Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live, is answering your nutrition, diet, and health questions.
Want to know which foods to curb sugar cravings? Or, what should you eat before a workout? Ask Keri anything!
Keri will choose one great question a week to be answered Thursday in our Healthy Hollywood column.
To submit questions for Keri, click HERE!
This week's question...
"My friend told me that cinnamon could help me lose weight, so I've been sprinkling it on everything, but I haven't lost a single pound! What gives?" -Amy F., New Jersey
I'm not surprised that you heard this. Word on the street is that cinnamon packs a pretty powerful nutritious punch, though few know what makes this sultry spice such a superstar.
Cinnamon comes in two varieties: Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is the one most commonly used in the U.S. in baking and cooking, and is also most commonly researched.
Cinnaldehyde, an active component in cinnamon, has been to shown to prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets, which has given cinnamon its anti-inflammatory reputation. While studies are not conclusive, cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar levels by decreasing insulin resistance, a possible big thumbs up for all of us, especially those with diabetes. So enjoy your cinnamon, but be careful. While sprinkling a little cinnamon here and there on your food or in your coffee may provide these perks, if ingested in excess, cinnamon can actually be toxic. People with liver damage, in particular, should be careful, as large amounts of cinnamon may actually increase liver problems.
Eating cinnamon isn't the only way to experience its benefits. Ever notice the abundance of cinnamon scented candles hitting the store aisles during fall? Take advantage! Just the scent of cinnamon is enough to curb fatigue, ease frustration, and increase alertness. Cinnamon has been shown to decrease stress and enhance cognitive processing. For a bit of aromatherapy, try placing a cinnamon stick in a pot of boiling water on a low heat.
So, while studies may not be entirely conclusive when it comes to the benefits associated with cinnamon, the potential perks are enough to say shake away, though, as with most things, a little goes a long way. A healthy sprinkle of cinnamon in your morning bowl of oatmeal or over some roasted butternut squash can add a nutritious kick, and can be a great way to replace added sugars for flavor. Who needs sugar or cream when you have that burst of cinnamon in your bowl or on your plate? But don't be fooled: choosing a donut with some cinnamon sprinkled on top over the one without doesn't make the donut any more nutritious, and just because that gigantic Cinnabon has a cinnamon coating, doesn't make it healthy!
As long as you're consuming cinnamon in small, safe quantities (sprinkled throughout your food), you'll reap some of its benefits, but don't count on it melting away the pounds just because you did.
We all know there's no miracle remedy when it comes to weight loss, but that's no reason not to spice up your life.
-- Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman
Copyright 2012 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- Access Hollywood