Can Cinnamon Help You Lose Weight?
Enjoy the health benefits of this wonder spice
How old is that jar of cinnamon in your kitchen cabinet? Now that you know, we hope you have a stronger sense of urgency to actually use more of it. Our usual use of cinnamon is a dash here or a cinnamon stick there, but you might want to up the ante on your cinnamon consumption. Not only will this spice provide a source of warmth and relief for those long, cold winter days, but its’ strong, sweet flavor can add health benefits you would never have guessed. As you prepare for the New Year, think of how you can infuse more cinnamon into your regular diet.
Cinnamon’s Nutritional Value
The medicinal properties in cinnamon are present in the varieties you’d find in most grocery stores. It comes in powder, stick, oil and extract form. While you may look to fruits and vegetables for your daily dose of fiber, adding just two teaspoons of cinnamon offers up 2.5 grams of fiber. Consider adding a small amount to meals to boost your fiber quotient. While the amount of varies greatly, a blood-thinning compound, coumarin, is also found in cinnamon. Vitamins and minerals in cinnamon includes a significant amount of calcium, manganese, vitamins A and K, as well as iron.
Cinnamon and Weight Loss
A recent report speaks to the health benefits of cinnamon as a miracle spice that has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant, as well as cancer-fighting and cholesterol-lowering effects. However, the amount of clinically controlled trials to corroborate cinnamon’s effect on humans is scant. One such study of Type 2 diabetes patients showed profound effects on the levels of fasting blood glucose and an added weight loss perk to boot. The double blind, randomized trial assigned participants to a three-grams-per-day cinnamon supplement for eight weeks. Though there were no significant differences in baseline characteristics, dietary intake and physical activity between groups, when compared to placebo, those who took the supplements saw a reduction in weight, BMI and body fat mass which all decreased significantly compared to baseline. Other study findings include:
- A ½ teaspoon of cinnamon a day can help lower LDL, your "bad" cholesterol.
- Cinnamon can be used as a natural preservative, inhibiting bacterial growth and food spoilage.
- Cinnamon is a natural cure for headaches and migraines, and may lower fever.
- The smell of cinnamon alone can boost your cognitive function and memory.
How to Use Cinnamon
Now that you know how much is enough, use it in a variety of recipes, from savory stews and sweet desserts to hot drinks. Add a dash to your morning oatmeal or coffee, tea or warmed apple cider. Sprinkle some over homemade cookies or pies. You can also use whole sticks in stews, soups, or other dishes that use boiling. If you want to go beyond sprinkles, spoonfuls, and dashes, use these recipes for cinnamon-infused dishes by meal type. Be sure to use the recipe analyzer to make sure you're keeping your calorie count in check.
Cinnamon Stewed Chicken
How do you incorporate cinnamon into your healthy lifestyle?
Here’s more information on selection and storage of cinnamon.