Desang diabetes magazine diabetes diet

FOOD

NEWS

A very Christmas-y spice, the smell

suffusing the air, there are many claims

made as to the efficacy of cinnamon,

especially that it reduces blood-sugar

levels in some people and that it's

therefore particularly good for people with

Type 2 diabetes, and that it also lowers

bad cholesterol. It is true that it can be

used as an alternative sweetener -- simply

sprinkle freshly grated cinnamon on your

fruit or cereal instead of sugar -- and so

can help with weight control.

Inside those endearing rolls of spice

are a collection of vital nutrients, including

calcium, manganese, iron and fibre. Not

only does it have an anti-clotting effect on

the blood, but cinnamon can stop some

medication-resistant yeast infections. It

inhibits bacterial growth (which is why

it is used in toothpaste) and has been

used in Asian medicines for digestive

ailments for centuries. Other reported

health benefits of cinnamon are that it

reduces pain in arthritis sufferers, relieves

indigestion, acts as an anti-inflammatory

and an anti-oxidant, impairs cancer cell

proliferation and boosts cognitive function

and memory.

Running up that hill

So it seems to be a bit of a superhero of the

spice world, but regarding the specifics of

how cinnamon can help diabetics manage

their blood sugar levels, how can this be

done? The long-standing position of the

American Diabetes Association remains

that, 'there is insufficient evidence to

demonstrate efficacy of individual herbs and

supplements in diabetes management."

CHRISTMAS

SPICE

SENSATION

Most studies have so far have used

cinnamon capsules or water-soluble

cinnamon extract, although some have

used raw cinnamon powder. Cinnamon

is the inner bark of the branch of a

cinnamon bush or tree. The unique taste

of cinnamon comes from its natural oils,

principally cinnamaldehyde, which is also

the component thought to affect blood

glucose levels. Processing cinnamon to

turn it into capsules and extracts causes

some of these oils to be lost. Even

the industrial grinding process to turn

cinnamon bark into powder causes some

of these oils to be lost. No wonder the

ADA has trouble looking for a standardized

product with consistent active ingredients

and that the results of the trials are

inconsistent.

A review led by Prof Robert Allen of

the Western University of Health Sciences

in California identified 10 randomized

controlled trials published to February

2012, which evaluated cinnamon versus

a control, in a total of 543 patients with

Type 2 diabetes. Published in September

2013 in the Annals of Family Medicine,

the review showed that taking cinnamon

supplements did improve fasting

blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

Specifically, the review found that after 4

to 18 weeks, the patients experienced a

mean drop in plasma glucose that was

less than the improvement reported with

Metformin therapy, but slightly more than

the improvement reported with sitagliptin.

The patients also had reductions in total

cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and

triglycerides, and an increase in HDL

(good) cholesterol. "I wouldn't recommend

cinnamon instead of medication," said

senior author Olivia Phung, PharmD,

who added, "small doses of a cinnamon

supplement could be used along with

traditional diabetes medication."

Christmas cookies

Rupert Beeley, who runs a website

dedicated to supplying fresh, quality

cinnaomon, says, "If you have Type 2

diabetes and are curious to experiment,

we suggest that you buy it fresh and grate

it yourself. Don't think of it as medication,

think of it as a condiment, like salt or

pepper. Experiment with the amount and

find a taste level that you enjoy. Fresh

cinnamon is a strong taste, so you won't

need much. Try it on oatmeal, yoghurt, any

fruit dishes, ice cream, hot chocolate. Mix

it into your ground coffee beans. Put it on

your toast. Add it to your smoothie. Make

a simple cinnamon and honey hot drink.

We even have one customer who likes to

put it on her hot-dog!"

www.cinnamonhill.com

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