Cinnamon: A Power-Packed Spice for Diabetics

Cinnamon is known for its spicy taste and comforting, warm scent, but did you know it also holds medical power for diabetics?

A study in Diabetic Medicine showed that cinnamon is a powerful natural agent for stabilizing blood sugar by controlling blood glucose. Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day has been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Combined with proper nutrition and exercise, cinnamon can help diabetics improve their health.

Here are five ways cinnamon can help your metabolism:

  1. Cinnamon improves the effectiveness of your body’s insulin while slowing the stomach’€™s emptying of food, thereby reducing sharp spikes in blood sugar following meals.
  2. Cinnamon includes a bioflavonoid called proanthocyanidin that may alter fat cells€™ insulin-signaling activity. Cinnamon also has “€œinsulin-like effects”€ thanks to a bioactive compound, making it a potential natural substitute.
  3. Cinnamon improves blood sugar regulation by increasing glucose metabolism by 20.
  4. Cinnamon enhances antioxidant defenses. According to a 2009 study, polyphenols from cinnamon might act as both insulin sensitizers and antioxidants, making them of special interest to overweight individuals with impaired fasting glucose.
  5. Cinnamon also supports digestive function, stimulates circulation with blood-thinning compounds, and relieves pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, among other health benefits.

Adding cinnamon to your diet is a cheap, healthy and flavorful way to prevent or combat type 2 diabetes. Holding diabetes at bay never tasted so good!


Priming Your Pump with Proper Nutrition

Fueling your body properly is a two-step process. It’s important to eat the right things,€“ but it also makes a difference to eat at the right time. Men’€™s Health recently featured “A Day of Perfect Eating”€ on its website. Here are some of the tips given to help you perform to your prime:

  • Start your day with a protein-heavy breakfast within an hour of waking up. This revs your metabolism and will help keep you feeling full. Eggs are a great choice; protein fragments contained therein may curb blood pressure from rising.
  • If you’€™re feeling stressed out, set down your coffee cup and reach for a pack of gum. Chewing has been shown to reduce stress levels, possibly due to the motion’s positive association with mealtimes.
  • Focus need a boost? Have a mug of peppermint tea. Periodic whiffs of peppermint have been shown to improve concentration and performance on tasks requiring sustained attention.
  • Power your system with a lunch of salmon (or trout or halibut -€“ these fish help keep you alert), blueberries (a great antioxidant), steak (the B-12 helps fight age-related brain shrinkage), garlic (which ups your brain’€™s serotonin and improves memory), or Brazil nuts (which has selenium that preserves cognitive functioning).
  • Turn up the heat to combat a headache. Capsaicin, which is what gives chilies their heat, can deplete the neurons that trigger headaches,€“ but not by consumption. Instead, add a little cayenne powder to warm water and let it settle to the bottom. Then dip a swab of the solution inside your nostril on the side of the pain. It might burn a bit but is worth a try.
  • Keep your immune system strong with ginseng pills and foods rich in vitamin C. Canadian researchers found that people who took 400 mg of ginseng extract each day had 56 percent fewer recurring colds than their placebo-popping counterparts. Vitamin C’€™s been known to shorten the duration of symptoms when fighting a bug. Kiwis, oranges, and red bell peppers are great Vitamin C food options.
  • Need a quick snack before the gym? Eat half an apple and a shot of espresso for fast energy. According to Australian researchers, caffeine paired with carbohydrates boosts the rate at which the body replenishes its glycogen stores post-workout, compared with carbs alone.
  • Having a tough time falling asleep at the end of a long day? Drink some cherry juice. Carbohydrates can help boost your brain’€™s production of serotonin, helping you sleep deeply and well.


Clean Green with Four Home Remedies

Everyone wants to save money, and if you can save money and help the environment that’s a win/win. I ran across these tips which I thought would be a great idea to pass along.

