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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The benefits of the spice cinnamon

Since I was a young gal, I was told that I had hypoglycemia, low blood sugar.  My blood sugar drops so low that in the middle of the night, my body creates blood sugar about equal to a medium blizzard.  after years of my body fighting this, I now have Type II diabetes.  My blood sugars are significantly higher first thing in the morning than any other time of the day, even with medications.

I am on the hunt for something that will help keep my blood sugars more level so that my body doesn't do it's wild nightly spike.  At this point I am trying a new mid-night snack.  Wheat toast with cinnamon and a small drizzle of honey. There are many articles that encourage the use of cinnamon and honey to stabilize blood sugar levels with the warning not to go overboard with the honey.  Too much of a good thing can be bad for you. 

Photo by Trisha Field
Multi-grain toast with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.
A research study published in Diabetes Care found that cinnamon could be used to reduce the glycemic index of your meal by 18-29% while also reducing triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol.  They also found that those who added cinnamon to their diets could reduce the risk associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The reason we want our meals to have a lower glycemic index is because foods that are higher on the glycemic index scale tend to raise your blood sugar levels.  And rapidly raising blood sugar levels will set off a chain of reactions putting your body into “fat storing mode.”

"Cinnamon -- from the powdered bark of the tree botanically known as Cinnamomum verum -- is highly valued by herbalists in various medical systems, including Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. Cinnamon has been traditionally employed to treat disorders such as diarrhea, rheumatism and menstrual cramps. credits cinnamon with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities, and reports that many of the spice's beneficial qualities come from its content of cinnamaldehyde, found in the essential oil. Results of clinical studies showing the effects of cinnamon on blood glucose have been mixed.
However, in a placebo-controlled clinical study published in the December 2003 issue of "Diabetes Care," researchers found that between 1 and 6 g a day of cinnamon reduced serum glucose in patients with type two diabetes. Blue Shield Complementary and Alternative Health recommends 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. of the powder per day."

Read more:

Adding Honey, the natural sweetener to the diet increases the benefits of the cinnamon.  Our body processes honey slower than it does sugar.  Please use honey in moderation.  The test results do show that although it lowers blood sugar levels it somehow increases A1c.  (The test used by doctors to diagnose diabetes.)

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