When it comes to weight loss, many people focus solely on diet and exercise while overlooking the potential benefits of natural ingredients. One such ingredient is cinnamon, a fragrant spice derived from the bark of Cinnamomum trees. Apart from being a versatile ingredient in the culinary world, cinnamon has gained attention for its potential role in weight management. But does it really help in weight loss, let’s find out.
What is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a spice derived from the inner bark of trees belonging to the Cinnamomum genus. The cinnamon spice is made by cutting the inner bark of the cinnamon tree and then drying it. As the bark dries, it curls up into rolls, commonly called cinnamon sticks or quills. These sticks can be ground into fine powder or used in their whole form for various culinary and medicinal purposes.
Types of Cinnamon
There are several different species of cinnamon, but the most commonly used varieties are Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) and Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia)
|It is also known as True Cinnamon or Sri Lankan Cinnamon, primarily grown in Sri Lanka and parts of India, and is considered to be of higher quality and more expensive than Cassia Cinnamon.
|It is grown in various countries. It is the most commonly available and less expensive than Ceylon Cinnamon.
|The sticks of Ceylon cinnamon are thin and delicate and light tan to light brown in color. They are often rolled in multiple layers and have a soft texture that can easily crumble.
|Cassia Cinnamon sticks are thicker and harder compared to Ceylon cinnamon. They have a reddish-brown color and rough texture. The sticks are rigid and difficult to grind.
|It has a subtle, sweet, and citrusy taste and is preferred for desserts and beverages.
|On the other hand, Cassia cinnamon has a stronger and bolder flavor with a slightly spicy and pungent taste.
|It has lower levels of coumarin, a naturally occurring compound that can be harmful in large quantities. Ceylon Cinnamon contains a trace quantity of coumarin, making it a safer option for regular use.
|Cassia Cinnamon has higher levels of coumarin and excessive consumption of which over an extended period can lead to liver damage.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon for weight loss
- Boosts Metabolism: Metabolism plays a crucial role in weight management. Cinnamon has been shown to enhance metabolic function by increasing the metabolism of glucose in the body. This means that consuming cinnamon may help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent insulin spikes, which can contribute to weight loss. By improving metabolic efficiency, cinnamon can aid in the conversion of food into energy, rather than storing it as fat.
- Regulates Blood Sugar Levels: Stabilizing blood sugar levels is vital for maintaining a healthy weight. Cinnamon has been found to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes or those at risk of developing it. By promoting better blood sugar control, cinnamon helps prevent overeating and reduces cravings for sugary foods, leading to healthier food choices and potential weight loss.
- Suppresses Appetite: Cinnamon has been associated with appetite suppression due to its impact on blood sugar levels and digestion. It slows down the emptying of the stomach, which can help you feel fuller for longer and reduce the likelihood of overeating or snacking between meals. Incorporating cinnamon into your meals or beverages can provide a satisfying flavour while potentially curbing your appetite, making it easier to stick to a calorie-controlled diet.
- Enhances Digestion: Efficient digestion is essential for weight management. Cinnamon has been used for centuries to aid in digestion by reducing bloating, soothing the stomach, and improving nutrient absorption. By promoting a healthy digestive system, cinnamon can help optimize the absorption of nutrients from the foods you consume and support overall metabolic function.
- Provides a Flavourful Alternative: One of the challenges of maintaining a healthy diet is finding flavoursome substitutes for sugary or high-calorie foods. Cinnamon can be an excellent option to enhance the taste of your meals or beverages without resorting to added sugars or unhealthy additives. Sprinkling cinnamon onto oatmeal, yogurt, or fruit can add a delightful, aromatic touch that satisfies your taste buds and reduces the need for sweeteners.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Cinnamon contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to various health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Benefits of Cinnamon For PCOS
- Blood sugar regulation: Cinnamon may help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels. It can potentially enhance insulin action and glucose metabolism, which is beneficial for managing conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and diabetes.
- Menstrual cycle support: Some studies suggest that cinnamon may help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) such as cramps and mood swings. However, more research is needed in this area.
Cinnamon Water for weight loss
Cinnamon tea is a flavourful and aromatic beverage made by steeping cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon in hot water. It’s a popular herbal tea that offers a warm and comforting taste. This tea can also work wonders for ladies suffering from PCOS.
Apple Cinnamon Smoothie for Weight Loss
An apple cinnamon smoothie can be a delicious and nutritious addition to a weight loss diet. This apple cinnamon smoothie offers a combination of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, which can help you feel fuller for long. The fibre in the apple and the protein from Greek yogurt and almond butter can promote a feeling of fullness, potentially reducing the tendency to snack on unhealthy foods.
Here’s a simple recipe for an apple cinnamon smoothie that you can try:
- Medium-sized apple, chopped – 1
- Unsweetened almond milk or any milk of your choice – ½ c
- Plain Greek yogurt – ½ c
- Almond butter or peanut butter (optional) – 1 tbsp
- Ground cinnamon – ½ tsp
- Honey or a natural sweetener (optional) – ½ tsp
- Ice cubes (optional)
How to make Apple Cinnamon Smoothie
- Place all the ingredients in a blender.
- Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.
- If desired, add a few ice cubes to make the smoothie colder and thicker.
- Taste the smoothie and adjust the sweetness or cinnamon level according to your preference.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Poached Apple Granola
This one is a great energy booster and a little twist to your regular apple snack. It is also an amazing source of fiber and healthy fats.
- Apple – 1
- Lemon Juice – 1
- Honey – 1 Tbsp
- Cinnamon – ½ tsp
How to make Poached Apple Granola
- Peel and slice apples.
- To this add salt, and coat well.
- Now to a pan add peanut butter, apple slices, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger powder.
- Cover and cook for 2 minutes
- Remove the lid and add honey and lemon juice.
- Top it up with granola
Side Effects of Cinnamon
- Liver Damage: Cinnamon contains coumarin which if consumed in excess causes liver damage. There is a tolerable daily intake of coumarin which is 5 mg per day. Also, regular cinnamon contains more coumarin as compared to true cinnamon.
- Allergies: Cinnamon might cause allergies or mouth sores because of the presence of cinnamaldehyde when consumed in excess.
- Low Blood Sugar: Too much cinnamon can cause the blood sugar to fall leading to the condition called hypoglycemia
It’s important to note that while cinnamon has potential health benefits, it should be used as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or adding new supplements, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or take medications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is cinnamon good for high blood pressure?
Yes, studies have shown that taking cinnamon for 12 weeks reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Is cinnamon good for PCOS?
Yes, cinnamon helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and reduces the symptoms of PMS.
Is cinnamon good for Blood Sugar?
Cinnamon lowers blood sugar. Use it wisely as too much can lead to a condition called hypoglycemia.
Is cinnamon good for weight loss?
Consuming cinnamon tea empty stomach boosts the metabolism.
Which Cinnamon is of good quality?
Ceylon Cinnamon, also known as Sri Lankan Cinnamon is a true cinnamon.