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Spice Things Up!

Holiday spice may help combat obesity

Do you love the smell of cinnamon baked goods in the oven? You can feel even better about adding cinnamon to your gingerbread men this season. While we know that this holiday spice, (as little as ½ tsp per day) packs a powerful health punch in lowering cholesterol, glucose, and triglyceride levels, a recent study shows that cinnamon may also have a positive effect on weight.

The University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute discovered the way that cinnamon acts on the human body to protect against obesity and high blood glucose. A recent study found that the oil of cinnamon, the part that gives it it’s flavor (a substance called cinnamaldehyde), acts directly on fat cells by activating fat burning through a process called thermogenesis.

Thermogenesis allows our bodies to produce heat when we digest food or get cold. Because malnutrition was common in our ancestors, our bodies constantly looked for ways to store energy and hold onto fat.  Any fat burning pathway was shut off when the body didn’t need it, in hopes that the energy could be stored for a later time.  Flash-forward to today, where a surplus of energy is more common, researchers are now looking for ways to activate these pathways even when the body shuts them off.  Dr. Wu, a lead investigator in this study, suggests that researchers believe cinnamon may offer this activation method.

Although Dr. Wu and his team mention that more research is needed in this area – it wouldn’t hurt to add a little cinnamon to your oatmeal or apple cinnamon breakfast muffins this December.  We think our Banana Apple Crisp and Banana Blueberry Coffee Ring are two excellent ways to add a sprinkle of spice to improve your metabolism.

Published December 1, 2018

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