Cinnamon: A Cure All?

Do you know the health benefits cinnamon has to offer?? Can cinnamon help control blood sugar in diabetics?

This special spice has been used as a ‘medicine.’ It is known to have anti-clotting properties, be anti-microbial, and help with blood sugar control by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties after meals. This reduces the rise in blood sugar after eating and decreases insulin resistance, which is especially helpful to diabetics. It also improves colon health and protects against heart disease.

There are two types of cinnamon: Ceylon and cassia, both derived from the bark of evergreen trees.

Ceylon cinnamon is grown in South America, Southeast Asia, and the West Indies, while cassia cinnamon is grown in Central America, China, and Indonesia. Ceylon cinnamon bark looks like tightly rolled scrolls, while cassia cinnamon is more loosely rolled. Cassia is the variety most commonly sold in the United States.

In a research study, volunteers ate from 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon for 40 days. One gram of ground cinnamon is about half a teaspoon. Researchers found that cinnamon reduced cholesterol by about 18% and blood sugar levels by 24%.

Try it!

 

  • Breakfast: sprinkle cinnamon onto your nonfat latte, cereal or whole grain oatmeal
  • Snack: sprinkle onto your mixed fresh fruit bowl
  • Lunch or dinner: mix it in when preparing curries
  • Dessert: sprinkle onto your warm baked pear, apple or frozen yogurt

Enjoy this holiday season with a cinnamon latte and a gingerbread cookie! Grab a book, sit back and relax in a big comfy chair. Try these recipes…

Cinnamon Latte RECIPE:

2 Tbsp. fat-free half-and-half

1 tsp.  Truvia No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated

Dash ground cinnamon

3/4 cup hot brewed Maxwell House hazelnut flavored (or regular) Coffee (double strength)

2 Tbsp. thawed cool whip sugar free whipped topping (or plain)

Per serving: Calories 40, Fat 1g (sat 0.5g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 35mg, Carbohydrate 7g, Fiber 0g, Sugars 2g, Protein 1g

Gingerbread Men cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg (or egg substitute- beaters or whites)
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves

Preparation:

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and applesauce until smooth.
  • Add egg and molasses and mix well.
  • In another large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and spices.
  • Add to sugar and molasses mixture, stirring well.
  • Divide dough in two; cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll out dough to 1/4 or 1/8-inch thickness.
  • Cut gingerbread men with a cookie cutter.
  • Add candies or raisins to decorate.
  • Place 1-2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes.
  • Add frosting or more decorations when cool.

Makes 30 cookies.

Per serving: Calories 94, Calories from Fat 16, Fat 1.8g (sat 1g), Cholesterol 11mg, Sodium 48mg, Carbohydrate 18g, Fiber 0.4g, Protein 1.5g

For more ideas about meal planning and incorporating your favorite foods into your diet and lifestyle, schedule an appointment with Courtney Walberg, Registered Dietitian and founder of Nutrition For Body And Mind.