Cinnamon doesn't just add flavor to recipes; it has one of the highest antioxidant levels of any spice – and even more than many foods.
Beyond antioxidants, cinnamon is also rich in natural compounds called polyphenols. These compounds assist the action of insulin, the hormone that regulates sugar metabolism and thus controls the level of glucose in your blood. That's especially good news for people with diabetes.
In numerous studies, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and turmeric have all shown promise in enhancing insulin's action. These spices, especially cinnamon, made fat cells much more responsive to insulin.
A study conducted by researchers from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2003 showed that subjects who had Type-2 diabetes and ate one gram of cinnamon each day over a period of 40 days, experienced a significant decrease in their blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides.
The active ingredient in cinnamon is a water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP. In test tube experiments, MHCP mimics insulin, activates its receptor, and works synergistically with insulin in cells.
Using Cinnamon for Diabetes. Recent studies have determined that consuming as little as one-half teaspoon of cinnamon each day may reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels by as much as twenty percent in Type-2 diabetes patients who are not taking insulin.
Cinnamon and Blood Sugar Control. Seasoning a high-carbohydrate 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.
Botanicals such as cinnamon not only can improve glucose metabolism and the overall condition of individuals with diabetes. They can also improve cholesterol metabolism, removing artery-damaging free radicals from the blood, and improving function of small blood vessels.
Onions, garlic, Korean ginseng, and flaxseed have shown the same effect. In fact, studies with rabbits and rats show that fenugreek, curry, mustard seeds, and coriander also have cholesterol-improving effects.
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