Adding some spice into your life may be just what the doctor ordered, and cinnamon and weight loss go hand in hand. This delicious, aromatic bark from the genus cinnamomom tree has a key weight loss feature in its ability to stop those unruly SUGAR cravings, and will also help keep blood sugar stable. Both of which are key elements to fighting fat – and more specifically, dangerous belly fat.
Different Types of Cinnamon:
Before we start it is essential for you to understand some little known facts about cinnamon. There are actually 2 different types, Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon, and although they both taste similar, they are very different in terms of health benefits.
For Health Reasons, It is VERY IMPORTANT You Know the below Information About Cinnamon Before You Buy it!!!
Ceylon cinnamon is the more expensive kind but has more superior health benefits, it also has a flaky bark (see pic). But most people who buy pre-ground cinnamon from the supermarket will more than likely be consuming the cassia type. Cassia often comes from China, is 10 times cheaper than ceylon, and is actually BAD for you if you eat it regularly – I will explain why in a bit.
Most cinnamon labels do not disclose which type of cinnamon they use as it all comes under the umbrella term of cinnamon, but pretty much ALL pre-ground super market cinnamon will be this cheaper variety.
Side Effects of Cassia Cinnamon:
The problem with cassia cinnamon is this: although it does share some of the health properties of Ceylon, it is 1200 times higher in a substance called caumarin. This compound is dangerous when ingested regularly (especially if you are going to start using cinnamon every day) as it can cause serious health problems, including liver and kidney damage.
Luckily, most people don’t use cinnamon in high enough amounts for this to be an issue, and it is often just used as an occasional spice in bakery. But if you are going to be using it regularly you should buy the flaky variety of cinnamon bark, NOT the hard curls (see pic), and grind it yourself. This really is the only way to know that you’re getting the real deal.
CINNAMON AND WEIGHT LOSS – PLUS 7 CINNAMON HEALTH BENEFITS
1. WEIGHT LOSS
Cinnamon can help with weight loss – and I’m talking belly fat loss specifically. This is because of the effect it has on blood glucose. When we a eat carbohydrates of any kind, which includes all things sweet, flours, grains, starchy vegetables, pulses and fruit, insulin is naturally released from the pancreas to mop those sugars up pushing them into cells to either be used for energy OR stored as fat.
As most of us are ‘hooked‘ on sugar and high GI carbohydrates, we are often on a sugar train of eating high GI foods, having an insulin response, and then (if those sugars are not used for energy ,which mostly they’re not) having those sugars stored as FAT.
Cinnamon can decrease the amount of glucose entering the blood after a meal by interfering with digestive enzymes, which in turn slows the breaking down of carbohydrates in the digestive system and therefore lowering a meals GI… cool huh?
Low GI Eating:
Cinnamon is a great addition to a weight loss program, however, you should also be eating a low GI diet for not only better blood sugar control, but also because this type of diet not only contains lots of high antioxidant, anti aging super foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses, but also lots of fiber to keep the digestive tract in tip top condition.
For more easy to understand ‘how to’ information on how to make these changes and start clearing the junk out of your life (and more importantly your precious body) please check out these further posts.
A Slower Release of Sugars Means Less Hunger Pangs:
Now to the crux of the matter – the slower those sugars are released into the bloodstream, then slower and more sustained release of energy you will get. This will not only stop you craving more sugar or carby foods again so quickly, but will also make you feel fuller for longer. And that’s the point – stable blood sugar stops the cravings that make you gain weight!
2. IMPROVES INSULIN SENSITIVITY
Insulin is a hormone that is released by the pancreas to clear and transport sugars (carbohydrates) from the blood and into cells. The problem now is many people are becoming insulin resistant due to this hormones overuse in high sugar diets.
Insulin resistance is one of the main hallmarks of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Cinnamon is so powerful that it can actually reduces insulin resistance dramatically: it does this by helping insulin to function properly to lower blood sugar levels.
3. ANTI DIABETES
As well as its powerful effects on insulin cinnamon also lowers blood sugar in other ways:-
- Decreasing the amount of glucose to hit the bloodstream after you have eaten a meal.
- The insulin mimmicing compound that cinnamon contains helps to vastly improve the uptake of glucose into cells, a good thing because insulin is a vital part of keeping blood sugar stable.
Numerous studies have been conducted that now confirm cinnamon most certainly has anti diabetic properties, and at doeses of 0.5-2 teaspoons a day can lower blood sugar levels by 10-29%.
4. ANTI AGING
All of the above benefits lead into the amazing benefit of anti aging too. A low GI diet and better blood sugar control will keep you looking young, and that’s an absolute FACT! All these sugar highs and lows actually accelerate the aging process, not just on the outside, but on the inside too.
A low GI diet and blood sugar control will keep chronic inflammation to a minimum, which in turn will lower your chances of many diseases and illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, alzheimer’s and some cancer’s. Given the fact that cinnamon in itself is a powerful anti inflammatory, adding it to a low GI diet will only enhance this effect.
Cinnamon is higher in antioxidants than any other herb or spice. Antioxidants are an absolutely essential part of our diet because they mop up the free radical damage caused in our bodies by toxins. These toxins come from many sources, such as food, environment, sun exposure, alcohol or nicotine. In fact we are being bombarded from ALL angles by toxins every day, and many of which we have no control over such as traffic pollution and aeroplane fuel.
Free radicals are basically unpaired electrons that steal electrons from our own cells, thus causing damage to our DNA. This damage then causes aging and disease, but eating high levels of antioxidant rich foods will help negate this damage and slow down the aging process.
6. LOWERS RISK OF HEART DISEASE
Now the biggest killer of our time, heart disease is something we all simply must take preventative measures towards, and this is where cinnamon could be a great supplement. A recent study concluded that a dose of just 120 milligrams a day can reduce bad LDL cholesterol and trigylcerides, and increase good HDL cholesterol.
7. ANTI CANCER
Cinnamon’s effect on cancer cells and tumor growth has so far only been studied in animals, but was found to be toxic to cancer cells and to cause cancer cell death.
A separate study on mice with colon cancer showed cinnamon had the ability to activate detoxifying enzymes in the colon, therefore having a protective effect against further growth. These amazing results were also supported in test tube experiments, where it was seen in human colon cells to activate a protective antioxidant response.
8. ANTI FUNGAL
Cinnamon is a powerful anti fungal, anti microbial and anti bacterial, and is great in the treatment of fungal infections such as in candida overgrowth. It can also inhibit certain bacteria like salmonella and listeria from growing.
It is often used as a digestive aid to help eliminate gas and bloating, and also alleviates IBS symptoms.
HOW TO USE CINNAMON
Cinnamon is a very versatile spice: after you have sourced out your real ceylon cinnamon’ sticks (don’t forget, these are the FLAKY bark variety, not the hard tubes), you can grind them up in either a coffee grinder or pestel and mortar and add to pretty much anything you fancy.
Freshly ground cinnamon tastes just fabulous and smells super fresh. You can bake with it, sprinkle it on your cereal, or add to deserts, yogurt’s or hot drinks such as herbal tea’s or your bedtime milk.
Go crazy with it and try new things, just be sure to get at least a teaspoon into your diet every day to reap all these awesome benefits.
Thank you for reading this article. I always endeavor to bring you the most up to date and science based evidence in the health and nutrition industry. If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you so please post below.