Cinnamon could help prevent diabetes and heart disease, say scientists.
A study found that a cinnamon-water solution contains antioxidants that can cut the chances of getting either disease by up to 23 per cent.
Researchers at the Centre for Applied Health Sciences in Fairlawn, Ohio, USA studied 22 'pre-diabetic' obese people. Pre-diabetes occurs just before the onset of full-blown diabetes. Half the participants were given 250mg of water-soluble cinnamon to take everyday, the other half had a placebo. Sufferers become resistant to higher-than-normal levels of insulin - the hormone used to regulate blood-sugar levels - produced by the pancreas.
Blood was collected at the start and end of the survey, published by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, with the cinnamon drinkers recording a 13 to 23 percent increase in antioxidants linked to lowering blood-sugar levels.
Richard Anderson, who led the study for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told the Journal of the American College of Nutrition that more research was needed into the effectiveness of cinnamon juice in preventing diabetes and heart disease.
He said: "Only more research will tell whether the investigational study supports the idea that people who are overweight or obese could reduce oxidative stress and blood glucose by consuming cinnamon extracts that have been proven safe and effective. In the meantime, weight loss remains the primary factor in improving these numbers."