Cinnamon is a spice used for a wide range of dishes, from regular meals to desserts. But how can cinnamon help in weight loss?
Cinnamon is derived the inner bark of many tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. For years, it has been used as an aromatic condiment or a flavoring. However, more recently it has gained immense popularity for its many health benefits, including weight loss.
Cinnamon sticks - Image Credit: Jiri Hera / Shutterstock
What is Cinnamon?
For thousands of years, this spice has been used in cooking and baking. It has been used as an ingredient across many countries, dating back as far as Ancient Egypt.
There are two main types of cinnamon in use today – Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. The Ceylon cinnamon is also called the “true” cinnamon. On the other hand, the Cassia cinnamon is the more common one widely used today.
Why is cinnamon good for the body?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a teaspoon of ground cinnamon (2.6 grams) contains about 2.1 grams of carbohydrates, 26 mg of calcium, 2 mg of magnesium, 2 mg of phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin K.
Cinnamon has been used medicinally around the world. It’s used daily in many cultures, because of its widespread benefits. In fact, it’s one of the most popular herbs and spices in terms of its antioxidant levels.
Antioxidants prevent oxidative stress from free radicals. Oxidative stress has been linked to many harmful effects on the body, including DNA damage and metabolic conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol levels, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and obesity. Other conditions that may involve oxidative stress include cancer, high blood pressure, inflammatory conditions, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Oxidative stress may also accelerate aging.
Cinnamon can be linked to various health benefits due to the presence of many compounds in it, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamate and cinnamic acid. These compounds give cinnamon its anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cinnamon also reduces the risk of cancer, heart attacks, atherosclerosis, inflammatory disease, and may promote weight loss, among other benefits. It can also prevent high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, and promotes wound healing. In addition, cinnamon has also been used for various skin conditions.
How does cinnamon promote weight loss?
Cinnamon acts in multiple ways to keep weight off. For one thing, it is a well-known anti-diabetic spice. It can help lower and maintain blood sugar levels. Also, it helps improve cell sensitivity to the action of the hormone insulin, which transports glucose from the blood into the cell to be used as energy.
Cinnamon can also aid in blocking the activity of many digestive enzymes, thus slowing the absorption of sugar from the blood after eating a high-carbohydrate meal. Aside from diabetes, cinnamon has shown promise in promoting weight loss.
Cinnamon is high in fiber. The spice can therefore help reduce food cravings by promoting a feeling of satiety and fullness. Cinnamon can boost metabolism, since the body uses more energy to process the spice than it does for other foods.
Cinnamon may have an insulin-like action in the body, which is seen in the way sugar is broken down in the body. Cinnamon can also improve body metabolism, targeting the fat deposited in the abdominal area.
Cinnamon can help weight loss in many ways. For instance, research says that cinnamon supplementation can result in a significant improvement in all components of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic comprises multiple conditions existing simultaneously, like insulin resistance, high blood pressure, increased coagulation risk and abnormal cholesterol levels. Many of these individuals are also obese or overweight.
In another recent study, the researchers found that when mice were high-fat foods with cinnamon, they had lower weight and less belly fat than controls who weren’t given cinnamon. It all boils down to cinnamaldehyde, the essential oils that give cinnamon its flavor. This leads to reduced food consumption and prevents weight gain. However, the experiment hasn’t been tried on humans, so the scientists aren’t sure if the same effect will be seen in humans.