A snack is a portion of food, often smaller than a regular meal, generally eaten between meals. Snacks come in a variety of forms including packaged snack foods and other processed foods, as well as items made from fresh ingredients at home.

Traditionally, snacks are prepared from ingredients commonly available in the home. Often cold cuts, fruit, leftovers, nuts, sandwiches, and the like are used as snacks. The Dagwood sandwich was originally the humorous result of a cartoon character's desire for large snacks. With the spread of convenience stores, packaged snack foods became a significant business. Snack foods are typically designed to be portable, quick, and satisfying. Processed snack foods, as one form of convenience food, are designed to be less perishable, more durable, and more portable than prepared foods. They often contain substantial amounts of sweeteners, preservatives, and appealing ingredients such as chocolate, peanuts, and specially-designed flavors (such as flavored potato chips).

Beverages, such as coffee, are not generally considered snacks though they may be consumed along with or in lieu of snack foods.

A snack eaten shortly before going to bed or during the night may be called a midnight snack.

The Top 5 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

The Top 5 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

You probably didn’t even know cinnamon was good for you! It turns out that cinnamon has some surprising potential health benefits.

#1: Preliminary results from studies have indicated that cinnamon has antifungal, antibacterial and antiparasitic properties. Cinnamon has been found to be effective in fighting vaginal yeast infections, oral yeast infections, stomach ulcers and head lice.

#2: Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties. Many of us eat lots of fried, fatty and processed foods, and these foods cause inflammation of our internal tissues and organs, and this inflammation has been linked to one of the most life-threatening diseases of our time – heart disease. Andrew Weil, M.D. writes on the topic of anti-inflammatory diets as a means of reducing our chances of suffering heart attacks, strokes and heart disease. This is from his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine:

“A growing consensus among cardiologists pinpoints abnormal inflammation in artery walls as a root cause of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.”

So, cinnamon could be a potential ally in our fight to decrease inflammation

#3: Cinnamon may actually help people with Type 2 diabetes control blood sugar levels, and may significantly lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides (fatty acids in the blood). A now almost famous study, was conducted by researchers from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2003 that showed that 60 people in Pakistan who had Type 2 diabetes, who ate 1 gram of cinnamon each day over a period of 40 days, experienced a significant decrease in their blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides.

 


Dr. Frank Sacks, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health warned in a Boston Globe article that people with cholesterol problems should not substitute cinnamon for their prescription cholesterol medications, but also noted  the unusual potency and efficacy that cinnamon seemed to display in the USDA study:

“But it’s also ‘a little weird,’ he said, that the USDA study found that the beneficial effects of cinnamon lasted for at least 20 days after people stopped taking it. ‘I don’t know of any drug or product whose effects persist for 20 days.’”

#4: Cinnamon is an excellent source of manganese, dietary fiber, iron and calcium. The combination of calcium and fiber can help to remove bile, which prevents damage to colon cells, which helps prevent colon cancer. Fiber also can help with the relief of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.

#5: If that’s not enough for you, doctors have performed studies that show that just smelling cinnamon improves our memory and performance of certain tasks. 

 

Please do not …

  • start eating large amounts of cinnamon every day to attempt to extract these health benefits in increasing amounts. Cinnamon is known to be toxic in large doses.
  • abandon your statins and other prescription cholesterol medications in favor of cinnamon. Cinnamon is not yet proven to be as effective at lowering cholesterol levels.
  • start eating a lot of fatty, calorie-dense foods just because they have cinnamon on them or in them.

Please do …

  • enjoy cinnamon occasionally in small amounts and feel great doing so because you now know that something that you love to eat is also providing you more health benefits than you ever imagined!
Copyright © 2017 The Healthy Snacks Blog.