This super spice offers many benefits
If you adore apple pie, make sure it contains plenty of cinnamon. To see why, you need to understand what happens to the apple pie as it enters your digestive system. First, the sugar and starch contained in it get broken down into glucose, which then enters the blood stream. The pancreas responds to the elevation of blood glucose by secreting insulin. The insulin causes the gates of the cells to open to let the glucose in. The glucose in the cells is converted to energy or stored as fat. The level of glucose in the blood is restored to normal.
But people with Type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin. Those with Type 2 diabetes produce it, but have lost sensitivity to it. Even apparently healthy people may suffer from Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT), a pre-diabetic state that is often the harbinger of full-blown diabetes. The result is high blood sugar. Having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious long-term damage to eyes, kidneys, nerves and other organs.
The Cinnamon Connection
The cinnamon in your apple pie can assist body’s natural process of glucose utilisation. The active ingredient in cinnamon that helps achieve this is a water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP. In test tube experiments, MHCP mimics insulin, activates its receptor, and works synergistically with insulin in cells. When diabetics were administered cinnamon, their blood sugar level dropped on average twenty percent after several weeks. And cinnamon offers some added benefits: It is a powerful antioxidant that protects you against damaging molecules called free radicals. It also helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- If you suffer from Type II diabetes or have been diagnosed with IGT, add a half to a full teaspoon of cinnamon powder to your diet. You must, however, continue to follow your doctor’s advice on management of your condition.
- If your blood sugar is normal, take half a teaspoon daily as a diabetes preventive measure and as an energising tonic. You can continue to enjoy a small piece of apple pie once in a while, but as a further preventive measure you should try to eliminate refined carbohydrates from your diet as much as possible.