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November 18, 2009

Food As Medicine

Barking up the Right Tree

Every once in a while I get really excited about a certain food. Yes, that’s what happens to us nutrition nerds, food excites us. Recently I’ve been using the tasty bark, cinnamon, quite frequently in the “nutrition lab” (the kitchen). It is a delicious adjunct to many dishes and has many great benefits.


I first became aware of its medicinal effects when I spotted it in the “diabetic” section of the health food store. I thought “this is strange, what the flax is cinnamon doing here?”  I investigated further. Cinnamon has been shown, in numerous studies, to help control blood sugar and decrease insulin resistance. US researchers conducted a study that showed a 20% decrease in blood sugar levels with as low as 1 gram per day.

But thats not all. Cinnamon is also great for enhancing digestion. It acts as a carminative (gas reliever) for those who have trouble in this area. It has been shown to be helpful in relieving nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and indigestion. And if thats not enough, take a look at this laundry list.

  • Stops the growth of liver cancer and melanoma cells.
  • Beneficial to the heart, lungs and kidneys.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Propanoic acid in cinnamon prevents stomach ulcers from forming.
  • Can be used topically as antiseptic for cuts and scrapes.
  • Compounds eugenol and geraniol stop the growth of harmful intestinal bacteria.
  • A compound MHCP in cinnamon actually mimics insulin.


  • Put 1-3 tsp. in your oatmeal.
  • Add it to a shake.
  • For indian inspired flavouring, add it to rice along with coriander, cumin, and turmeric.
  • Make fresh apple cinnamon cider.
  • Mix it with honey or nut butter for a great apple dip.
  • Simmer cinnamon sticks with almond/rice milk for a warming drink.

Spice up your life!
– Josh