Is Dalchini Good For Diabetes- Can Cinnamon Lower Blood Sugar?

Reviewed By Dietitian Dt. SEEMA GOEL (Senior Dietitian, 25 Years of Experience) February 7, 2024

Cinnamon, derived from the inner bark of various Cinnamomum tree species, is a versatile spice widely recognized for its aromatic qualities and flavorful contributions to a myriad of culinary delights. From sweet and savory dishes to breakfast cereals, snack foods, and traditional treats, cinnamon has established itself as a cherished condiment globally. Originating from Sri Lanka and also cultivated in India, particularly in the Western Ghats of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, this spice bears the name “Dalchini” in India. Beyond its rich culinary history, cinnamon holds a place of significance in the world of health and wellness. Emerging research has highlighted the potential benefits of dalchini for diabetes control. In this blog, we will explore its nutritional components and investigate the benefits of cinnamon for diabetes.

Nutritional Components of Dalchini

Breaking down the composition of Dalchini, cinnamon consists of 52% carbohydrates, 33% fibers, 3.5% protein, and 4% fat. This breakdown provides a comprehensive understanding of the macronutrients present in this spice, aiding individuals in tailoring their dietary choices.

Nutritional Components of Dalchini
Nutritional Component Amount per Teaspoon
Carbohydrates 2.1 grams
Fibers 33%
Protein 3.5%
Fat 4%
Calcium 26.1 mg
Potassium 11.2 mg
Phosphorus 1.66 mg
Iron 0.21 mg
Vitamin A 0.39 micrograms
Magnesium 1.56 mg
Calories 6.0 calories

1. Calcium:

A teaspoon of ground cinnamon contains 26.1 mg of calcium. Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, and its presence in cinnamon adds a nutritional boost to your daily intake.

2. Carbohydrates:

With 2.1 grams of carbohydrates per teaspoon, cinnamon is a low-calorie spice that can be incorporated into a balanced diet. Understanding the carbohydrate content helps individuals manage their daily intake, particularly those focusing on carb-conscious diets.

3. Calories:

Dalchini contributes a mere 6.0 calories per teaspoon, making it a calorie-friendly choice for those looking to add flavor without significantly impacting their overall caloric intake.

4. Potassium:

Cinnamon contains 11.2 mg of potassium, a crucial electrolyte that helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals in the body. Including cinnamon in your diet can contribute to your potassium intake.

5. Phosphorus:

At 1.66 mg per teaspoon, phosphorus is another essential mineral found in cinnamon. Phosphorus plays a vital role in bone health, energy metabolism, and the synthesis of proteins.

6. Iron:

Cinnamon provides 0.21 mg of iron, a trace mineral necessary for oxygen transport in the blood. While the iron content in cinnamon may be modest, every bit contributes to your overall iron intake.

7. Vitamin A:

With 0.39 micrograms of vitamin A, cinnamon adds a touch of this essential vitamin to your diet. Vitamin A is crucial for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and a robust immune system.

8. Magnesium:

Cinnamon contains 1.56 mg of magnesium, a mineral that supports various bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and bone health.

Read More: 7 Day Indian Diet Plan for Diabetic Patients

Cinnamon’s Impact on Blood Sugar Levels: Cinnamon and Diabetes

Numerous studies have indicated that dalchini is good for diabetes. Let’s take a closer look at the findings:

1. Choosing the Right Type: Ceylon vs. Cassia

Before exploring the mechanisms, it’s important to highlight the significance of choosing the right type of cinnamon. While both Ceylon and Cassia are popular varieties, MedicineNet suggests that Ceylon may be a better choice, especially for those looking to manage blood sugar levels.

2. The Research Findings

Numerous studies have investigated the effects of cinnamon on cholesterol and blood sugar levels. One notable finding by Webmd indicates that cinnamon can reduce cholesterol levels by approximately 18% and lower blood sugar levels by 24%. These results underscore the potential of cinnamon as a valuable addition to dietary strategies aimed at improving overall health.

3. Mechanisms Behind Cinnamon’s Potential

  • Active compounds in cinnamon, such as cinnamaldehyde, are believed to play a pivotal role. Cinnamaldehyde has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, influencing pathways that contribute to glucose regulation.
  • Cinnamon and insulin: Cinnamon may enhance insulin sensitivity, allowing cells to better respond to insulin signals. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with insulin resistance, a common issue in diabetes.
  • Glucose Uptake: Cinnamon may facilitate the uptake of glucose by cells, potentially reducing elevated blood sugar levels. This action is crucial for maintaining a balanced and healthy glucose profile.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Chronic inflammation is associated with insulin resistance. Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties may help mitigate this, contributing to improved insulin function.

