Spice for Life
The cinnamon bottle you have in your cupboard is more than just a spice. Did you know that ½ teaspoon of cinnamon a day can improve your health? There have been several studies that have shown that this amount of cinnamon consumed daily can show improvements in blood sugar with Type 2 diabetes plus help lower triglycerides and LDL, the “bad”, cholesterol levels. The studies conducted were small and have not been confirmed with larger studies.
The active component in the cinnamon is in the water-soluble part of the spice and not in the oil. You can buy cinnamon oil, used for aromatherapy, but do not use it as a supplement or apply it to the skin. There are cinnamon supplements available but it is important to remember that dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA for quality or effectiveness. Cinnamon is relatively safe but if you are diabetic and decide to take cinnamon supplements or a daily dose be sure to tell your health-care provider as the spice can affect your medications. Heavy use of cinnamon supplements can irritate the mouth and lips and may cause sores. And, of course, if you take regular medications, check with your provider about interactions before taking supplements.
Most people think of desserts or a beverage addition when they think of cinnamon. The active ingredient is heat stable and can be included in a main dish. I encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to this healthy, tasty spice.
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD
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