For Your Health

Cinnmply Marvelous

Chad W. Lutz
When looking for ways to lose weight people often turn to crash diets and workout fads that leave them just as confused about weight loss as they were before they started. From Yoga and Pilates to the South Beach and Adkins Diets, there are literally thousands of ways to shed some extra pounds. What most weight-loss hopefuls don’t understand is that many, if not all of these diets and exercise programs, take a great deal of discipline, and more often than not, a complete change in lifestyle. That’s just for starters.

These days it hard to know who to believe when it comes to weight loss and there’s almost too much hype out there about what to eat, how to eat it, and even when to eat. The age-old mantra, “chew your food before you swallow,” suddenly comes to mind, but almost seems too simple in this cyber jungleland. Some suggest small, sustained meals throughout the day. Others preach portion size and taking more time to enjoy your food, rather than just wolfing it down. Some give tips on little things you can do to meals; like using non-stick spray or olive oil rather than butter to grease pans and dishes. There’s the Bowflex, P90X, Tae Bo, the Perfect Push-Up, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, calorie logs, running journals, nutrition labels, doctor’s orders; with this much information heads can spin and leave people wandering around like chickens with their (well, you get the idea).

Probably the understatement of the year, weight loss programs can be demanding. They make us sweat. They make us squirm. They can sometimes even make us bleed. This is a lot for anybody to sign on for, especially if you’re only looking to shed a few pounds. Recently, however, researchers and scientists have discovered that a common, every day spice most people generally have lurking somewhere deep in the back of their pantry or cupboards yields amazing health benefits when added to your daily diet. Believe it or not, it’s cinnamon.

Everyone knows it for its ability to make tasty pastries and delicious treats, but now researchers are saying that it’s actually quite beneficial (for your health!). Though no miracle cure by any means, trials and tests have alluded to cinnamon’s ability to help you get in shape, lose pounds, and lead to an overall healthier you. While it may not be able to fight off giant manta rays from outer space by the thousand (wouldn’t that be sweet!), cinnamon is said to have remarkable properties when it comes to regulating blood sugar.

By adding just a quarter, to one full teaspoon of cinnamon to your daily diet, studies have shown that the special spice contains certain antioxidants that can help regulate blood sugar by slowing the emptying of the stomach. The introduction of these antioxidants into the circulatory system during digestion reduces the rise of blood sugar levels directly after eating. At high levels, blood sugar contains compounds that are harmful to the body. The damage these compounds can cause has been directly linked to diabetes-related health complications, including kidney and liver damage. Not only can regular cinnamon use reduce the risk of this, it can also help lower blood sugar levels overall, giving people a clear advantage when it comes to managing their weight.

High blood sugar levels are responsible for making us feel like we’re hungry when we’re not. They can make us feel like we can take on the world one minute and send us crashing through the floor the next. One of the best ways to get a handle on our health is to regulate the intake of blood sugars, and by adding a simple dose of cinnamon to our diets daily, may be all the advantage we need to start leading happier, healthier lives as Buckeyes.

Another way researchers say cinnamon helps give us the one up on our health is to sniff it. (Glue lovers rejoice; let the weaning begin!) That’s right. The odor of cinnamon alone has been shown to improve brain function and cognitive awareness just by smelling it. It is said to make those who ingest the scent more alert and energetic, and has even been shown to decrease the effects of fatigue. In a 2004 article on Nutra about a study using chewing gum, Lindsey Partos revealed participants who chewed gum containing cinnamon actually showed improvement in their “cognitive processing” abilities, as opposed to those who chewed flavorless gum. So for those of you who feel a little less ridiculous chewing the spice than huffing it, this might be the way to go.

Let’s face it: Ohio is no Charles Atlas when it comes to health. Sure, we may pump out some of the best and brightest athletes in the world (well maybe not the brightest :cough: Lebron James :cough:). We even call home to some of the best hospitals in the world. Recent statistics, however, have us ranked as one of the fattest states in the nation. As of now we rank the 13th fattest state in the country with 29% of Ohioans tipping the scale as obese in 2009.

With spring just around the corner, many of us are currently in the process of trying our best to shed a few pounds before the winter months wean. Some of us may even be gearing up for the fight of our lives in the battle of the bulge. Either case, having the right tools is an important part of being able to manage one’s weight and gives us the advantage when it comes to taking control of your health and, more specifically, your life. It’s going to take more than adding a tiny spoonful of cinnamon to our diets once a day, but it’s a good step in the right direction, and all it takes is one.

For Your Cinnamon
* Image from Google Images