You may want to add more cinnamon to the meals you're preparing this holiday season. Findings of a new study have shown that the popular spice can boost metabolism and may aid in weight loss.
Cinnamon And Cinnamaldehyde
Cinnamon, a popular ingredient used in mulled wine, pumpkin spice lattes and egg-nog, has also been associated with reducing risk for diabetes, relieving symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, and lowering cholesterol levels.
In a study published in the December 2017 issue of the journal Metabolism, Jun Wu, of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan, and colleagues looked into the effect of cinnamaldehyde on fat cells of mice and humans. Cinnamaldehyde, is the essential oil responsible for the flavor and color of cinnamon.
Fat cells, also known as adipocytes, store energy in the form of lipids. Our distant ancestors benefited from this long-term storage since there was a greater need to store fat at the time when high-fat foods were scarce. The body uses fat in times of scarcity or in cold temperatures.
"It's only been relatively recently that energy surplus has become a problem," Wu said.
The researchers found that exposure to cinnamon oil triggered the mouse and human cells to burn energy through the process of thermogenesis, which burns calories to generate heat and keep the body warm.
Cinnamon As Treatment For Obesity
The potentials of cinnamon for treating obesity are promising given the obesity epidemic that the world faces. Figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 36.5 percent of adults in the United States are obese.
The condition has been linked to a range of health problems and diseases, which include heart disease, stroke, and cancer. In one study, researchers found that weight problem is one of the top factors that contribute to the development of cancer.
Since cinnamon is already widely used in the food industry, researchers said that it may be easier to convince patients to stick to a cinnamon-based treatment compared with a traditional drug regimen. Cinnamon may offer an approach to metabolic health that patients may find easier to adhere to.
"Given the wide usage of cinnamon in the food industry, the notion that this popular food additive, instead of a drug, may activate thermogenesis, could ultimately lead to therapeutic strategies against obesity that are much better adhered to by participants," researchers wrote in their study.