While diabetes can be primarily managed by modern treatments, such as medications and insulin injections, many people have found evidence in certain foods effectively lowering blood sugar levels. One such ingredient is the tantalizing, aromatic spice, cinnamon.
Cinnamon is basically the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree species, which is used as a flavoring spice in sweets and savory dishes across the world. While we can think of cinnamon rolls and cinnamon tea, the spice has been used as a traditional medicine for thousands of years now in Asian countries.
How Cinnamon Help Lower Blood Sugar Level?
Cinnamon is sold in different varieties, but they are most often categorized in two types, Ceylon and Cassia. While both are the same, Ceylon is the true form of cinnamon, which mainly contains different disease curing properties in greater amount. However, since it is expensive and scarcely available, Cassia can also be used as a great alternative.
Cinnamon is a Rich Source of Antioxidants
Cinnamon is a rich source of antioxidants. Although it is not considered a superfood because it lacks essential micronutrients, it contains massive amounts of antioxidants and rightly stands second after cloves.
Antioxidants generally protect our bodies from a variety of things. They have the potential to reduce the body’s oxidative stress by 14% in prediabetics, a damaging marker, which is caused by free radicals. Oxidative stress damages our healthy cells and is directly associated with the development of several diseases, including cancer and diabetes.
Cinnamon Acts like Insulin and Boosts Insulin Sensitivity
Diabetes occurs due to two reasons – When the pancreas stops producing enough insulin hormone or when the cells stop responding to insulin.
Cinnamon normalizes your blood sugar naturally by imitating insulin and boosting insulin sensitivity in cells. It can also keep your diabetes in control naturally by increasing glucose transference into your cells. One particular study in men with diabetes revealed that consuming cinnamon increased insulin sensitivity almost immediately and continued to do so for at least the subsequent 12 hours.
It Reduces Blood Sugar Level at Fasting
A study made on 543 individuals with diabetes revealed that consuming cinnamon regularly decreased blood sugar levels by an average of 24mg/dL. Several other studies made in the past also showed us that cinnamon is an effective ingredient in decreasing hemoglobin A1c apart from controlling glucose level. While the studies that investigated cinnamon’s effects on blood sugar level decrease were quite concrete, studies that investigated its influence on hemoglobin A1c produced conflicting results.
Cinnamon Effectively Lowers the Glucose Level after Meals
Your diet and size of the meal can significantly spike up your blood sugar level. For instance, sugar and carbs can dramatically increase sugar level after meals, while foods rich in protein and fiber only moderately change the level of sugar in the blood. Blood sugar fluctuation is not a good sign as it can increase the percentage of inflammation and oxidative stress, which can eventually damage your blood cells and increase your risk of developing several diseases, including that of the heart and kidney.
But, consuming cinnamon can effectively help you keep your blood sugar fluctuations under check after meals significantly. Research reports share that cinnamon is able to achieve this by slowing down the rate at which food gets out of your stomach. This means it has the potential to block the digestive enzymes that break down food in your small intestine.
With regards to theory, one particular study revealed that people when consumed 1.6 teaspoons of cinnamon along with their regular rice-pudding serving significantly slowed down their stomach emptying process, thus lowering sugar spike, in comparison to when they had rice-pudding without cinnamon powder.
Cinnamon Can Lower the Chances of Developing Diabetes-Based Health Conditions
All health care providers term diabetes as a slow poison because diabetes, especially when it is uncontrolled can slowly harm your vital organs. People with diabetes increase their chances of developing heart diseases, kidney diseases, nerve damage, and stroke by 50%. However, recent studies show that cinnamon may lower the development of these diabetic complications.
In few controlled studies, people with type 2 diabetes who were regularly taking cinnamon in their diets decreased their LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 9.4mg/dL and triglycerides up to 29.6 mg/dL. The studies further revealed that cinnamon consumption also effectively increased HDL (good) cholesterol level by an average of 1.7ml/dL.
Cinnamon’s effects do not stop with this. In fact, another study revealed that 2 gm of cinnamon supplements for 12 weeks considerably decreased both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in diabetic patients. More studies further expose that cinnamon can be used in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease in diabetic patients or otherwise.
Since Ceylon cinnamon contains more antioxidants, it can provide more health benefits in comparison to Cassia. However, almost all studies made are based on the effects of Cassia cinnamon.
That being said, you must also consume the spice in moderation because of the coumarin content in it, a substance that can cause liver damage.