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Cinnamon helps control diabetes

People with diabetes can help keep their bodies healthy by simply adding a dash of spice to their diet, new research reports. Cinnamon contains compounds that help make insulin more efficient, improving the hormone's ability to bring glucose to the cells that need it.

Cinnamon helps control diabetes

People with diabetes can help keep their bodies healthy by simply adding a dash of spice to their diet, new research reports. Cinnamon contains compounds that help make insulin more efficient, improving the hormones' ability to bring glucose to the cells that need it.Type 2 diabetes arises when the body loses sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that shuttles the sugars from food into body cells to be used for energy. As a result, the amount of sugar or glucose, in the blood remains high, leading to fatigue and blurred vision. Over long term, excess blood glucose can increase the risk of heart disease, kidney failure and blindness. Researchers at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland, USA asked 60 people with type 2 diabetes to consume 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon each day for 40 days, or the equivalent amount of wheat flour, as a placebo. Both the cinnamon and wheat flour were administered in capsule form. In the study, diabetics who incorporated one gram (equivalent to less than one-quarter teaspoon) of cinnamon per day for 40 days into their normal diets experienced a decrease in levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood fats
The team found that all cinnamon-takers experienced a drop in blood levels of glucose, fats and cholesterol by up to 30 percent. No change was seen in people taking placebo capsules. Cinnamon contains virtually no calories (less than 3 calories per gram) which is negligible in the total dietary intake. It, however, contains some substances that can be toxic in high amounts, so people should be sure not to get too much of a good thing. The current findings suggest that a small amount of cinnamon can help protect diabetics from these and other potential complications of their condition. Diabetics could add a dash of cinnamon to their morning servings of coffee, orange juice or cereal. Cinnamon may also help stave off the onset of type 2 diabetes in people at risk of the condition.

Diabetes Care, December, 2003
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