Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Can Cinnamon Lower Blood Sugar?

Can help to lower blood sugar levels? As early as 2700 BC, Chinese herbalists used cinnamon to help treat stomach and kidney disorders, and later Greek and Indian healers valued it as a remedy for many complaints.

Recent research carried out in Pakistan showed that diabetics who took cinnamon pills for 40 days saw their levels fall by at least 13% and their triglyceride levels by at least 23%. Similarly, research in Germany showed that when adults with type 2 diabetes took the equivalent of 1 g of cinnamon powder three times a day for four months, cinnamon reduced their blood sugar by about 10%, and it is believed that compounds in cinnamon may activate enzymes that stimulate insulin receptors. So this is good news for those who love the taste of cinnamon.

Cinnamon is used extensively in Moroccan dishes, and one of my favorites is the below which is both tasty and healthy. It combines chicken, tomatoes and honey in a dish that is low in fat and rich in protein, antioxidants, potassium and easily assimilated sugars. It is also very easy to make, just needing a stir from time to time.

Chicken with Tomatoes in Honey - Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Handful blanched almonds
4 boneless, skinless chicken pieces, about 10 oz
1 large onion, grated or finely chopped
5 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
Good pinch black pepper
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Heat a pan, add the oil and almonds and saute until golden. Alternatively put the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in a preheated oven, 350 degF, for about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add the chicken to the pan, cover, and saute over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the chicken is golden, reduce heat to medium and let cook, still covered, in its own juices for another 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  3. Stir in the onions and cook for a few more minutes, then add the tomatoes, saffron, pepper and salt. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a separate dish and continue simmering the tomatoes until the liquid has almost evaporated. Season with cinnamon and drizzle all over with the honey.
  5. Return the chicken to the pan, simmer for a few minutes to warm through, then garnish with the almonds and serve with couscous.

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