The paleo diet or the ‘caveman diet’ is based on what our forefathers used to eat before the advent of agricultural practices. This means, it is usually devoid of sugar or refined carbs in any form but has lots of meat, fish, nuts, leafy greens, seasonal fruits, veggies, and seeds. In such a strict diet protocol, there remains no space for foods that are fried, packaged or processed. Although going paleo can be really great for lowering bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, however, it can be too restrictive a diet given its options.
That’s when adding little amounts of spices to your diet can boost its nutritional value while giving you additional health benefits. One such spice is cinnamon.1
Incredible Health Benefits Of Cinnamon
One of the oldest spices in the world, cinnamon is derived from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. With a soothing and strong aroma, it has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Spices are paleo as they are just dried plant products.2
- Being used since biblical times, it has carved a niche for itself amongst humans as a versatile spice. Below are some of its most amazing benefits.
- It is loaded with antioxidants that protect the body from free radical damage and oxidative stress
- It’s cardioprotective in nature and prevents the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides3
- Cinnamon also has the excellent ability to prevent platelet aggregation and clot formation thereby reducing the risk of heart attack or strokes
- Regular intake of cinnamon has shown to improve insulin resistance thereby positively influencing fasting glucose as well as glucose tolerance levels4
- Long-term studies have proven that it can prevent neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease
- Cinnamon essential oil has a strong antimicrobial effect against pathogenic bacteria and fungi
- The extracts of cinnamon has anti-cancer properties and has the proven ability to prevent tumor cell growth
Why Is Cinnamon Essential In A Paleo Diet?
Although the paleo diet is based on minimal consumption of carbohydrates it inadvertently gives a lot of space for consumption of fatty foods like red meat and full-fat dairy. For many, bacon, beef and steak are very common ingredients in their diet, This would lead to a high consumption of saturated fats that can drastically increase the chances of cardiovascular disease by raising cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin resistance.
However, the bright side to this is that researchers have found that adding spices like cinnamon to your paleo recipes can lower bad cholesterol and high blood pressure as well as improve the blood glucose levels. Cinnamon is full of cardioprotective antioxidants can counter the effects of high-fat intake.
It’s important to keep in mind that cinnamon can be irritating to the respiratory system if inhaled or in some cases, it can even cause allergic reactions in the mouth. Therefore, it’s best to add cinnamon judiciously to recipes like cinnamon rolls, chicken, or just a hot cup of tea. A daily intake of a half to a full teaspoon of cinnamon is all that we need. Being a strong spice, it can overpower the aroma of the recipe if used in excess and when consumed in large doses, the coumarin in it can even interact with antibiotics, diabetes medications, and blood thinners. It’s a great spice to enhance the nutritional value of your paleo diet, as long as you use it in moderation.
|↑1||What is Cinnamon? The SUPERFOODS|
|↑2||Rao, Pasupuleti Visweswara, and Siew Hua Gan. “Cinnamon: a multifaceted medicinal plant.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014 (2014).|
|↑3||Khan, Alam, Mahpara Safdar, Mohammad Muzaffar Ali Khan, Khan Nawaz Khattak, and Richard A. Anderson. “Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes care 26, no. 12 (2003): 3215-3218.|
|↑4||Qin, Bolin, Kiran S. Panickar, and Richard A. Anderson. “Cinnamon: potential role in the prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.” Journal of diabetes science and technology 4, no. 3 (2010): 685-693.|