Cinnamon is got from the Cinnamomum tree that is native to South East Asian countries, the Caribbean and South America. This spice is used both in cooking and for medicinal purposes to treat loss of appetite, diarrhea, bronchitis, vomiting, nausea, stomach and muscle cramps, various skin conditions and more. The two main types of cinnamon used are Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon. Cinnamon is a good source of iron and vitamin K. It is low in cholesterol, sodium and saturated fats and is an excellent source of manganese dietary fiber and calcium.
Cinnamon’s Effect on the Appetite
Cinnamon has different effects on the appetite and can be used to help with weight loss. This spice has been recommended in treating type-2 diabetes due to its ability to imitate the functions of insulin. Studies found that volunteers who consumed 3g cinnamon mixed with a rice pudding produced less insulin. Insulin is responsible for converting sugar to fat and this can prevent weight gain. Cinnamon also helps us to feel full for longer periods, this reduces our appetite and this is done by slowing the rate at which the small intestine absorbs carbohydrates and the rate at which the stomach gets emptied too.
Insulin sensitivity is also improved by consuming cinnamon according to a study conducted on rats. Cinnamon is also sometimes recommended for relieving indigestion and improving appetite. Cinnamon also contains hydroxychalcone which is said to increase appetite. Cinnamon is usually added to foods like shakes, beverages, rice pudding and fruits for its flavor and to regulate blood sugar levels.
Obesity carries with it many health problems including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease. A combination of cinnamon and honey mixed with warm water is said to prevent weight gain. Studies have also shown that cinnamon can also lower blood cholesterol and levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Apart from cinnamon and honey, other ways to get our daily dose of cinnamon is to sprinkle it over yoghurt, cereals, oatmeal, coffee, desserts etc. Having cinnamon immediately after a meal, improves its effectiveness in preventing weight gain. Cinnamon flavored cheese, pies (peach or apple), butter, juices and ciders are also available. Those who do not like the strong flavor of cinnamon can always opt for cinnamon supplements. 500mg cinnamon supplements split into 2 doses and taken after breakfast and dinner are the usually daily recommended dosage.
Cinnamon is usually safe when eaten combined with food and in medicinal doses. Larger doses taken over time could cause some sensitivity, allergic reactions, skin irritation and such. Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin which could affect those with a pre-existing liver condition. Those with diabetes and requiring surgery must also be careful when they use cassia cinnamon. Since there is not sufficient evidence on the use of cinnamon among pregnant and breastfeeding women, they are advised to take care when using it. Always check with your doctor before taking cinnamon supplements for it could interact with medications for the liver, anti-diabetes drugs and others.