In this post we will give you the lowdown on the hotly tipped spice that is said to be an aid to weight loss and answer the critical question, will cinnamon help you lose weight?
Cinnamon is a popular and delicious household spice used in both sweet and savory dishes, particularly in baking and curries. It has been used throughout the world for centuries and was once traded as currency. It has a pleasant flavor and warm, fragrant smell.
The spice is obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum, which are small evergreen trees. After the bark has been peeled and laid out in the sun, it will dry and curl up into rolls called cinnamon sticks. It can also be ground down into a powder.
To get the best health benefits and maximise the medicinal value of the cinnamon it must be fresh. Ceylon cinnamon has a sweet, subtle flavor commonly used in desserts, whilst Cassia has a stronger, more potent flavor which favors savory dishes. Most commercial cinnamon is a mixture of the two.
You can find the complete nutritional facts for cinnamon presented below.
Amount per 100 grams
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1.2 g 1%
Saturated fat 0.3 g 1%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.2 g
Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 10 mg 0%
Potassium 431 mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 81 g 27%
Dietary fiber 53 g 211%
Sugar 2.2 g
Protein 4 g 8%
Vitamin A 5% Vitamin C 6%
Calcium 100% Iron 46%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 10%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 15%
*Percentage Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Cinnamon is thought to have a variety of medicinal and soothing effects and is frequently used in Chinese herbal medicine. It is the essential oils contained in the bark that give the cinnamon its distinctive fragrant smell and flavor. The essential oil is called cinnamaldehyde and it is known to have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Cinnamon is also rich in polyphenol antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect the body from disease and can be found in fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, in smaller or greater amounts. The antioxidants in cinnamon have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants are also great for giving us healthy, younger looking skin.
Cinnamon also contains high levels of manganese and small amounts of calcium and fiber.
Key Health Benefits
Cinnamon can promote healthy digestion and has been used for generations in both Eastern and Western medicine to relieve digestive problems. It can be described as a carminative, known for its digestive, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. They believe that the cinnamon’s warmth increases blood flow and improves blood oxygen levels, which in turn helps fight off illness. If you are looking to gain the digestive benefits of cinnamon, you should add cinnamon to a hot drink, perhaps cocoa or tea.
Blood Sugar and Type 2 Diabetes
Research has shown that cinnamon can have a moderate effect on improving glycemic control and management of type 2 diabetes. Having a small amount with your breakfast or in baking can be a useful addition to a balanced and nutritious diet.
Studies have shown that consumption of cinnamon is associated with a reduction in blood pressure. More research is needed on this topic but the initial evidence appears hopeful.
Will Cinnamon Help You Lose Weight?
Cinnamon has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and it can promote healthy digestion. There is also some evidence to suggest that it can help to balance blood sugar levels and promote fat burning. Cinnamon helps balance blood sugar levels and allows your body to better draw on carbohydrate stores, ensuring they do not turn into excess fat. Studies have also shown that consumption of cinnamon is associated with a reduction in blood pressure.
All of this combined means that cinnamon has a positive effect on health, promoting maintenance of a healthy weight. When combined with a healthy diet and exercise regime, it could boost metabolism and be an effective aid to weight loss.
How to Use
Try adding a teaspoon or two to your morning oatmeal. A couple of teaspoons is all you need to start gaining the amazing benefits. Remember that cinnamon is best when fresh so discard your ground cinnamon after a few months, as this is when it starts to lose its flavor.
Sources: USDA and BBC Good Food