The quest for all-natural remedies for chronic ailments has yet to conclude from ancient to modern times. It has spanned a vast range of centuries. One particular spice—cinnamon—has fascinated us for millennia, not just for its warm, sweet taste but also for its potential health benefits.
Cinnamon has now been found to be associated with some diabetic effects. More research is needed about cinnamon's potential in controlling blood sugar spikes. But the quest is still underway.
On the other hand, diabetes is one chronic disease that affects thousands across the globe. But will cinnamon, an everyday pantry staple, create any difference? Can cinnamon treat diabetic patients? How long does it take cinnamon to lower blood sugar?
We must dive deeper to get an overview of how cinnamon controls blood sugar spikes. Let’s first get started with cinnamon and diabetes.
Cinnamon is an aromatic spice derived from the bark of a tree called Cinnamomum. While most people might assume it is a common pantry spice, it is a wonder spice with manifold of health benefits.
People have already been using cinnamon sticks to treat inflammation, fight bacteria, and cancer-treating purposes. The diabetic effect of Cinnamon powder is the haul of the town at present.
The most common form of cinnamon is the curled-up cinnamon sticks harvested from the tree's bark. In addition, it also comes in powder forms and oil. Cinnamon oil has a strong, pungent smell which is often added to the deserts.
Considering the nutritional perspective, the most abundant biomolecule in cinnamon is cinnamaldehyde. This aromatic aldehyde gives the characteristic flavor and smell to this stick.
In addition, Cinnamon is also packed with antioxidants, notably polyphenols, which are known for their oxidative stress-relieving capabilities. Generally, one spoon (about 7.8 grams) of grounded cinnamon contains:
- Calories: 19
- Protein: 0.3 grams
- Fat: 0.1 grams
- Carbohydrates: 6.2 grams
- Fiber: 4.1 grams
- Sugar: 0.2 grams
In terms of minerals and vitamins, cinnamon is also rich in:
- Vitamin K
However, it's also worth noting that cassia cinnamon (the more commonly consumed variety) contains significant amounts of a compound called coumarin, which can be harmful in large doses.
Cinnamon and Blood Sugar
Cinnamon has been found to control blood sugar levels in multiple ways. People have already started adding it to their regular diet to manage the sugar spike properly.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
You might be aware of how insulin works. This hormone is primarily responsible for regulating carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism. In addition, it also facilitates sugar absorption into the blood. People who are insulin resistant can't manage the whole work that insulin is destined to play, which makes them susceptible to diabetes and many other ailments. This is where cinnamon makes its way.
Some studies suggest that cinnamon components may act directly on cells by mimicking insulin's effects. This could improve glucose uptake by cells, which is usually regulated by insulin.
Cinnamon has been found to enhance insulin sensitivity, which makes insulin do its job more effectively, thus preventing sugar spikes.
Alanine is an enzyme that facilitates glucose absorption within the blood. Cinnamon prevents blood sugar levels from rising to unacceptable levels by inhibiting Alanine.
Lowers blood sugar level after meals
Cinnamon is found to slow down the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats into glucose, thus preventing the rise of blood sugar levels after meals (postprandial sugar level). This also renders a sense of fullness for a more extended period which helps manage weight.
This may occur due to a compound in cinnamon called methyl hydroxy chalcone polymer (MHCP), which can mimic insulin and potentially help transport glucose into cells.
According to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007), having 5-6 grams of cinnamon powder with your lunch controls blood sugar levels very effectively compared to lunch without powder intake.
Regulates hemoglobin Hb1Ac levels
Cinnamon might lower HbA1c levels by improving glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. This could reduce the amount of glucose that binds to hemoglobin A1c, leading to lower HbA1c levels. However, more research is needed to confirm this effect, and individual responses may vary. Always consult with a healthcare provider before using cinnamon for blood sugar control.
Besides cinnamon, diabetic-friendly supplements like GlycemiaCare have also been found as friendly and effective as cinnamon in regulating blood sugar levels.
Common Misconceptions on Cinnamon’s Role in Diabetes
Cinnamon can replace diabetes medication
It is the most common misconception about cinnamon and every herb or extract that holds any health benefit. People consider that it could replace medication. But little do they need to learn that medicines are made to deal with multiple purposes simultaneously. Cinnamon can facilitate quick recovery but can not alone handle diabetic issues.
All types of cinnamon are equally beneficial.
Each cinnamon represents a different nutritional profile. The same goes for coumarin levels in both Cassia and Ceylon. For those who want to stay safe, the best is to consume Ceylon since it has moderate levels of coumarin.
Consuming cinnamon means you can eat more sugary foods.
More like a myth. Consuming cinnamon does not give you a free pass to eat whatever you might like. It may help manage blood sugar levels but not counteract an unhealthy diet. A balanced, nutritious diet is crucial in managing diabetes.
Cinnamon has the same effect on everyone.
Cinnamon responds differently to each individual. To many, it might result in quick relief from diabetic issues, but to many, it might not be that promising. It is not wise to assume it as a standard.
How to Take Cinnamon for Diabetes
There are many ways to add cinnamon to your diabetic-friendly diet. If you don’t find powdered cinnamon that appealing, you can go for the oil form of it.
- Add it to your coffee or tea: add some cinnamon zest or stick to your simmering tea water. Put it for a while so that it releases its extract. And then enjoy. Cinnamon tea and diabetes make a perfect combo.
- Sprinkle it on your breakfast or bread: sprinkle a dash of cinnamon powder to your oatmeal or Greek yogurt and savor the richness of this mighty spice.
- Add it to your smoothies: To get a cool and refreshing effect on a scorching summer noon, you can make yourself a smoothie with an added cinnamon dash.
- Savor it in your dishes: cinnamon powder has long been used as a daily spice in Indian culture. Adding cinnamon not only gives your curry a pleasant aroma but also adds to the nutritional value of the food.
- Sprinkle it on fruits: adding a cinnamon zest over your fruits turns out to be a more flavorful meal. Do try it.
- Topple cinnamon oil as a salad dressing: if not ground cinnamon, you can use cinnamon oil in your salad dressings.
How can I tell the difference between Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon?
Cassia cinnamon has a darker, reddish-brown color and a thicker, rougher texture. Its sticks are hard and usually consist of a single layer. On the other hand, Ceylon cinnamon is lighter in color, with a finer texture, and its sticks are made up of multiple thin layers rolled together.
Which type of cinnamon is best for diabetes?
Ceylon Cinnamon is considered the best for diabetes. It is safe for consumption since it has less amount of coumarin in it. It saves the body from the potential side effects of cinnamon.
Cinnamon holds anti-diabetic potential in a nutshell. Cinnamon lowers blood sugar and fights diabetes effectively. If consumed moderately, it can manage blood sugar levels, prevent sugar spikes, regulate insulin sensitivity, and lower Hb1Ac levels. You can easily add it to your diabetic-friendly diet since it is present in our pantry.