For dieters, combining two of the world’s oldest foods may help shed pounds. Honey and cinnamon continue to rank high among natural remedies for a variety of aliments and general good health, and one of the benefits of daily use of the two could include weight loss.
Cultures worldwide have long valued honey and cinnamon not only for cooking, flavoring and preserving foods, but also in medicinal and cosmetic preparations and religious ceremonies. Ancient Egyptians revered honey for its healing properties, and incorporated it in many of their cures. Honey and cinnamon also played a role in Egyptian embalming rituals. Cinnamon features in recipes throughout history, as sweet spicy flavoring, and also as an ingredient valued for helping to keep food fresh. Asian cultures considered cinnamon a key to long life, and Medieval Europeans prized it as a seasoning and a remedy.
Holistic health practitioners and natural remedy enthusiasts tout honey and cinnamon as a cure for everything from arthritis, to hair and hearing loss, heart disease, cancer, immune system disorders, colds, and infections. A 2006 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center and a 2008 study funded by the McCormick Science Institute suggest cinnamon may also help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and improve brain functions. There is no definitive research on honey and cinnamon as a weight loss aid. But those who recommend the simple mixture say cinnamon powder and honey prevents fat accumulation, and by regulating blood sugar levels, gives dieters and edge in controlling hunger and lowering their cholesterol.
Follow a simple recipe to use honey and cinnamon for weight loss. Combine 1 tsp. cinnamon powder with one cup of boiling water. Cool the mixture for 30 minutes. Add one 1 tsp. honey and stir until combined. Drink half of the mixture in the morning, before eating, and the remaining half before bed. Repeat daily.
Most cinnamon powder sold in grocery stores and markets is cassia, not “true cinnamon.” The only true cinnamon, commonly called “Ceylon cinnamon,” comes from a related, but different species of plant. Similar in flavor, cassia cinnamon has been shown to have more blood-sugar regulating abilities. Ceylon cinnamon is more expensive and more readily available from online sources or specialty markets. Cinnamon is also available in capsule form, but for the greatest health benefits, use powdered cinnamon or ground cinnamon sticks. Powdered cinnamon–either cassia or Ceylon–is recommended when combining with honey for a weight loss aid.
Honey comes in four basic forms: comb honey, liquid honey, creamed honey (finely granulated honey combined with liquid honey), and chunk honey (comb honey combined with liquid honey). Raw honey is unprocessed and includes parts of the honeycomb and pollen. The flavor and color of honey vary depending on the source of the nectar. There is no specific type of honey recommended as a weight loss aid.
Cinnamon doesn’t contain compounds known to produce allergic reactions. Compared with Ceylon cinnamon, though, cassia cinnamon contains more coumarins, a naturally occurring plant chemical that acts as an anti-coagulant and blood thinner. Prolonged or excessive use of cassia cinnamon could pose a health risk to some persons. High concentrations of cassia cinnamon may also cause liver and kidney damage. Small daily amounts of cassia cinnamon (1 tsp. or less) are considered safe.
Honey can cause allergic reactions to persons sensitive to plant pollens, nectars or saps. Children under age 1 should not be given honey or products containing honey because of the danger of infant botulism. Consult a physician before beginning any natural remedy regimen.
References and ResourcesThe World's Healthiest Foods
Weight Loss Advisor
ResourcesBenefits of Cinnamon
McCormick Science Institute Study