If there is one spice that reminds me of winter, it is cinnamon. The pungent, brown herb is a staple in cold-weather recipes, flavoring everything from lattes to oatmeal to cooked carrots. It mixes with nutmeg, sugar, ginger or all three in baked goods and seasons meat with a taste few spices can mirror. It is the scent of warmth and, conveniently, the herb of health.
Cinnamon has been prized for centuries for its medicinal benefits. The Ancient Egyptians relied on it so much that they treated it as a commodity more precious than gold. Today we are aware that its goodness stems from its manganese, fiber, iron and calcium, as well as its antioxidants and essential oils. The components that make up this vital spice help maintain cardiovascular health, improve cognitive function and, for type 2 diabetics, regulate blood sugar. Studies have found that even a small amount of daily cinnamon can reduce blood sugar levels by 10 percent. And as an added bonus, that same dose will lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reducing the dangers of diabetes. It is undoubtedly a spice to love.
If you’re looking for ways to boost your cinnamon intake, you have several options. As usual, cinnamon extract is available. All of the type-2-diabetes studies involved regular extract ingestion rather than fresh-cinnamon consumption, so you know that that method is beneficial. But if you go that route, know that you will be missing out on some flavorful meals. A dash of cinnamon in your soy milk, yogurt, or peanut butter, or on your banana, grape fruit or pork can turn a regular dish into a cinful experience. Try it once and you’ll never look back.