Image source – Shutterstock Cinnamon is one of the most prized spices in the world. Commonly used as a flavoring agent in different cuisines,
Image source – Shutterstock
Cinnamon is one of the most prized spices in the world. Commonly used as a flavoring agent in different cuisines, the appetizing oriental smell of cinnamon can attract the foodies from all corners of the world. Did you know this amazing spice not only provides warmth and relief in cold wintery days, but can also assist in weight loss?
This delightfully exotic spice is obtained from the outer bark of the cinnamon tree. The tree is native to India and Sri Lanka, but is grown in many tropical countries as a spice and medicine. Cinnamon is also used in Asia and America to treat various ailments like stomach upset, respiratory problems and diarrhea.
Cinnamon is commonly available in stick, oil, powder and extract form. Just 2 teaspoons of cinnamon offers 2.5 grams of fiber. It contains minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus and manganese.
Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||1.24 g||4.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||53.1 g||133%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.358 mg||7%|
|Vitamin A||295 IU||10%|
|Vitamin C||3.8 mg||6%|
|Vitamin E||10.44 mg||70%|
|Vitamin K||31.2 µg||26%|
Different Types of Cinnamon:
There are more than a hundred varieties of cinnamon, but only 4 are used for commercial purposes. The four major types of cinnamon are:
- Cassia cinnamon
- Saigon cinnamon
- Ceylon cinnamon
- Indonesian cinnamon
Among these the ceylon cinnamon is referred to as “true cinnamon”, while cassia cinnamon is called “Chinese cinnamon”. Although the plants are related, they differ in their coumarin content.
1. Cassia cinnamon:
Cassia cinnamon belongs to China. Cassia contains high levels of coumarin, which can cause liver failure if consumed in high quantities. Cassia cinnamon is darker in color and is hard, hollow and has only one rolled layer. Cassia cinnamon has a very strong taste, which can be too overpowering for some.
2. Ceylon cinnamon:
Ceylon cinnamon belongs to a tiny island of Sri Lanka. It is lighter in color and is soft and brittle with extremely low coumarin level. Ceylon cinnamon has a soft and subtle taste and blends well to create complex flavors.
3. Saigon cinnamon:
Saigon cinnamon has gained popularity because it is more potent than other cinnamon varieties. This cinnamon is sweet, spicy and strong at the same. Saigon cinnamon is slightly expensive than other cinnamon and also has the highest levels of coumarin.
4. Indonesian cinnamon:
Indonesian cinnamon is the cheapest of all the varieties. It is extremely spicy and has a strong scent. Indonesian cinnamon also contains high levels of coumarin.
Organic cinnamon is extremely healthy and beneficial. Certified organic cinnamon has no added toxins like pesticides and herbicides that are usually added during harvesting and processing.
Cinnamon for Weight Loss:
Weight management is much easier if the insulin and blood sugar levels are stable. It can be even more effective if the digestive system is working well. This way you will feel more energized throughout the day. Studies have shown that including a scoop of cinnamon in your daily diet can help you lose weight. The benefits of cinnamon for weight loss include:
1. Insulin levels:
A considerable lab research has shown that cinnamon can have a regulatory effect on the blood sugar levels. It contains certain compounds that reduces insulin spikes and helps the body to use insulin more effectively. It slows down the glucose absorption from the intestines and stimulates insulin production, while increasing its sensitivity. This prevents the increased storage of fat, enabling you to lose weight. Cinnamon also influences the way in which sugar is metabolized by the body, preventing the transformation of sugar into fat.
Incorporating a teaspoon of cinnamon in your diet will reduce the appetite, helping dissolve the layers of fat in the abdomen. Cinnamon delays the passing of food from the stomach to the intestine, keeping you satiated for longer time. Thus prevents overeating.
Cinnamon helps the body to process carbohydrates more efficiently, assisting you to lose weight. According to the studies, abdominal fat is more sensitive to the effects of cinnamon than other parts of the body. Thus, regular consumption of cinnamon can help you get a slim tummy.
4. Digestive Benefits:
A healthy digestive system is prerequisite for weight management. Regular consumption of cinnamon encourages the digestive system to function in a proper way. It soothes and calms the stomach and intestines, improving the colon function by reducing gas and relieving the flatulence. It also helps to relieve diarrhea, nausea and constipation. This helps to flush out the accumulated toxins from the body, aiding in weight loss.
Cinnamon does not only aid in getting rid of fat, it can also help to minimize the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite appears due to the increased levels of cholesterol in the blood. This leads to the skin imperfection, which is especially noticeable in areas with excess fat.
Cinnamon diet is the latest diet that can help you lose weight. According to the British University, cinnamon could be the new miracle pill for weight loss, especially for fat in the abdomen. A British study showed that people who took cinnamon pills lost 500% more weight than people who took placebos. The article published in the “The Woman’s World” suggests following the cinnamon diet for five days.
Recommended Amount of Cinnamon in the Diet:
The cinnamon diet plan includes 500 milligrams of cinnamon at breakfast, 1000 milligrams at lunch and 500 milligram at dinner.
You can add this spice to apple, apple sauce, sweet potato and hot chocolate while following this diet. You can also add cinnamon powder to the protein shake. Unlike the other fad diets, cinnamon diet is healthy and can be a part of your lifestyle forever.
