Written by Blake Cash
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014
Cinnamon has long been a staple in people’s pantries and is common in many recipes, especially sweeter ones. Cinnamon may seem like a simple kitchen staple, but it could have hidden health benefits on top of being delicious. One benefit is the spice’s ability to increase insulin sensitivity as well as regulate blood sugar levels.
So what does this mean? Insulin is a hormone released after eating that allows glucose (your body’s main energy source) to be taken into our cells. Increased insulin sensitivity means that insulin is released more quickly from our cells into the bloodstream. Once insulin is in the blood, glucose is taken from the bloodstream for energy more quickly. Elevated levels of glucose in the blood for long periods of time can leave you feeling hungry, and you might be more prone to overeating.
Making small changes in your diet can make a huge impact on your health. However, choosing to eat healthier foods can seem hard, especially with so many processed foods available with added sugars. Our pallets are used to extremely sweet foods with added sugars, and naturally sweet foods can seem more bitter. Luckily, adding cinnamon to foods with low sugar levels can make them taste sweeter and keep blood glucose levels in check. Putting cinnamon with foods like fruit, unflavored yogurt, or even coffee can keep sugar levels low while adding a great taste.
Apple Pie Greek Yogurt
- 1 tbs. water
- 1 tsp cinnamon + extra to taste
- ½ tbs. honey
- ½ small apple
- ¾ cup plain greek yogurt
- Chop up apple into small pieces.
- Place into microwave safe bowl with honey, ½ cinnamon, and water
- Microwave on high for 1 minute
- Take out of microwave, mix, and microwave 30 seconds more
- Take out of microwave and place in freezer to cool down quickly (about 5 minutes)
- Mix together remaining cinnamon into yogurt, add extra honey if desired
- Take apple mixture out of fridge and mix with yogurt. Serve immediately.
Get creative! Comment with your different twists on the recipe and unique ideas for using cinnamon!
Rajudarai, A.. Amalia, T. Devasenan, D. (2012) Cinnamon in Glycemic Control: Systematic Review and Meta Analysis. Clinical Nutrition, 31, 609-615.