Surprising Effects of Eating Cinnamon, Say Dietitians
We know there isn't a magical pill to perfect health—it's a combination of our eating habits, drinking habits, exercise habits, sleep, and even stress levels that make all the difference. However, sometimes the smallest little changes in our diet can make a huge difference when it comes to our overall health—even as simple as sprinkling in some cinnamon.
Eating cinnamon has been advertised as a powerhouse ingredient for health—and the science does back up these claims. One review in Pharmacognosy Research researched different studies on cinnamon and found it to be beneficial due to its "s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antilipemic, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, and anticancer" effects.
So what exactly does this mean for our health? We asked a few of the registered dietitians from our medical expert board to share the specific ways eating cinnamon can positively impact your body's health. Here's what they had to say, and for even more healthy tips, here's The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day.
Cinnamon reduces inflammation.
"Cinnamon contains antioxidants like polyphenols," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook. "Antioxidants help buffer free radicals (aka bad guys that cause cellular damage in the body) and by default, can help reduce inflammation."
Reducing inflammation in your body has also been proven to assist with maintaining body composition, with helps warding off certain weight-related diseases.
"Cinnamon [has] been shown to reduce body weight and belly fat, helping to prevent obesity," say Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, also known as The Nutrition Twins. "Research shows it improves insulin resistance, improves A1C (a measure of long-term blood sugar control), decreases triglycerides, and even has improved the regularity of menstrual cycles. Plus, it's packed with antioxidants that help to prevent cell damage."
Cinnamon can lower your risk of disease.
Because of the polyphenols in cinnamon, Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and The Portion Teller Plan, says these "potent antioxidants contain anti-inflammatory properties [that] can help prevent chronic diseases"
"Cinnamon may help lower blood sugar and reduce insulin sensitivity making it the perfect spice for people with type 2 diabetes," says Young. "It also may help prevent heart disease by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels."
Cinnamon lowers your blood sugar.
"It has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream after a meal by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in your digestive tract," says Goodson. "It can also act on cells by mimicking insulin, which helps improve glucose uptake by your cells. However, it acts much slower than insulin itself."
Cinnamon is calorie-free.
"Naturally sweet cinnamon saves calories and prevents blood sugar swings and energy highs and lows that result from eating too much sugar," say The Nutrition Twins. "It's the perfect calorie-free, sugar replacement because it adds sweetness without creating the inflammation that sugar does that is linked to making weight loss more difficult and weight gain easier."
Clever ways to eat cinnamon
In order to reap the powerful benefits of cinnamon, it's important to find other ways to sprinkle it into your food—not just into your morning cup of java.
"In order to reap the benefits of cinnamon, you likely have to do more than sprinkle it in your coffee," says Goodson. "It's important to note that the effective dose is 1 to 6 grams or around 1/2 to 2 teaspoons per day, which is a lot of cinnamon."
Not sure where to start? The Nutrition Twins list out quite a few recommendations.
"Replace sugar with cinnamon in pancakes, French toast, smoothies, coffee, muffins, cereal, oatmeal, on grains, yogurt, milk, hot chocolate, tea, toast, fruit, and more," say The Nutrition Twins. They even recommend baking into their Cinnamon Belly-Fat Burning Oatmeal.