Cinnamon is a household spice that is often used for homemade baking and cooking. It provides a warming taste to several comfort foods and is commonly used in food industry products. But did you know that cinnamon is one of the most studied spices and herbs?
In recent years, cinnamon has been linked to protective effects with blood sugar stabilization and diabetes. It has also been shown to have high antioxidant activity that helps to inhibit cell damage in chronic diseases, including cancer. Emerging research also shows its impact on weight loss. A study looking at a compound within cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde showed that it stimulated fat burning energy in both mice and humans, a process also known as thermogenesis. The proposed mechanism is that the fat cells themselves are stimulated by the component of cinnamaldehyde. This suggests that cinnamon can have anti-obesity effects and could be incorporated into strategies to reduce obesity.
But how much do you need to enjoy health benefits? Registered dietitians suggest only one half to three teaspoons are needed to show positive effects on health. This small amount could easily be added to your oatmeal, in your coffee, on sliced fruit or in your bowl of grains for dinner. While studies can provide insight into the foods and compounds to add to your diet for protective effects on health, it is important to remember the big picture when it comes to combating obesity. There is no one food that will fight the epidemic. Individuals should consume an overall healthy diet and monitor other lifestyle factors such as exercise, sleep, stress and social support.
Written by Jillian Allen, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern. Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.
1. Metabolism – Clinical and Experimental
Looking for ways to add cinnamon to your diet? Here is a recipe to get started.
Cinnamon Sweet Potato Bread Recipe