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Future Health

Hidden Super Spice

July 20, 2016 

There are many emerging “superfoods” such as chia, goji, and acai but we’ve had a superfood in our spice rack this whole time: cinnamon. Cinnamon has many health benefits but it may be extra beneficial if you’re struggling disease such as diabetes. 
First, you must know that there are two main kinds of cinnamon: ceylon and cassia. Both are good for you but ceylon may be more benficial for you. Try to find ceylon cinnamon (the “pure” cinnamon; found on Amazon or at your local health food store) and pass on the cassia cinnamon (it’s not bad for you, it’s just not as beneficial). Ceylon cinnamon may be a little more expensive but it’s worth it and, to be clear, there are more types than these two varieties but these two are most common in our stores. Ceylon cinnamon gets its name from what is now known as Sri Lanka but what was then known as, you guessed it, ceylon. 
While cinnamon (particularly ceylon) may be able to aid in the battle against HIV, certain cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, it may also lend a hand in healthy blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Insulin is a hormone that allows our cells to absorb sugar and then process that sugar into energy. This means that people who suffer from type 1 diabetes have a malfunction in their pancreas that inhibits the production of insulin and therefore cannot properly process their food for energy. But there’s good news! Cinnamon can improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin which helps calls absorb sugar. 
There have been many studies looking at the links between the consumption of cinnamon and whether or not it lends assistance to your blood sugar levels. In 2003 researchers studied the effects of cinnamon on patients with type 2 diabetes (produces insulin but cannot absorb it) and found that, in fact, the cinnamon proved to be beneficial in reducing serum glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in test subjects. While there have been many successful studies like this, there have been a few that show no significant change in levels.
You can sprinkle cinnamon on almost any dessert but you can also mix it in your yogurt, toss it in lightly buttered popcorn, blend it with smoothies (goes great with banana and peanut butter), and use it in hot chocolate with a splash of vanilla for a Mexican hot chocolate. If you’re making any Indian/Asian inspired dish, cinnamon will almost certainly blend in well with the other flavors as it’s usually found in most commonly in Asia. Even if you don’t think it can help you, it still tastes delicious!