While “going green” may be all the rage these days, there’€™s no need to purchase fancy chemical-free cleaners at the store. Green cleaning can be as easy as opening your cupboards and unleashing the cleansing power contained in these four ingredients you probably already have at home:

  • Lemon Juice -€“ The citric acid in this fragrant fruit has a natural ability to cut through hardened food spills. Just add lemon juice to water, bring it to a boil, and then wipe down the messy surface with a rag soaked in the lemon water. This works especially well in the microwave after boiling the water in it. Make your own furniture oil by mixing one part lemon juice to an equal part of olive oil. Apply the solution to wooden furniture, let it soak for a few minutes, and then wipe dry with a clean cloth.
  • Baking Soda -€“ This powdery white substance’€™s domestic benefits extend far beyond baking and absorbing odors. A hardened crust on a pot or pan can come clean by filling the pot with 2 Tbsp. baking soda per quart of water and boiling. After turning off the heat and letting the pan cool, the crust should lift right off. Baking soda also works to clean a greasy stove by soaking drip pans in a solution of ½ cup of baking soda per gallon of water.
  • Table Salt – To get coffeepots and percolators clean, fill them with water and add 4 Tbsp. of salt. Bring the water to a boil, let it cool, and then pour it out and rinse well. Salt also does wonders for common household metals. Rust will come off of tinware when it’s rubbed with a peeled potato dipped in salt. When mixed with vinegar, salt can polish brass; mixed with lemon juice, salt cleans copper.
  • White Vinegar -€“ When it comes to cleaning, white vinegar has been proven to work just as well as chlorine, minus the harmful chemicals. To combat soap scum, apply hot vinegar to it with a rag or sponge and then scrub with a stiff-bristled brush. Mopping the floor can be done with a bucket full of hot water, 1 cup vinegar, and a drop of dish soap or Murphy Oil. Dusting is a cinch when you dampen a dust-cloth in a solution of ¼ cup vinegar plus a few drops of olive oil. Adding white vinegar to the rinse compartment of your dishwasher will guarantee a spot-free clean.


Shake up the grocery shopping routine

Tired of the same old, same old? Here are some out-of-the-box eats to incorporate into your diet, along with some stand-byes with benefits just too good to ignore:

WATERMELON If you need an excuse to load up on this summer favorite, here’€™s one: watermelon contains lots of nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants like lycopene and vitamin C. As if that wasn’€™t enough, it’€™s 92 percent water, meaning it will full you up with minimal calories.

JICAMA €“ While this Mexican turnip may look like a fuzzy brown lump, beneath the surface is a fiber-packed snack that can work wonders for weight loss. With a high fiber-to-sugar ration and plenty of potassium (which the body requires for maintaining its water balance) -€“ not to mention a delicious, light taste and crispy crunch -€“ jicama is a winning snack to work into your diet.

NUTS There are few foods smarter than nuts. Not only are nuts like almonds and pistachios packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, which help you control your appetite while lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes, but they also contain protein that will keep you full AND increase your calorie burning potential for up to three and a half hours. Other nut benefits include increased vitamin E levels along with improved memory and performance. Not all nuts are created equal, so be sure to check out what’€™s best for your goals.

PURPLE CARROTS If you think regular ol’€™ carrots are a healthy eat, just wait until you try their purple cousins! In addition to the beneficial phyto-chemicals contained in the orange variety, purple carrots contain anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants with anti-aging properties.

MANGOES These delicious fruits hold a number of benefits in their juicy orange flesh. Sweet enough to curb sugar cravings, mangoes are also high in fiber, iron, magnesium and antioxidants. They also aid in digestion, so make sure you opt for the fruit over just the juice.

EGGS The incredible, edible egg is making a comeback among fitness circles. Several studies have shown that egg protein outperforms other proteins in boosting muscle strength and development, thanks to its high concentration of the amino acid Lucine. Egg protein also helps curb hunger over a sustained period of time while providing plenty of energy.

MULBERRIES Change up the summer berry routine with this power-packed fruit. Like most berries, mulberries are low in calories, but these winners also contain plenty of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and the phyto-nutrient resveratrol, which has been shown to protect the heart.

WHOLE GRAINS€“ While whole grains aren’€™t news, this research is: after analyzing the diets of more than 27,000 people across an eight-year span, Harvard University researchers found that those who ate whole grains daily weighed an average of 2.5 lbs less than those who ate only refined-grain foods. Researchers at Penn State University additionally found that those who ate whole grains lost 2.4 times more belly fat than their refined-grain-eating counterparts. This makes sense when considering how whole grains favorably affect blood-glucose levels, keeping your body from blood sugar spikes. Whole grains’€™ antioxidants help control inflammation and insulin (which the body uses to store belly fat).