight loss, anti-cancer properties, hair loss, Alzheimer, arthritis and a few others. These uses are not hearsay. Many of these have been proven in labs and on animals but lack clinical trials on humans. There are hardly any major side effects of having this spice unless ingested in huge quantities. Nevertheless, always consult your doctor or naturopath before introducing any new medication or herb in your diet.
A ballpark figure between 2 grams to 6 grams (half to 1 teaspoon) per day can be useful for both healthy and patients with diabetes and hypertension. If you currently using it only in your allspice mix (garam masala) for cooking, it is unlikely that you are hitting close to the required levels.
An easy way to consume the daily dose is to drink cinnamon tea. You can add a little to both sweet and savory dishes. It is widely used as a condiment in baking cakes, pastries, biscuits, cookies etc. Cinnamon rolls are the most popular ones.
Apple pie is incomplete without a generous dash of cinnamon. Its warm woody flavor compliments the sweet and sour taste of apples. Any dish made with apples can be enhanced by adding cinnamon to it. So, the next time you make a pie, sauce or candied apples make sure to sprinkle some cinnamon powder on it. But beware, too much of anything is bad, so use diligently.
Are you already consuming Cinnamon? How much quantity are you consuming daily? What are the benefits you have observed? Do let us know in the comments section.
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