Why cinnamon can fight obesity
One of the oldest spices, cinnamon is a fragrant spice we use in cooking. With its characteristic aroma, flavour and slightly sweet taste it is often used in desserts but widely used in other cuisine too.
Besides cooking, cinnamon also has many health benefits and is highly used in ancient Chinese medicines and Ayurveda to treat various problems.
Known to have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels according to previous research and in combating inflammation and oxidative stress, cinnamon may now be used to fight obesity according to a new research from the Michigan Life Sciences Institute.
Previously researchers noted that cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil that gives cinnamon its aroma and flavour, seemed to protect mice against obesity and hyperglycaemia. But the mechanisms underlying this outcome were not clearly understood.
Human adipocytes from humans of varying ages, ethnicities and body mass indices were tested by treating these cells with cinnamaldehyde.
There was an increased expression of several genes and enzymes which enhance lipid metabolism.
Researchers also noticed an increase in Ucp1 and Fgf21, which are important metabolic regulatory proteins involved in thermogenesis.
Adipocytes store energy in the form of lipids. This was beneficial for our ancestors as they did not have access to high-fat foods and hence the need to store fats. These fats were useful when it was cold to keep the body warm and in times of scarcity, and thus this stored fats induced the adipocytes to convert stored energy into heat.
However, in modern times people store a surplus of energy which is not used often. With the rise in obesity, researchers have been looking for ways to induce the fat cells to activate thermogenesis – the fat-burning process.
Cinnamon seems to have that effect as cinnamaldehyde acts directly on the fat cells or adipocytes and induces them to start burning energy thus improving metabolic health.
As cinnamon is widely available and generally enjoyed by most, it may be easier for patients to adhere to a cinnamon-based treatment than any other traditional drug intervention.
So why not create a few recipes with cinnamon or sprinkle some on your cereal in the morning or indulge in a delicious aromatic cinnamon-based curry or savour the taste of a cinnamon scroll? You have plenty of options to add a bit of cinnamon to your diet which can improve your metabolic health amongst other health benefits.
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