Of all the spices in your larder, cinnamon is probably the one with huge heart-protective benefits. Its high antioxidant potential can help counteract oxidative stress of blood cells, thus lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improving the overall lipid profile. Cinnamon can also fight inflammation linked to obesity and keep you from developing related heart problems.
That pinch of cinnamon you add to your desserts or coffee could be silently helping your heart health without even knowing it. Research now confirms that cinnamon is a great spice to include in your healthcare regimen, especially if you want to work on cardiovascular health.
Antioxidants For Heart Health
According to the American Heart Association, getting in more antioxidants through your diet can help with cardiovascular health. They also suggest these antioxidants should come from your food rather than supplements, due to the possible side effects of taking pills.1
Cinnamon contains flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that can do your body a world of good. Acting to counter oxidative stress, they are anti-inflammatory and lower risk of a range of ailments including heart disease.2
Lower Blood Pressure
Cinnamon intake can also lower your blood pressure.3 The cinnamaldehyde in the spice causes dilation of your blood vessels (vasodilatation), which in turn eases high blood pressure.
Multiple animal studies have found it can expand vascular smooth muscle. Researchers suggest that cinnamon can help pre-empt hypertension in anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes due to this effect.4
Improve Lipid Profile
Keeping track of your lipid profile is important if you need to stay heart healthy. All parameters, whether it is your triglycerides or your cholesterol, must be kept in check. Too much of the bad LDL cholesterol building up in your arteries is a recipe for heart disease. And cinnamon helps you prevent that.
Researchers found that regular intake of cinnamon over 12 weeks brought down total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol levels in test subjects.5
If you have hyperlipidemia, a condition that causes you to have excessive levels of cholesterol, fats, and triglycerides in your blood, cinnamon intake can offset some of the damage.
An aqueous extract of cinnamon was used in one animal study to battle hyperlipidemia successfully. Lipid metabolism improved while insulin resistance came down in test subjects.6
Lower Risk Of Heart Problems In Diabetics
For people with type 2 diabetes, having cinnamon every day can help lower triglycerides, the bad LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels (all risk factors for developing heart disease), in addition to lowering blood glucose levels. This makes it invaluable to diabetics who are already at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease than a normal healthy individual.
One study found that as much as 6 gm of the spice taken daily can bring on these effects, reducing risk due to these parameters.7
Fight Inflammation, Obesity, And Metabolic Disorders
If you have a weight issue linked to a metabolic disorder or problems like insulin sensitivity, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or diabetes, cinnamon can help by tackling inflammation linked to obesity. By easing the pressure of excess weight, you take some pressure off your cardiovascular system.8
Cinnamon can even help prevent metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance in the first place.9According to one report, 1 to 6 gm of the spice taken daily can lower your mean fasting serum glucose levels significantly in around 40 days.10
All in all, there are plenty of reasons to turn to cinnamon as your spice of choice. So open up that bottle and enjoy the heady aroma of cinnamon in your food and drink!
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Can antioxidants in fruits and vegetables protect you and your heart? American Heart Association.|
|2, 4.||↑||Rao, Pasupuleti Visweswara, and Siew Hua Gan. “Cinnamon: a multifaceted medicinal plant.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014 (2014).|
|3.||↑||Ranasinghe, Priyanga, Shehani Pigera, GA Sirimal Premakumara, Priyadarshani Galappaththy, Godwin R. Constantine, and Prasad Katulanda. “Medicinal properties of ‘true’ cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a systematic review.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 13, no. 1 (2013): 1.|
|5.||↑||Askari, Faezeh, Bahram Rashidkhani, and Azita Hekmatdoost. “Cinnamon may have therapeutic benefits on lipid profile, liver enzymes, insulin resistance, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease patients.” Nutrition research 34, no. 2 (2014): 143-148.|
|6.||↑||Sheng, Xiaoyan, Yuebo Zhang, Zhenwei Gong, Cheng Huang, and Ying Qin Zang. “Improved insulin resistance and lipid metabolism by cinnamon extract through activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors.” PPAR research 2008 (2008).|
|7.||↑||Khan, Alam, Mahpara Safdar, Mohammad Muzaffar Ali Khan, Khan Nawaz Khattak, and Richard A. Anderson. “Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes care 26, no. 12 (2003): 3215-3218.|
|8.||↑||Aggarwal, Bharat B. “Targeting inflammation-induced obesity and metabolic diseases by curcumin and other nutraceuticals.” Annual review of nutrition 30 (2010): 173.|
|9.||↑||Qin, Bolin, Kiran S. Panickar, and Richard A. Anderson. “Cinnamon: potential role in the prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.” Journal of diabetes science and technology 4, no. 3 (2010): 685-693.|
|10.||↑||Anderson, Richard A. “Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 67, no. 01 (2008):48-53.|