Cinnamon is a versatile spice that can be used on quite a variety of foods from toast in the morning to jerk chicken at night. Cinnamon's bright color indicates significant antioxidant levels. In fact, on a gram per gram basis, cinnamon has nearly 50X he antioxidant capacity of most fruits and veggies. But scientists are also finding that cinnamon has a unique ability to control blood sugar levels.
Seasoning a high carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating. Studies to confirm cinnamon's beneficial actions in humans are currently underway with the most recent report coming from researchers from the US Agricultural Research Service, who have shown that less than half a teaspoon per day of cinnamon reduces blood sugar levels in persons with type 2 diabetes. Even the lowest amount of cinnamon in these studies, 1 gram per day (approximately ¼ to ½ teaspoon), produced an approximately 20% drop in blood sugar; cholesterol and triglycerides were lowered as well. When daily cinnamon was stopped, blood sugar levels began to increase.
Not only does consuming cinnamon improve the body's ability to utilize blood sugar, but just smelling the wonderful odor of this sweet spice boosts brain activity! Research led by Dr. P. Zoladz found that chewing cinnamon flavored gum or just smelling cinnamon enhanced study participants' cognitive processing. Specifically, cinnamon improved participants' scores on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed while working on a computer-based program. Participants were exposed to four odorant conditions: no odor, peppermint odor, jasmine, and cinnamon, with cinnamon emerging the clear winner in producing positive effects on brain function.
Some easy ways to get cinnamon into your diet:
At breakfast - sprinkle a little on toast, your cereal/granola
Snack - a smoothie with fresh fruit and cinnamon
Dinner - try using cinnamon to spice up you meals. Try adding it to veggies or as a rub on pork and poultry.
Evening Snack - sprinkle a little on ice cream or add some to your favorite muffin recipe.