How and when to consume cinnamon for weight loss

Cinnamon is a spice derived from an evergreen tropical tree species. It is used mainly as a condiment in a variety of dishes. With its therapeutic ingredients and antioxidants Cinnamon can help you lose weight along with other health benefits.

Cinnamon is known to contain Cinnamaldehyde, which is responsible for metabolism and other major health benefits of Cinnamon. It is also heavily loaded with antioxidants like polyphenols. Its powerful enough to be used and utilised as a natural food preservative. Cinnamon has been used for centuries in a number of ways in food and recipes.

Cinnamon is ranked number one as far as the concentration of anti oxidents is concerned amongst all herbs and spices. It is ranked number seven amongst all food available in terms of concentration of antioxidants and health benefits. Cinnamon comes out of the bark or stem of a tropical evergreen Cinnamon tree. The inner bark is collected and the woody parts are removed. The remaining matter is then dried and curled into Cinnamon rolls. It is known to contain forty one health and other beneficial compounds also known as protective health compounds.

Cinnamon however has certain side effects, which everyone should be aware about. Cinnamon alone can’t help you lose weight, it’ll certainly help the process but you still have to stay active, exercise and eat healthy.

Composition of Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains carbohydrates, sugar, dietary fiber, fats and protein. It is known to contain a number of vitamins such as vitamin ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘E’ and ‘K’. It also contains a number of minerals such as iron (7.0 mg/g), zinc (2.6 mg/g), calcium (83.8 mg/g), chromium (0.4 mg/g), manganese (20.1 mg/g), magnesium (85.5 mg/g), sodium (0.0 mg/g), potassium (134.7 mg/g) and phosphorus (42.4 mg/g). Cinnamon consists of 11 % water, 81 % carbohydates including 53 % dietary fiber, 4 % protein and 1 % fat.

Health benefits of Cinnamon

  • Helps in treatment of type 2 diabetes
  • Management of Metabolic diseases
  • Controlling bad cholesterol
  • Contains antimicrobial properties
  • Help in managing HIV                
  • Weight loss
  • Cinnamon is known to clear out the airways and assist in controlling TB / Asthama
  • Cinnamon has properties which aid in cure of common cold and cough and simple allergies
  • –        Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s         :        An enormous part of treating these diseases is symptom management. The symptoms of these two diseases can be managed and controlled with addition of Cinnamon to a regular regime. Cinnamon has shown to help neurons and improve motor function.
  • –        Anti Carcinogenic properties.       Cinnamon extract slows the growth of cancer cells and induces cancerous cell death. Research has shown Cinnamon’s positive effect in treating lung and stomach cancer
  • Anti Inflammatory Properties
  • –        PCOD / PCOS.         Due to its properties Cinnamon assists in reduced insulin resistance in women with PCOD and PCOS. It can also mitigate heavy menstrual bleeding
  • –        Antioxidant benefits          :        Cinnamon helps the antioxidant status of overweight or obese individuals. It helps protect the body from damage from free radicals

Apart from the health benefits listed above Cinnamon is known to assist in prevention of depression, protect teeth and gums, skin health, hair growth and muscle soreness

Types of Cinnamon

There are two main types of Cinnamon that are commonly used.

1.       Ceylon Cinnamon

  • Also called true Cinnamon
  • Sri Lanka is the biggest producer of this kind of Cinnamon. Around 90 % of all Ceylon Cinnamon is supplied by Sri Lanka
  • Made of thin, fragile layers rolled into a quill like shape
  • Comes with a mild, subtle sweet taste with fragrant smell
  • Light brown in colour, crumbles and easily breaks into tiny pieces
  • Contains very less quantity of coumarin around 0.04 %

2.       Cassia Cinnamon

  • Indonesia is the chief supplier of this type
    • Much cheaper than Ceylon Cinnamon. Consists of a hard bark that is spicy and smells pretty strong
    • Contains higher amount of coumarin compared to Ceylon Cinnamon around 4 %

Do’s and Don’t of using Cinnamon

1.       Using the right type of cinnamon

  • Looking at the comparison of both types, you can understand that it is much better to use Ceylon than Cassia
    • With the health benefits that ceylon offers it is clear cut choice for including in your daily routine

2.       Don’t overcook cinnamon

  • Avoid boiling cinnamon for too long
    • Even while cooking or using it as a condiment, don’t overcook it
    • Overcooking isn’t a healthy way to use it

3.       Buy cinnamon in stick form and not in powder form

  • Cinnamon in powder form can easily be adulterated
    • Cassia cinnamon is frequently added in ceylon cinnamon

4.       Don’t make powder in large quantity

  • Shelf life of cinnamon in powder form isn’t very long
    • To avoid wastage, convert cinnamon stick to powder in small quantity
    • This will ensure the cinnamon powder retains it’s taste and all properties

5.       Give break after 7-8 weeks

  • Don’t use cinnamon on prolonged basis
    • It is strongly advised to give a break after 7-8 weeks
    • You can start using cinnamon after a break of 1-2 weeks

6.       Quantity to use

  • The quantity to be consumes also varies with the type of cinnamon you’re using
    • Cassia is to be in very small quantity
    • Ceylon : maximum 1-2 tsp should be consumed in one go

7.       Best time to consume

  • Before a meal is the right time to consume cinnamon
    • You can also use it in between meals
    • Avoid consuming cinnamon after meals

8.       Cinnamon may interfere with some medicines

  • Cinnamon is very beneficial to use, however, if you’re on any medication, it is strongly recommended that you consult a doctor before consuming cinnamon

9.       Look out for allergies

  • If you develop any form of allergy by consuming cinnamon, stop using it
    • Always consult a doctor in case of any allergic reaction

10.     Reduce consumption in summers

  • Cinnamon is excellent to use in winters
    • However, in summers restrict the use to smaller quantities

Side Effects

To start with, Cinnamon should not taken in big quantity. The following should consult a physician before using Cinnamon.

People on blood thinning medication

People with high bold pressure

After surgery

Pregnant Women

People with high acidity

People with excessive heartburn issues

People with liver issues

Breast feeding mothers

Prior to use on skin it is recommended to do a patch test first

Cinnamon is full of nutrients and antioxidants and thus provides multiple health benefits. However, no single food or ingredient can help achieve or maintain our fitness goals. It is thus recommended to maintain a balanced and healthy diet, stay active and indulge yourself with as much physical activity as possible.

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