Read More: Best Vegetable with Low Glycemic Index for Diabetics.

Varieties of Dalchini

Varieties of Dalchini

When it comes to adding flavor to your dishes and beverages, cinnamon is a popular and aromatic choice. However, not all cinnamon is created equal. Let’s take a look at the benefits benefits of dalchini in diabetes, specifically focusing on two main varieties – Ceylon and cassia – and their potential benefits for individuals managing diabetes.

1. Ceylon Cinnamon:

Ceylon cinnamon, also known as “true” cinnamon, is renowned for its distinct flavor and lighter color compared to its counterpart, cassia. One key advantage for individuals with diabetes is the abundance of antioxidants present in Ceylon cinnamon. These antioxidants play a crucial role in neutralizing free radicals, contributing to an overall reduction in the risk of health conditions, including diabetes.

While Ceylon cinnamon can be a healthy addition to your diet, it’s essential to exercise caution during pregnancy. Consuming excessive amounts, greater than those commonly found in foods, may pose risks. Therefore, pregnant individuals should consult with healthcare professionals before incorporating Ceylon cinnamon into their diet.

2. Cassia Cinnamon:

Cassia cinnamon, the more common variety found in most households, has been the subject of numerous studies examining its potential impact on blood sugar levels. Research, including a 2003 clinical study published in the Diabetes Care journal, suggests that cassia cinnamon may help improve both blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

However, individuals using diabetes medications need to be cautious when incorporating cassia cinnamon into their routine. This variety has the potential to lower blood sugar levels, and combining it with diabetes medications may result in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It’s advisable for individuals on medication to consult with their healthcare provider before making any significant changes to their cinnamon consumption.

Read More: Top 6 Dry Fruits For Diabetics.

Ways To Take Cinnamon For Diabetes

Ways To Take Cinnamon For Diabetes

1. Dalchini-Infused Masala Chai Without Sugar:

This is one of the best way to eat cinnamon for diabetes.

Ingredients:

  • Black tea leaves
  • Water
  • Dalchini (Cinnamon sticks)
  • Elaichi (Cardamom)
  • Ginger
  • Low-fat milk (optional)

Instructions:

  • Boil water and add tea leaves, dalchini, elaichi, and ginger.
  • Simmer for a few minutes to infuse the flavors.
  • Add low-fat milk if desired and continue simmering.
  • Strain the tea and enjoy a flavorful cup without added sugar.

2. Morning Oatmeal with Dalchini:

Stir in a teaspoon of dalchini powder into your morning oatmeal for a natural sweetness without the need for added sugar.

3. Cinnamon-Spiced Yogurt Parfait:

Layer plain yogurt with sliced fruits and sprinkle dalchini on top for a diabetes-friendly dessert or snack.

4. Cinnamon in Curries:

Add a pinch of dalchini to savory dishes like curries for a unique depth of flavor.

5. Cinnamon-Infused Water:

Make a refreshing drink by infusing water with dalchini sticks. This can be a great alternative to sugary beverages.

Read More: Best Indian Diet Plan Chart for Weight Loss

Cinnamon And Blood Sugar: Cautionary Notes And Dosage Guidance

Cinnamon And Blood Sugar: Cautionary Notes And Dosage Guidance

It is crucial to exercise caution and be mindful of the dosage, especially when consuming Cassia cinnamon. 

1. Liver Health Concerns:

Consuming too much Cassia cinnamon can lead to an excessive intake of coumarin, a compound associated with liver toxicity. Studies have shown that exceeding the daily limit may harm the liver, emphasizing the importance of moderation in cinnamon consumption.

2. Cancer Risk:

Animal studies suggest a potential link between coumarin, prevalent in Cassia cinnamon, and an increased risk of certain cancers. While more research is needed to establish this connection in humans, it highlights the importance of being mindful of cinnamon intake.

3. Mouth Sores and Allergies:

Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, a compound that may trigger allergic reactions, causing symptoms like mouth sores, swelling, and itching. Individuals allergic to cinnamaldehyde, often found in cinnamon oil and flavored products, should be cautious to avoid discomfort.

4. Blood Sugar Regulation:

Excessive consumption may lead to hypoglycemia, especially for individuals on diabetes medication. 

5. Breathing Problems:

Inhaling ground cinnamon particles can cause breathing difficulties, especially for individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma. Care should be taken to avoid accidental inhalation, as it may result in coughing and throat irritation.

6. Interaction with Medications:

Although it is advised to take cinnamon to lower blood sugar, cinnamon may interact with medications for diabetes, heart disease, and liver conditions. This interaction can either enhance the medication’s effects or intensify side effects. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advisable for those on medication.

