Shake That Cinnamon Shaker

14 November, 2012

Cinnamon and cloves are irresistible flavorings, but they aren't just treats for your tastebuds. They also provide powerful health benefits, like helping the body process blood glucose -- essential to avoiding diabetes. Keep both spices handy for baking, hot drinks, and savory dishes. Cooking with them is as easy as apple pie.

Cinnamon is well known as a stellar antioxidant and a potent germ-killer, and there's a growing body of evidence that shows that a substance in the spice turns on insulin receptors to help the body use glucose. Which is a good thing, because too much glucose in the bloodstream is tough on your organs and a marker of diabetes. Cloves appear to have a similar effect.

So don't save these spices for holiday cooking. You can use cinnamon liberally, but cloves -- ground or whole -- really pack a flavor punch and take a lighter hand. For ways to get more of these good-for-you spices into your everyday life, try these tips: Sprinkle both on fresh apple slices and poached pears.

  • Add cinnamon and cloves to crockpot dishes for an Indian-inspired flavor twist.
  • Add ground cloves to stuffing recipes.
  • Use a cinnamon stick to stir your tea, hot chocolate, or warm soymilk.
  • Sprinkle both spices into muffin batters and on whole-wheat toast.
  • Keep a cinnamon shaker next to the salt and pepper on the table and experiment.
  • Push whole cloves into an onion and place it in turkey or chicken cavities for flavorful roasting.


SOURCES: Activation of insulin-like activity of proanthocyanidins from cinnamon. Lampke, S.M., Pavlovich, J., Polansky, M.M., Anderson, R.A., Graves, D. Experimental Biology 2006 Conference. Tuesday, April 4, 2006. Insulin and cinnamon polyphenols increase the amount of insulin receptor beta, glucose transporter 4, and anti-inflammatory protein tristetraprolin in mouse 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Cao, H., Polansky, M.M., Blackshear, P.J., Anderson, R.A. Experimental Biology 2006 Conference. Tuesday, April 4, 2006. Cloves improve glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Khan, A., Qadir, S.S., Khattak, K.N., Anderson, R.A. Experimental Biology 2006 Conference. Tuesday, April 4, 2006.

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