Honey and Cinnamon for Weight Loss:
According to several studies, a mixture of cinnamon powder and honey can stop the body from accumulating fat. Honey is an excellent food for weight loss. Since it has unrefined sugar, the minerals, vitamins and nutrients remain intact. Honey helps to speed up the metabolism, leading to successful weight loss. It also has a lower glycemic index (GI) than sugar, therefore it does not cause sugar rush. It gets gradually absorbed in the body. Cinnamon and honey clean the parasite, bacteria and fungus in the digestive tract, preventing stomach related problems.
The recipe for this miraculous weight loss is very simple. The tea will be done in minutes. You can also store it in the refrigerator for future use. Honey and cinnamon for weight loss is ideal as a short-term measure only, not for long-term cure.
Cinnamon Tea Recipe:
- Take 1 tablespoon of cinnamon in a bowl and pour 1 liter of boiling water to it.
- Let it steep for 30 minutes and then add 2 tablespoons of honey to it.
- Do not add honey to hot water as it can destroy the enzymes present in it.
For best results, sip a cup of cinnamon tea twice a day- early morning and before going to bed. Do not reheat the concoction as it can destroy the nutrients present in the honey. Try different flavors of cinnamon to make the drink more palatable. This regime may help the dieter to lose 3 to 5 pounds within one week without making any changes to the usual diet. However, the results may vary according to the amount of cinnamon used.
Benefits of Cinnamon Beside Weight Loss:
Some of the other benefits of cinnamon for general well being, besides weight loss are:
Cinnamon contains polyphenol polymers that allow the cell to accept insulin. This chemical is responsible for taking glucose to the blood stream. In a study conducted by the Beltsville Human Research Center, 30 diabetic patients were given 1/4th teaspoon of cinnamon for a period of 40 days. The result showed a decrease of 30% in their blood sugar level.
2. Mood swings:
Cinnamon is used as a sedative to cure nervousness and mood swings. The mere fragrance of cinnamon stick can work wonders to improve the mood. The smell can also boost the cognitive function and memory. It is also a natural cure for headache and migraine.
This miracle spice has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It helps to prevent the spread of cancer cells and the formation of stomach ulcer.
Apart from all the above mentioned benefits cinnamon may also help to improve the signs of metabolic syndrome. It reduces the triglycerides, cholesterol and LDL levels in the blood.
How to Use Cinnamon for Weight Loss:
Cinnamon is a healthy spice that can be added to your diet in a variety of creative ways. It can be used in savory stews, casseroles, sweet desserts, hot drinks. Whole sticks can be added in soups and stews to make them more aromatic and tasty. Some of the ways in which we can add cinnamon to our diet are:
1. For Breakfast:
If you are trying to lose weight, then cinnamon tea may be a positive addition to your breakfast. Regular intake can help to manage weight by enhancing digestion and stabilizing the blood sugar levels. Add cinnamon to your herbal tea to initiate the weight loss process. As little as 3 grams per day is enough to lose weight. You can reheat cinnamon tea as long as you have not added honey to it.
You can also add a teaspoon of cinnamon to your breakfast cereal and oatmeal. Alternatively, you can just sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on your toast, pie or sandwich.
2. Snacking with Cinnamon:
Cinnamon combined with ginger can also help you with weight loss. Both ginger and honey are well-known fat burning foods. Both the ingredients destroy the toxins and adipose fat tissue, giving you a leaner body. You do not have to eat ginger and cinnamon in the raw form alone to obtain their benefits. You can incorporate them into any of your dishes to obtain the benefits associated with weight loss.
3. Serving and Usage:
Cinnamon is best ingested in the water-soluble form. A little bit of cinnamon, like 1 gram per day or 1/4th teaspoon of powder can go a long way. Taking high amounts of cinnamon does not add any benefit.
Cinnamon supplements in the form of pills and powders can also help you reach your weight loss goal. The supplement is reasonable in price and is made from good quality and freshly ground cinnamon. You can buy either 100% ground cinnamon powder or a mixture of cinnamon and ginger powder. Cinnamon pills are available in different flavors, the most common being cinnamon and honey. These are all organic products and are easily available in the nearest grocery stores.
Side Effects of Cinnamon for Weight Loss:
Cinnamon is a non-toxic spice and is completely safe to consume. However, there are some safety measures that you need to follow while taking cinnamon.
- Lactating mothers should not consume cinnamon in high quantities as the flavor can pass through the breast milk, which might not please the baby.
- Cinnamon for weight loss is not recommended during pregnancy, but you can mix it with other dishes.
- Cinnamon is a warming spice and should not be consumed when suffering from fever.
- Cinnamon can raise the blood pressure if consumed in high quantities. Consult your doctor before taking cinnamon, especially if you have a history of cardiac issues.
- People who are allergic to herbs should avoid consuming cinnamon.
- People suffering from ulcer should not take cinnamon tea. It can also irritate mucous membranes in some people.
- Cinnamon oil is highly toxic and is not recommended for consumption.
- Eating this spice on an empty stomach can lead to nausea and vomiting.
- Cassia cinnamon contains high levels of coumarins, a naturally occurring ingredient that can be harmful for some people.
According to a research at the University of Texas, cinnamon in large doses can increase the effects of drugs like streptozotocin, a medicine used to treat diabetes mellitus. Do not combine large doses of cinnamon with diabetes medication without consulting your doctor.
Remember, cinnamon alone cannot help you lose weight. For long term benefits, you need to eat a low fat, nutritious diet along with regular exercise. Limit the consumption of junk and high fatty food in your diet. Additionally, workout that includes cardio and strength training should be made part of your exercise regime.