7. Risks of Eating Dry Cinnamon:

The popular “cinnamon challenge,” involving consuming dry cinnamon quickly, can be dangerous. It may irritate the throat and lungs, leading to gagging, choking, and potential long-term lung damage. This emphasizes the importance of responsible consumption.

8. Dosage Guidelines:

While cinnamon, especially Ceylon cinnamon, is generally safe in moderate amounts, it’s crucial to adhere to dosage guidelines. Adults are advised to limit Cassia cinnamon intake to one teaspoon per day, considering its coumarin content. Children may need even lower amounts.

Read More: What are the Glycemic Index and ways to calculate the Gi Value of Food Items?

Quick Cinnamon Guidelines:

  • Prefer Ceylon cinnamon for lower coumarin content.
  • Adults, stick to one teaspoon of Cassia cinnamon daily.
  • Be cautious if prone to allergies; consult a professional.
  • Diabetics, monitor and adjust cinnamon intake accordingly.
  • Avoid excessive dry cinnamon to prevent irritation.
  • Consult for medication interactions and personalized advice.
  • Be cautious with respiratory conditions to prevent issues.
  • Adjust cinnamon for children considering lower tolerance.

Read More: How to Stop Sugar Craving Naturally?

Cinnamon’s potential Benefits for Diabetes

Cinnamon has been studied for its potential benefits in managing diabetes, including type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Here are some key points:

  1. Cinnamon and Type 1 Diabetes: Cinnamon may help improve insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for individuals with type 1 diabetes who often face challenges with insulin production. Some studies suggest that cinnamon may contribute to better blood sugar control, reducing the risk of spikes.
  2. Type 2 Diabetes: Cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels by enhancing insulin sensitivity and improving glucose metabolism. It could also play a role in reducing insulin resistance, which is a common issue in type 2 diabetes.
  3. Cinnamon and Gestational Diabetes: Pregnant women with gestational diabetes may benefit from cinnamon’s potential to regulate blood sugar levels. Some studies suggest that cinnamon may help manage gestational diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.

It’s important to note that while cinnamon shows promise, it should not be considered a substitute for prescribed medications or a primary treatment for diabetes. It’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diabetes management plan. Additionally, individual responses to cinnamon may vary, and more research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness in managing diabetes.

Read More: Best Indian Diet Plan Chart for Weight Loss

Cinnamon for Neuropathy and Cinnamon for Hypoglycemia

Neuropathy and hypoglycemia are two health concerns that have garnered increasing attention, and individuals exploring alternative approaches often find themselves drawn to the potential benefits of cinnamon. In recent years, studies have explored the impact of cinnamon on these conditions, shedding light on its possible role in managing symptoms.

One study, published in the NCBI delves into the potential therapeutic effects of cinnamon for diabetes. The research suggests that cinnamon may have a positive impact on neuropathy and hypoglycemia, offering a natural and complementary approach to traditional treatments.

Neuropathy, characterized by nerve damage, can lead to pain, tingling, and numbness. The compounds found in cinnamon, such as cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties may contribute to reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, potentially alleviating symptoms associated with neuropathy.

Read More: South Indian Diet Plan For Diabetes

Cinnamon And Glucose Levels: 

People can use cinnamon to reduce blood sugar levels, making it a noteworthy consideration for individuals dealing with hypoglycemia. The active compounds in cinnamon may enhance insulin sensitivity, potentially aiding in the regulation of blood glucose levels.

It’s essential to note that while these findings are promising, further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and establish clear guidelines for cinnamon’s use in managing neuropathy and hypoglycemia. Additionally, individuals should consult with healthcare professionals before incorporating cinnamon into their treatment plans, especially if they are currently taking medications or have pre-existing health conditions.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How good is dalchini for sugar patients?

Studies suggest that cinnamon, or dalchini, may have potential benefits for sugar patients by improving insulin sensitivity and helping to lower blood sugar levels. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your routine.

How is cinnamon for type 2 diabetes?

Cinnamon has been researched for its potential to improve insulin function and reduce blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. While it may be a complementary approach, it’s crucial to note that it should not replace prescribed medications or a healthy lifestyle.

What is the recommended cinnamon dosage for prediabetes?

The appropriate cinnamon dosage for prediabetes can vary. It is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the right amount for your specific condition. They can provide guidance on supplementation and monitor its impact on blood sugar levels.

Is it safe to combine cinnamon and metformin for diabetes management?

Combining cinnamon with metformin or any other diabetes medication requires caution. Cinnamon can interact with medications, potentially affecting their effectiveness. It is essential to inform your healthcare team about any supplements you plan to take to ensure proper coordination and adjustment of medication dosages if necessary.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 

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