Cinnamon, a common spice found in most pantries has benefits that we at FoodFacts.com understand go beyond giving food a distinctive flavor and aroma. Cinnamon may be beneficial to health – possibly helping to lower blood glucose and blood lipids and increase insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon extracts can also be used as a natural pesticide, as well as a natural antimicrobial, making it an effective preservative. Nutritionally, cinnamon is a good source of calcium, manganese, iron and dietary fiber. With so many benefits to cinnamon, why not add it as part of a healthy diet?
Some studies show that cinnamon can aid in lower blood sugar and blood lipids, as well as increase insulin sensitivity – which is great news for people with metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes. In one animal study, rats were fed a high fat, high fructose diet, to stimulate metabolic syndrome. The rats experienced abnormal fat accumulation and reduced pancreatic weight, which was alleviated with the addition of cinnamon. An extract of cinnamon was also shown to regulate genes critical to the uptake of glucose and the function of insulin in isolated fat cells.
In studies using human subjects, cinnamon’s effects on gastric emptying and blood glucose were tested. The study showed that adding 6 grams of cinnamon (a little more than 2 teaspoons ) helped to delay gastric emptying, possibly resulting in lower blood glucose. However, one meta analysis study of cinnamon’s effects for blood glucose, blood lipids, and A1C did not show significant results, so more research in this area is needed.
Cinnamon extracts are also used as natural pesticides, insecticides, fungicides as well as cat and dog repellants. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that a cinnamon extract is effective insecticide for mosquito larva.
Cinnamon also acts as a powerful antimicrobial. One study shows it was effective against some bacteria (Pseudomonas fluorescens and Serratia liquefaciens, Brochothrix thermosphacta, Carnobacterium piscicola, Lactobacillus curvatus, and Lactobacillus sake) In fact, cinnamon is also comparable to chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT and propyl gallate in preventing oxidative damage, keeping food from spoiling.
The next time you are unsure which spice to pick from the spice rack, may we suggest cinnamon? It’s health benefits alone are a good enough reason to use the spice, but it will also add a wonderful scent and flavor to your food.
http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/SR24/reports/sr24fg02.pdf (pg 53)