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Spice Up Your Smoothies with Cinnamon Nutrition

Sunday, January 24, 2010 by: DaNae Johnson, M.H.
Tags: cinnamon, smoothies, health news

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(NewsTarget) Cinnamon nutrition has become very popular as a supplement in the USA. It is inexpensive, safe, and with proven health benefits. Most people who use cinnamon take cinnamon capsules. A more effective way to enjoy the health benefits of cinnamon nutrition, however, is to add the right kind of cinnamon to your smoothies or to drink as a tea.

What Kind of Cinnamon is Best?

If you have ever looked at different kinds of cinnamon available in bulk, you have probably noticed that one kind of cinnamon is a dark brown, while the other is more of a tan. The two kinds of cinnamon are actually from different plants. Cinnamomum cassia, used in curry powder and in Chinese and Korean dishes, is dark brown. The other variety of cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, is a lighter brown or tan.

The kind of cinnamon that has been studied in clinical trials is the dark brown cinnamon Cinnamomum cassia. Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Unani medicine have used the darker form of cinnamon as a remedy for diabetes and digestive complaints for centuries. It is the herb used in a series of now-famous studies conducted in Pakistan and monitored by government-sponsored health organizations in the US and the Netherlands.

Studies on Cinnamon Nutrition

The first study of cinnamon as a treatment for diabetes tested daily consumption of 1, 3, or 6 grams (1 gram = 1,000 mg) of cinnamon or a placebo every day for 40 days. The Pakistani researchers found that among diabetics who used cinnamon:

- Fasting glucose was lowered 18 to 29 per cent. For most diabetics, this would be something in the range of 30-50 mg/dl, or 1-2.5 mM.
- LDL, or "bad," cholesterol fell by 7 to 27 per cent.
- Total cholesterol fell 12 to 26 per cent without any loss of the protective HDL cholesterol.
- Fasting triglycerides fell 23 to 30 per cent.

The benefits of using cinnamon continued even after supplementation was stopped. That means, if you used cinnamon regularly, you do not necessarily need cinnamon every day to receive the full benefits for blood sugar regulation and lowered levels of LDL, cholesterol, and triglycerides. In the interest of full disclosure, however, it is important to note that one recent study did not find the benefits of cinnamon to accrue in just 14 days. It is apparently necessary to use cinnamon in food for at least 40 days before you can "take a day off" and still get the protective benefits.

At least 52 studies have looked at various aspects of cinnamon and blood sugar regulation since the publication of the Pakistani study in 2003. Much of the criticism of cinnamon has been based on the entirely factual assertion that cinnamon alone is not enough for "tight control" of full-blown diabetes. For diabetics, cinnamon should be apart of a mixture of different avenues of treatment. People who take medications, like insulin and blood thinners, need to consult with their doctor before taking large amounts of cinnamon.

Cinnamon Nutrition in Smoothies

More cinnamon is not necessarily better. The optimum dose is 3 grams a day, not one or six. That's a little less than a teaspoon of cinnamon, about the amount you would use in a large smoothie.

If you are interested in saving money, buy your cinnamon in bulk amounts. Make sure to store your extra cinnamon in a closed container for optimum freshness.

Most smoothie recipes suggest adding cinnamon "to taste," but a good place to start is with a level teaspoon of cinnamon for every 2 cups of the smoothie. Adding cinnamon before blending maximizes aroma and flavor, although you can always sprinkle more on top as a garnish.

Selected references:

Jitomir J, Willoughby DS. Cassia cinnamon for the attenuation of glucose intolerance and insulin resistance resulting from sleep loss. J Med Food. 2009 Jun;12(3):467-72. Review.

Kirkham S, Akilen R, Sharma S, Tsiami A. The potential of cinnamon to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2009 Dec;11(12):1100-13.

Solomon TP, Blannin AK. Changes in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity following 2 weeks of daily cinnamon ingestion in healthy humans. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 Apr;105(6):969-76. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

About the author

DaNae desires for you to absorb accurate information on how to easily take care of your family's nutritional needs. As a mother of two young boys, she knows how important it is to incorporate nutrition into a busy schedule.

Visit www.smoothie-handbook.com/free-smoothie-reci... to receive her free Smoothie Handbook Ebook that is packed with fruit smoothie recipes, green smoothie recipes, and even chocolate smoothie recipes! You can also stay up-to-date on top secret tips on smoothie recipes.
Her website contains many different ways for your family to blend in a well-balanced diet in this non-stop world.

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