Researchers have investigated the “insulin-like” effects of cinnamon for a number of years now, and as a study published in Diabetic Medicine shows, cinnamon keeps proving it’s a viable contender in the fight against diabetes.
Among this spice’s most impressive health benefits is its impact on blood sugar and ability to improve glucose control.
For example, just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day has previously been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Another study found that the spice increased glucose metabolism by about 20 times, which would significantly improve your ability to regulate blood sugar. Cinnamon has even previously been indicated as a potential insulin substitute for those with type 2 diabetes due to a bioactive component with “insulin-like” effects.
Interestingly, cinnamon lowers your blood sugar by acting on several different levels.
It slows the emptying of your stomach to reduce sharp rises in blood sugar following meals, and improves the effectiveness, or sensitivity, of insulin.
It also enhances your antioxidant defenses. A study published last year stated that “polyphenols from cinnamon could be of special interest in people that are overweight with impaired fasting glucose since they might act both as insulin sensitizers and antioxidants.”
Yet another bioflavanoid compound called proanthocyanidin may alter the activity of insulin signaling in your fat cells.
Researchers have suggested people with diabetes may see improvements by adding 1/4 – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to their food, and I see no reason not to give this a try if you enjoy cinnamon (along with doing the other essentials to improve diabetes, including eliminating fructose and grains from your diet and exercising daily).
Other health benefits of cinnamon include:
- Supporting digestive function
- Relieving congestion
- Relieving pain and stiffness of muscles and joints
- Anti-inflammatory compounds that may relieve arthritis
- Helping to prevent urinary tract infections, tooth decay and gum disease
- Relieves menstrual discomfort
- Blood-thinning compounds that stimulate circulation
Clearly, adding ample amounts of cinnamon to your diet is an incredibly inexpensive and great tasting tool for diabetics, and the likelihood of this food causing any long-term complications is very small.
Just remember that unless you’re adding it to a proper diet – high in vegetables and extremely low in fructose and grains — you likely will not experience any benefit whatsoever.
Whole Grains Do NOT Lower Your Diabetes Risk!
Reuters makes a grave mistake when claiming that “the results may explain in part why consuming whole grains, which are rich in magnesium, is associated with lower diabetes risk.”
The results they’re talking about is that people who consumed the highest amounts of magnesium, from foods and vitamin supplements, were half as likely to become diabetics over two decades as those who consumed the least amount of magnesium, according to a recent study.
According to the researchers, magnesium may decrease your diabetes risk because magnesium is required for the proper functioning of enzymes involved in glucose processing.
This has nothing to do with whole grains, and does not support the claim that whole grains are good for diabetics.
In fact, if you’re diabetic or want to avoid becoming diabetic, then grains – including whole grains — are at the TOP of the list of foods to AVOID, right after fructose and other sugars.
Because just like sugar, grains typically are a primary cause of insulin insensitivity, which is at the root of diabetes.
Healthful Sources of Magnesium
As for magnesium, the study found that those who consumed about 200 mg of magnesium for every 1,000 calories consumed were 47 percent less likely to develop insulin resistance and diabetes, compared to those who consumed half that amount of magnesium.
In addition, the researchers also discovered that as magnesium levels rose, markers of inflammation decreased.
Magnesium serves many important metabolic functions in your body, but if you want to increase the magnesium in your diet, please stay away from grains and opt for healthier choices, such as:
- Green vegetables, such as spinach
- Raw broccoli
- Black beans
Beat Diabetes With These Great Food Strategies
Just remember supplements such as cinnamon or magnesium, like drugs, should not be misconstrued as cures. They are safer alternatives than drugs, but you cannot properly address your diabetes if you still maintain a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet — with or without helpful supplements.
Aside from cinnamon and magnesium-rich fare, other foods shown to be particularly beneficial for diabetics include:
Broccoli – Eating broccoli could reverse the damage that diabetes inflicts on your blood vessels. The key is likely a compound in the vegetable called sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane encourages production of enzymes that protect the blood vessels, and reduces the number of molecules that cause cell damage — known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) — by up to 73 percent.
Probiotics – Researchers have found that bacterial populations in the gut of diabetics differ from non-diabetics, and that modifying your gut microflora with probiotics and prebiotics can help improve the health of diabetics.
The Mediterranean Diet – A Mediterranean-style diet rich in vegetables can also help ward off diabetes. The benefits are likely from the use of healthy fats and increased veggies — NOT from the large amount of grains. Swapping out your grains and sugar for high-quality sources of protein, healthy fat (which INCLUDES saturated fat) and vegetables, can set you off on the right path.
New York Times bestselling author Dr. Mercola graduated from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1982. And while osteopaths or D.O.s are licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery just like medical doctors (M.D.s), they bring something extra to the practice of medicine.
Osteopathic physicians practice a "whole person" approach to medicine, treating the entire person — rather than just the symptoms. Focusing on preventive health care, D.O.s help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don't just fight illness, but help prevent it too.
Dr. Mercola is passionate about natural medicine and strongly believes that the current medical system is largely manipulated and controlled by large corporations whose primary focus is profit. His website, Mercola.com, which started as a small hobby interest in 1997, has now grown to today’s number one natural health website educating and empowering millions to take back the control over their own health.
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