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for Life - Caribbean - Cinnamon
Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine.
It is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree, which is available
in its dried tubular form known as a quill or as ground
powder. The two varieties of cinnamon, Chinese and Ceylon,
have similar flavor, however the cinnamon from Ceylon is
slightly sweeter, more refined and more difficult to find
in local markets.
Cinnamon's unique healing abilities come from three basic types
of components in the essential oils found in its bark. These oils
contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate,
and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances.
Cinnamaldehyde (also called cinnamic aldehyde) has been well-researched
for its effects on blood platelets. Platelets are constituents of
blood that are meant to clump together under emergency circumstances
(like physical injury) as a way to stop bleeding, but under normal
circumstances, they can make blood flow inadequate if they clump
together too much. The cinnaldehyde in cinnamon helps prevent unwanted
clumping of blood platelets. Cinnamon's ability to lower the release
of arachidonic acid from cell membranes also puts it in the category
of an "anti-inflammatory" food that can be helpful in
Cinnamon's essential oils also qualify it as an "anti-microbial"
food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop
the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly
problematic yeast Candida. In laboratory tests, growth of yeasts
that were resistant to the commonly used anti-fungal medication
fluconazole was often (though not always) stopped by cinnamon extracts.
Blood Sugar Control
Seasoning a high carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact
on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon slows the rate at which the
stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after
eating. Researchers measured how quickly the stomach emptied after
14 healthy subjects ate 300 grams (1.2 cups) of rice pudding alone
or seasoned with 6 grams (1.2 teaspoons) of cinnamon. Adding cinnamon
to the rice pudding lowered the gastric emptying rate from 37% to
34.5% and significantly lessened the rise in blood sugar levels
after eating. Am J Clin Nutr. 2 007 Jun;85(6):1552-6.
Cinnamon may also significantly help people with type 2 diabetes
improve their ability to respond to insulin, thus normalizing their
blood sugar levels.
By enhancing insulin signaling, cinnamon can prevent insulin resistance
even in animals fed a high-fructose diet! A study published in Hormone
Metabolism Research showed that when rats fed a high-fructose diet
were also given cinnamon extract, their ability to respond to and
utilize glucose (blood sugar) was improved so much that it was the
same as that of rats on a normal (control) diet.
Cinnamon is so powerful an antioxidant that, when compared to six
other antioxidant spices (anise, ginger, licorice, mint, nutmeg
and vanilla) and the chemical food preservatives (BHA (butylated
hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and propyl gallate),
cinnamon prevented oxidation more effectively than all the other
spices (except mint) and the chemical antioxidants.
Cinnamon's Scent Boosts Brain Function
Not only does consuming cinnamon improve the body's ability to utilize
blood sugar, but just smelling the wonderful odor of this sweet
spice boosts brain activity!
Calcium and Fiber Improve Colon Health and Protect Against
In addition to its unique essential oils, cinnamon is an excellent
source of fiber and the trace mineral manganese while also a very
good source of calcium. The combination of calcium and fiber in
cinnamon is important and can be helpful for the prevention of several
Information sourced from www.whfoods.com