Using cinnamon to treat diabetes is something you might have heard of in the last few years. Some diabetics may take cinnamon supplements, while others may just shake the stuff on everything. It’s important to remember that cinnamon is a spice, and all spices can be incredibly beneficial to our health. Not one can save us from anything as serious as diabetes, however adding cinnamon to our foods may offer some benefits to our blood sugar. But how?
Why and How Cinnamon May Help During Meals
When you eat, your blood glucose rises naturally. This is a normal process in the body, and not harmful … until that insulin doesn’t reach the cells efficiently and your blood glucose stays high all the time. Various reasons can cause this to happen, whether it be too much sugar intake, not enough fiber, too much or any animal protein, a high starchy meal with not enough other nutrients like magnesium and protein to slow down the response, or simply due to blood sugar problems you have currently have.
Some other factors that are possible, include a high fat intake from animal or oil fat sources that prevents insulin from reaching the cells, or possibly a diet too low in calories. Skipping meals can also cause problems with blood sugar. Whatever the cause, the important solution is to eat a whole foods diet, lean plant-based proteins, sufficient (but modest) portions of healthy plant-based fats, and as much fiber as your body can tolerate comfortably. Cinnamon works its magic by lowering the insulin response in the body to a degree, and it also contains nutrients that assist in this process as well.
Nutrients in Cinnamon That Provide Blood Sugar Support
Adding cinnamon to some foods can benefit you for a few reasons. First, it tastes naturally sweet, so it may lower your cravings for sugary foods. Second, it contains a wealth of magnesium, B vitamins, and other minerals that may help lower the glycemic response in the body. Magnesium is incredibly effective at this since a shortage in this mineral is often related to poor blood glucose levels. Cinnamon also works to help the body digest and break down foods more easily, which may help insulin reach the cells quicker and may help lower the response like the body prefers to naturally.
Choose Real Cinnamon for Best Results
Only “real” cinnamon is best for your health, which is also known as Ceylon cinnamon. It’s produced in Sri Lanka, where real cinnamon originates from, while most cinnamon in the stores today are cassia cinnamon, made from the cassia plant that is similar to cinnamon, but not the real deal. It’s also darker in color and stronger in flavor than real cinnamon, not to mention cheaper to produce. But cassia is not in fact real cinnamon, and though it has been linked to improving blood sugar, cassia may be toxic to your liver! So, please, buy Ceylon cinnamon, which still comes with blood sugar benefits, even if not as strong as benefits from cassia sources. You only need a tsp. a day to get the best results for blood sugar.
Check out this video below by Michael Greger, MD. and expert on plant-based diets and nutrition who explains the cinnamon and blood sugar debate even further. As you’ll see, cinnamon is no longer just a spice to put on pumpkin pie and in our oatmeal. It may in fact, be a great (and inexpensive way) to take care of your health for the long term, so long as you know which kind to use and what you need to keep in mind overall.
Putting Cinnamon to Use
Now, to enjoy your cinnamon the healthy way, try making these recipes that might seem decadent to the eye, but actually have no refined sugar. They’re made with whole, plant-based foods that are full of fiber and some even have protein too! And, of course, they feature the healthy spice cinnamon!
Raw Chocolate Truffles
Raw chocolate truffles? Sign us up! Cacao is also a great ingredient to lower your blood sugar since it’s high in fiber and magnesium. These truffles are also a good source of protein, healthy fats, and B vitamins.
Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats
And let’s not forget the best place to use cinnamon outside of desserts and even smoothies: oatmeal. This pumpkin pie oatmeal tastes like dessert but is full of blood sugar-boosting benefits your body will thank you for all day long.
Or for non-sweet delights, try these cinnamon-filled recipes….
Seasonal Fall Sweet Salad
Full of protein, iron, sweet and savory flavorings, this salad will give you your veggies and greens in something you’d never expect to qualify as so tasty! Try it for your next lunch or light dinner.
Raw Massaged Kale Salad with Fresh Figs and Oranges
Full of fiber, greens, calcium and magnesium, this hearty salad has everything you need to feel your best. Add a lean protein option like hemp seeds, tempeh or tofu, or some edamame, chickpeas or pumpkin seeds, and you’ve got yourself one long-lasting meal. Cinnamon added to this recipe really puts a nice touch, while also providing additional blood sugar benefits.
Raw Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Salad
And finally, let’s give nature’s sweetest veggie some spotlight attention, since sweet potatoes are not only sweet in flavor, but also helpful for actually lowering your blood sugar due to their nutrient composition and high amounts of fiber. In this salad, they’re paired with some special spices that provide even more benefits, and since these noodles are grain-free, they’ll also help those looking to lower their starchy carbohydrate content a bit without cutting carbs from healthy foods.
Add cinnamon to dishes of all kinds, especially at breakfast if you’re making a smoothie or entree, and remember that a whole foods-based diet is the best thing you can do for your overall blood sugar. Cinnamon, well, it just adds a little something extra to benefit you further (and tastes pretty delicious at that!).
Do you eat cinnamon? Do you find it helps with your blood sugar?
Lead Image Source: Cinnamon Vogue/Flickr