Cinnamon is a magical spice for diabetes management! Here’s why and how to use it

Using cinnamon for diabetes can be effective as it lowers blood sugar levels, fasting and after meals, and increases insulin sensitivity.
Some cinnamon sticks tied with a thread
Cinnamon is good when it comes to diabetes as it helps to keep sugar levels in check. Image courtesy: Freepik
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 22 Jun 2024, 08:59 am IST
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Cinnamon is a sweet but pungent spice that is derived from the inner bark of the branches of wild cinnamon trees. Not only does this spice enhance the flavour of foods and drinks, but it also comes with a host of health benefits. The use of cinnamon for diabetes management has been found to be worth it! It may help to improve blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels in people with Type 2 Diabetes.

Besides the use of cinnamon for diabetes, the spice also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties that help our body in a variety of ways. It is also used to aid weight loss, and treat obesity. Let us look at the benefits of cinnamon for diabetes patients.

What is cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a spice that is made from the bark of the Cinnamomum trees. It is used to spruce up flavours in a particular dish, as well as a traditional medicine. It is available in a powder form or as sticks, as well as supplements such as capsules, tea and other forms of extracts. A study published in Pharmacognosy Research states that cinnamon used to be used in 2800 BC as an anointment for embalming and treating other ailments. Recently, people have started using cinnamon for diabetes as well as Parkinsons. There are four types of cinnamon: True cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon or Mexican cinnamon, Indonesian cinnamon, Vietnamese cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon.

Cinnamon for diabetes: How does it help?

Wondering is cinnamon good for diabetes? Using cinnamon for diabetes type 2 is a good idea as it can help the condition in several ways.

1. May increase insulin sensitivity

One of the biggest benefits of using cinnamon for diabetes is that it increases insulin sensitivity levels. It makes the insulin in your body work better, making it more efficient in getting sugar to the cells of your body, states a study published in the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences. It adds that Metabolic syndrome (MetS), a condition that leads to insulin resistance, and cinnamon can help manage its complications as well as reduce mortality due to this. Another study published in Phytotherapy Research, evaluated the effect of cinnamon powder on PCOS patients. It was seen that 1.5g of cinnamon, twice a day, for three months, led to a reduction in fasting insulin levels and increased insulin sensitivity.

2. May decrease blood sugar levels after eating

Cinnamon may lead to lower blood sugar levels after eating as well. Our blood sugar levels can shoot up after a meal, and cinnamon may help to keep this in check. It slows down the pace at which the food, you consume, gets digested, states this study, published in Frontiers in Nutrition. Another study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition observed that consuming 6g of cinnamon with rice pudding, led to decreased spikes in blood sugar as compared to eating only the pudding.

Some cinnamon sticks in a bowl
Cinnamon helps to lower fasting blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Image courtesy: Freepik

3. May lower fasting blood sugar

Another plus point of using cinnamon for diabetes is that it helps to lower fasting blood sugar. A study published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, evaluated 16 studies and concluded that the consumption of cinnamon decreases fasting blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, as well as pre-diabetic patients. Another study published in Clinical Nutrition, observed that fasting blood glucose reduced from 12.9 to 52.2 mg/dL with the help of cinnamon. Additionally, haemoglobin A1c, a blood test that indicates your blood sugar levels in the last three months, was also reduced from 0.27 to 0.83 percent.

4. May decrease risk of complications

Heart disease and stroke are some of the complications that diabetes can cause. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology suggests that cinnamon helps with cholesterol management. It reduces blood triglycerides and total cholesterol concentrations – both of which can lead to heart disease. It can help to lower blood pressure as well. A study published in Clinical Nutrition observed how 2g of cinnamon per day, for two months, decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Other benefits of cinnamon

Besides using cinnamon for diabetes, the spice has many other health benefits also. It can improve digestion, and treat a host of respiratory infections as well. It can also help with arthritis as well as treat headaches. Click here to read the other benefits of cinnamon.

How to include cinnamon in your diet?

There are various ways that cinnamon can be included in your diet. You can infuse it in water and consume it. You can even prepare cinnamon tea by brewing the spice in water and adding other ingredients such as lemon and honey. Cinnamon can be added to black tea, or tea with milk as well.

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If you want to use cinnamon sticks for diabetes, these can be added to any dish such as rice or other curries to enhance taste. It can also be sprinkled over desserts such as pancakes, mousse as well as puddings. However, diabetic patients must refrain from desserts!

Cinnamon sticks with some black tea
Cinnamon tea can be made by brewing and adding ginger and lemon. Image courtesy: Pexels

Dosage for using cinnamon for diabetes

Cinnamon is great in lowering blood sugar levels, However, one must know the exact amount to consume, to not reach dangerous levels. According to a study published in Clinical Nutrition, 1-6g cinnamon per day is enough. This can be in the form of supplements or power/sticks added to food. However, it is important to consult your doctor while deciding the dosage for cinnamon if you are diabetic.

Side effects of using cinnamon for diabetes

Cinnamon has a potentially harmful substance called coumarin, and this can be toxic for the liver, states this Foods study. It may cause liver damage. The European Food Safety Authority states that only 0.045 mg per pound (lb.), or 0.1 mg per kilogram (kg) of coumarin should be consumed per day. Half a teaspoon of Cassia cinnamon has this amount of coumarin. However, Ceylon cinnamon contains lower amounts of coumarin. Additionally, pregnant or lactating women must avoid cinnamon as well.

Where using cinnamon for diabetes is concerned, overuse might lead to low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.

Summary

Using cinnamon for diabetes might be a great idea as it may help in lowering fasting blood sugar as well as blood sugar levels after meals. It also helps to improve insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon has a host of other health benefits as well such as promoting health health, treating digestive ailments as respiratory illnesses. However, it is important to consult your doctor if you plan on using cinnamon as a cure for diabetes. Overuse can lead to low blood sugar levels.

 

 

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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