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A More Powerful Antioxidant than Fruits and Veggies?

We’ve talked all about the benefits of antioxidants.  

And of course you can load up on them by eating plenty of dark colored fruits and veggies.  

But there are these “weird” super sources of antioxidants that until recently have been flying under the radar.

What are these “weird” sources?

Herbs and spices.  

Because they’re derived from plants, they share many of the same benefits…

…but, because they’re dried, they are a concentrated source of powerful antioxidants.

When I say powerful – 1 tsp of cinnamon has a higher ORAC score, which is a measure of a foods antioxidant status, than blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries.  

In fact, cinnamon has the most antioxidants of any spice or herb.

Today we’re talking specifically about cinnamon because it’s not just high in antioxidants, it may actually help control blood sugar too … all leading to a healthier heart!

One study published a few years ago gave people with type 2 diabetes either 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon (NOTE: 1 tsp = approximately 3 grams).

The subjects were supplemented for 40 days and their blood work was measured again.  All three levels of cinnamon significantly reduced the blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL (“bad” cholesterol), and total cholesterol.  

Pretty impressive for the addition of a common spice, right?

More data needs to be done to see just how much is “best” – until then, we know it can’t hurt to add cinnamon to your diet. 

If nothing else, the antioxidants can improve your health!

All spices and herbs are great because they had a lot of flavor without calories, fat, or sodium…

For cinnamon, try sprinkling it on oats, yogurt, cottage cheese, fruit salad, or in a smoothie.

(Source: Diabetes Care: Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes)


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7 Responses to A More Powerful Antioxidant than Fruits and Veggies?

  1. Kevin Orlin Johnson February 25, 2010 at 6:59 am #

    Are we talking about cinnamon here, or cassia? Almost all of the "cinnamon" sold in the United States is cassia, Cinnamomum aromaticum, not true cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum, at all.  Two different species, with markedly different flavors and biochemistry.

    • Chris and Kara Mohr February 25, 2010 at 7:45 am #

      Excellent question — it seems the different types of cinnamon may have somewhat different properties, but the basic stuff we get at grocery stores seems to at least have those powerful antioxidant properties.

  2. Tracy February 25, 2010 at 7:08 am #

    Another tasty way to use cinnamon.  I put some in a cup of decaf coffee and add some calorie free sugar and it taste's like cinnamon toast without the bread.  Delicious.

  3. Mark February 25, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Does research indicate a threshold level, where you can tip the scale in a negative direction? As "too much of a good thing".

    • Chris and Kara Mohr February 25, 2010 at 11:58 am #

      I don’t know the answer to that — haven’t seen research to measure that. If you are on meds for type 2 diabetes you should talk with your personal MD about dosing and such.

  4. Kristi Jedlicki Levenhagen February 26, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    I put some cinnamon on top of Natural Peanut Butter yesterday, and it was delicious.  This morning, I used it in oatmeal for a bit of flavor, too.  I have seen cinnamon capsules at the store.  What's the verdict on their effectiveness?  Thanks!

    • Chris and Kara Mohr February 26, 2010 at 7:31 am #

      With the capsules you know how much you’re getting (assuming it’s a trusted brand), but because the verdict is still out, I’d opt for exactly what you’re doing … using it to flavor various foods throughout the day.

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