Cinnamon — the sweet-smelling spice that's practically synonymous with autumn — can be used in more than just pumpkin pie and sugar cookies. It can also be used to make a slightly spicy tea, which, depending on your diet, just might help you lose weight.
Cinnamon has long been a staple of traditional medicine, used for more than a thousand years, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The spice comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree and is used in everything from essential oils to supplements to teas.
What Is Cinnamon Tea?
To make cinnamon tea, you can use either cinnamon powder or cinnamon sticks themselves and steep in boiling water. Like most teas, cinnamon tea is usually low in calories; one tablespoon of the spice contains just 19 calories and about 4 grams of fiber. By including this warming beverage in a healthy diet, you might consume fewer calories and ward off weight gain.
Read more: Benefits of Cinnamon Tea
Can Cinnamon Tea Help You Cut Calories?
"Cinnamon tea can be a smart addition to a weight-loss program because it has no calories and tastes subtly sweet," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, author of The Superfood Swap. "If it's replacing higher-calorie drinks or even dessert, it can be a fun, easy way to save calories while still getting great flavor."
For example, compare one cup of cinnamon tea, which contains no calories, to a can of cola, which can contain around 150 calories, according to the USDA. If you replaced one can with one cup of cinnamon tea per day over the course of a year, you'd cut enough calories to lose more than 10 pounds (since it takes roughly a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose one pound of body weight).
Does Cinnamon Tea Contain Added Sugar?
Cinnamon tea is sugar-free — and, even better, it packs a ton of natural flavor into each cup. Compare this to that can of cola, which contains 37 grams of added sugar. Kicking your soda habit and switching to sugar-free drinks instead is a great way to limit your intake of added sugars, which can increase your risk of obesity and tax your heart, according to the American Heart Association. The organization tells women to limit their intake of added sugar to 25 grams (about 100 calories) and men to limit their intake to 36 grams (about 150 calories).
Brewing Cinnamon Tea
You can make cinnamon tea from whole cinnamon sticks, as well as broken pieces of cinnamon and ground cinnamon. To brew a batch from sticks, start by boiling 1 cup of water and one stick of cinnamon for 2 minutes. Then, let the tea steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Or, submerge the cinnamon sticks in boiled water and let them steep for 10 minutes. (If any small pieces of the cinnamon sticks break off, use a strainer to discard them.)
If you decide to use ground cinnamon, add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to 1 cup of hot water. Then, stir to mix thoroughly and let it sit for 2 minutes before drinking. Bonus: "Staying hydrated is always a good idea as part of a weight-loss program," says Jackson Blatner.