Are you adding extra cinnamon to your food or taking it as a supplement? In addition to yummy-fying your oatmeal or smoothies, here's what cinnamon does for you:
- Slows stomach emptying rate so blood sugar is more stable
- Some studies report it lowers blood sugar, but there is not enough evidence that it is reliable and effective for controlling blood sugar in type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- Anti-clotting effect on blood platelets
- Most cinnamon found in your local supermarket is a variety called Cassia cinnamon
- Cassia cinnamon contains a naturally occurring compound called coumarin
- Coumarin tastes good, so until 1954 it was added to food products such as vanilla extract
- In 1954 the FDA banned coumarin after researchers found it causes liver damage in animals
- A 2006 meta-analysis published in the journal "Food and Chemical Toxicology" concluded that while a clear link exists between coumarin and liver cancer in animals, it's safe for human use in dietary quantities BUT CAN BE PROBLEMATIC WHEN TAKEN AS A SUPPLEMENT
- There is another variety of cinnamon called Ceylon, which is native to Sri Lanka and also grown in Madagascar and the Seychelles
- Ceylon cinnamon contains only a trace, about 0.004% coumarin
- Check not only the front label, but the ingredient list on the back. Make sure it's 100% Ceylon.
- You probably won't find Ceylon in the supermarket
- I buy Ceylon in bulk from Amazon. When I open the sealed bag it comes in, I transfer it to glass pyrex containers and keep in my kitchen cupboard.
- You'll find organic cinnamon in health food stores, but don't confuse this for Ceylon. For example, the following bottles are Cassia cinnamon, not Ceylon: