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Nutrition Resources

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Cinnamon


Nutrient description/background:
  • When the brown bark of a cinnamon tree is dried, it rolls into a tubular form known as a quill;
  • Once considered more precious than gold;
  • One of the oldest spices known;
  • Excellent source of manganese, dietary fiber, iron and calcium;
  • Two varieties, Chinese and Ceylon;
  • Ceylon is slightly sweeter, more refined and more difficult to find in local markets.

Nutrient function:
  • Used to treat a variety of health problems, including respiratory problems, skin infections, blood impurity, menstruation problems and heart disorders;
  • Helps stop bleeding and facilitates the healing process;
  • Anti-inflammatory;
  • Used to make perfumes;
  • The oil is used as a mosquito repellant.

DRI/RDA:
  • Not Applicable

Food Sources:
  • Not Applicable

Indications/Health claims:
  • Helps manage diabetes;
  • Lowers cholesterol;
  • In high doses, cinnamon is believed to be toxic.

Evidence for or against claims:
  • A study of 60 people in Pakistan with type 2 diabetes found that one-fourth of a teaspoon, twice a day, significantly lowered subjects' blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol and total cholesterol;
  • A USDA study found that the beneficial effects of cinnamon lasted at least 20 days after people stopped taking the spice;
  • An active ingredient found in cinnamon gets inside cells where it activates the insulin receptor;
  • Cinnamon makes cells more sensitive to available insulin, which allows the cell to use energy from sugar;
  • A German study found that a water-based extract of cinnamon lowered blood sugar, but didn't affect LDL (bad cholesterol) or triglycerides;
  • Dutch research didn't find any change in LDL, blood sugar or triglyceride levels in older women with type 2 diabetes who took powdered cinnamon.