Tired of being betrayed by diabetes meds? Try cinnamon instead.
The aromatic spice doesn't just taste great--it's also one of the best natural ways to lower your blood sugar levels, and a new double-blind placebo-controlled study confirms it.
It might even improve your blood pressure levels, too.
Just one word of caution before we continue: You won't get these benefits from a trip to Cinnabon!
Researchers from Imperial College London assigned 58 patients with type-2 diabetes and an average age of 55 to either two grams of cinnamon supplements a day or a placebo for 12 weeks.
They found that those taking the supplement reduced their glycated hemoglobin levels from 8.22 percent to 7.86 percent and enjoyed a small-but-real decrease in blood pressure, shaving 3.4 points of their systolic and 5 points off their diastolic readings.
Those who took the placebo, on the other hand, actually battled an increase in blood sugar levels--their glycated hemoglobin levels rose from 8.55 to 8.68 percent over 12 weeks, and there was no change in blood pressure readings, according to the study in Diabetic Medicine.
It's not the first time cinnamon's been found to have remarkable powers. One study earlier this year found that a daily cinnamon supplement lowered fasting blood glucose levels by an average of 7.5 percent.
In that study, the extract even lowered blood sugar levels by 12 percent two hours after a carb-loaded meal.
And another recent study found that a diet based on antioxidant-rich foods and spices, including cinnamon, can improve cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation markers, lower blood pressure and even boost memory and cognitive function--and you don't have to be a diabetic to enjoy those benefits.
If you want to try a cinnamon supplement for your blood-sugar control, be sure to use a water-soluble extract, which filters out the toxins naturally present in the spice.
And if you prefer your cinnamon as a mulling spice for your wine, there's even more good news for diabetics--because the latest research finds that the wine itself can also help fight the disease.
Especially if you like yours red.
Researchers from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna measured the polyphenols in 12 wine varieties, and found that red wine had the most.
No surprise there... but lab experiments also found that it can act much like the drug Avandia did, at least on a cellular level, and could lead to better blood-sugar control.
In fact, the tests described in Food and Function indicate that the antioxidants in a small glass of red wine could be four times stronger than a regular dose of the drug.
And while Avandia is known for its deadly heart risk, red wine--mulled or not--can actually protect your ticker.
The researchers plan human tests next... and I'll be sure to keep you posted, in between sips.
In the meantime, keep reading for a new study on the types of exercise that can help you control diabetes and reduce your need for meds.