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COMMENTS
BY Alyse

A Sprinkle a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

Have you ever consumed a spice to help relieve nausea, diarrhea or to soothe painful menstrual cramps?  Believe it or not, a daily dose of cinnamon may help!  Read on to learn about some of the health benefits of this “miracle” spice.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS AND FIGURES

Today’s on-the-go lifestyle is tainted with processed foods and riddled with a new host of health challenges.  Cinnamon has not only shown to provide relief from some common ailments such as nausea, cramps and digestive problems, but may also have positive effects on more serious conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.  The active ingredient in cinnamon, a compound called MHCP (methyl-hydroxy-chalcone polymer) has been shown to stimulate insulin receptors and work with the body to process glucose more efficiently while improving blood glucose levels.  In addition to assisting the body in producing insulin and thereby reducing blood sugar after meals in those with type 2 diabetes, cinnamon has also been shown to reduce triglyceride and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and lower overall cholesterol in the body.

Don’t let the label trick you! Food products with cinnamon flavorings (ie Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cinnamon and brown sugar fruit cups, Cinnamon rolls, Cinnamon rice cakes) do not have the same beneficial health effects as the cinnamon spice. Use the natural cinnamon spice as part of your meal preparation. Below are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Instead of jam, spread honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon on a toasted piece of whole grain bread in the morning with breakfast
  • Cinnamon can be added to further enhance a pleasantly spicy Chai or herbal tea
  • Try European or Greek style yogurt as a mid-morning snack with chopped walnuts and cinnamon
  • Add a side of cinnamon couscous to a dinner with an Indian or Moroccan theme to compliment a mélange of Far East flavor
  • Make a cinnamon apricot glaze to brush over a broiled filet of Wild Alaskan salmon
  • Finish off a tasty meal with vanilla frozen yogurt dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg for dessert!

ALYSE’S ADVICE

Cinnamon not only adds flavor to a variety of meals, it can also improve blood sugar regulation and can have a beneficial impact on overall health.  Try adding cinnamon to your daily regimen while making sure to read labels in order to avoid introducing added sugar and refined carbohydrates to your diet.

[1] http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/issues/Issue_306/cinnamondiabcare.pdf; http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/85/6/1552