Many things can introduce toxins into your body. In some cases, they come from external sources. Common examples of this are various forms of chemical or bacterial elements we take in from the environment, food, water, etc. However, several types of toxins also come from the body’s own processes—by-products like ammonia or lactic acid, for instance.
All of these toxins are processed and expelled by a combination of the kidneys, liver, and colon. Even though your body is quite capable of handling these matters on its own, that doesn’t mean it can’t use some help now and then. Let’s look at cinnamon and honey, for example, an all-natural and surprisingly effective detox drink.
Just What Is a Detox?
When used in a dietary sense, a detox is a short-term diet that aims to both minimize your intake of toxins and promote the consumption of antioxidants and other nutrients that help hasten their elimination from the body. A main benefit of undergoing a detox is that it relieves the burden such toxins place on your systems. This burden is not connected to any specific disease or medical condition, but can cause feelings of sluggishness, headaches, and difficulty concentrating.
Seeking an improved sense of general well-being is a common motivator for performing a detox, as the results can be surprisingly potent. Often, those undergoing a detox will report experiencing improved energy levels, better digestion and concentration, and even clearer skin. Not all detox approaches work in the same way or have the same results, but in general, the above is what you can expect.
What’s Special About Honey and Cinnamon?
Honey has some interesting properties that make it a potentially excellent cleansing candidate. The low pH value, thickness, and the hydrogen peroxide produced by its enzymes give honey several antimicrobial properties. In a pinch, honey can actually be applied topically to wounds or to help treat burns. Honey is also known to improve the widening of blood vessels. The strength of this effect from a normal intake won’t remedy high blood pressure, but it serves to promote blood flow and circulation to the organs and is a nice plus in general.
Cinnamon, like honey, has antimicrobial and antiparasitic effects. There is also research that suggests cinnamon can help lower blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation, along with promoting wound healing (just don’t apply it topically). When you add in cinnamon’s antioxidant abilities, it becomes easy to see why it presents a handy candidate for a detox drink.
As an additional consideration, animal studies have shown that cinnamon and honey can help reduce weight gain. In the first study, cinnamon was found to increase the glucose infusion rate—basically the pace at which sugars are processed. This may sound counterproductive, but since a processed (i.e. consumed) sugar is not stored as fat, this could help reduce weight gain. In honey’s case, it was found to reduce the production of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” that governs appetite. Less ghrelin means less hunger and an easier time feeling full.
The Honey and Cinnamon Recipe
The recipe for the honey and cinnamon detox drink is simple. Take one teaspoon honey, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and one cup of water. Combine in a saucepan and boil the mixture. Note that some people prefer leaving the honey out and only adding it in after the water finishes boiling. This is up to your own preference.
Once the water is brought to a boil, pour it into two half-cups. Drink one in the morning and one before bed. Alternatively, the honey and cinnamon can be mixed into a cup of green or black tea in place of sugar or sweetener.
There are a few things to keep in mind before trying a honey and cinnamon detox. One of the common commercially available types of cinnamon—Cassia—contains distinct levels of coumarin, which is known to cause liver damage. A teaspoon of ground cinnamon contains slightly over the recommended amount, but should not cause any health effects unless taken over a period of a week or more. Alternatively, Ceylon cinnamon has negligible levels of coumarin in it and can be taken safely over any period.
Additionally, detox diets tend to take your body by surprise when you first start them. It is common, for instance, to experience headaches shortly after beginning. Children and pregnant or nursing women shouldn’t undergo a detox and anyone with a liver or kidney disease should only do so with medical supervision. As always, be sure to consult with your doctor about possible side effects before beginning any detox diet or alternative treatment.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Couturier, K., C., et al., “Cinnamon Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Alters the Body Composition in an Animal Model of the Metabolic Syndrome,” Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 2010; 501(1): 158-61, doi:10.1016/j.abb.2010.05.032.
Larson-Meyer, D. E., et al., “Effect of Honey versus Sucrose on Appetite, Appetite-Regulating Hormones, and Postmeal Thermogenesis,” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2010; 29(5): 482-93.
Mandal, M.D., et al., “Honey: Its Medicinal Property and Antibacterial Activity,” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine 2011; 1(2): 154-60, doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60016-6.
Nemoseck, T. M., et al., “Honey Promotes Lower Weight Gain, Adiposity, and Triglycerides than Sucrose in Rats,” Nutrition Research 2011; 31(1): 55-60, doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2010.11.002.
Ranasinghe, P., et al., “Medicinal Properties of ‘true’ Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum): A Systematic Review,” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013; 13(275), doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-275.
Wong, C., “What Is a Detox Diet,” About.com; http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/dietarytherapy/a/DetoxBasics.htm, last accessed September 16, 2015.