Who doesn’t love Cinnamon? This fragrant spice is warming, sweet, and the perfect addition to all kinds of sweet and savoury dishes. And to top it all off, it’s an impressive superfood as well. From its ability to fend off the flu to its potential for reducing inflammation, Cinnamon powder has been linked to a huge range of incredible health benefits.
But perhaps most impressive of all, is its reported ability to reduce the risk of heart disease. Here, we delve into Cinnamon’s heart protecting properties, exploring the numerous ways this super spice can help keep you healthy.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease is the world’s biggest killer, accounting for 31 per cent of global deaths. But what causes heart disease in the first place? In the case of coronary heart disease (CHD), the main cause is a build-up of cholesterol plaque inside the arteries. Over time, this build-up can partially block the artery and inhibit blood flow through it.
On top of that, research is increasingly pointing towards inflammation as a root cause of heart disease. Inflammation causes irritation of the inner lining of the coronary arteries, and occurs when the body tries to fight off the damage caused by plaque build-up.
Heart disease may be one of the world’s biggest killers, but luckily it’s also among the most preventable. Research suggests that a healthy diet rich in whole foods, as well as regular exercise, can help keep your heart healthy and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Not to mention the potential of superfoods like Cinnamon, to target the main causes of heart disease, and help promote overall health.
Cinnamon and heart disease
Cinnamon has long been linked to many incredible health benefits, but it’s only in recent years that its potential for treating heart disease has been revealed. In one of the biggest animal studies into the superfood to date, researchers found that Cinnamon helped lessen the risk of cardiovascular damage from a high-fat diet. The researchers gave Cinnamon supplements to rats for 12 weeks alongside a high-fat diet.
After the trial period, the rats that were fed the Cinnamon weighed less, with healthier levels of insulin, fat and sugar in their blood than those that were fed only a high-fat diet.
The antioxidant power of Cinnamon
The key to how Cinnamon works to help prevent heart disease lies in its antioxidants. The researchers in the 2017 study found that the rats that were fed Cinnamon had far more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecules in their blood than the other group. This suggests that antioxidants – or to be more precise, polyphenols – may be at the heart of Cinnamon’s heart protecting potential.
According to the co-author of the study, Vijaya Juturu, Cinnamon’s ability to lower cardiovascular risk factors associated with a poor diet comes from a polyphenol that is rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Making the most of superfood Cinnamon
It couldn’t be easier to make the most of Cinnamon, thanks to its irresistible taste and fragrance. Why not sprinkle some on your porridge, use it in your healthy bakes, or even add a spoonful to a warming curry? With so many delicious options, enjoying the heart healthy benefits of Cinnamon is simple. Just make sure you invest in the best – always try to use Ceylon Cinnamon instead of Cassia for the most impressive health benefits.
For more natural ways to protect your health, check out our article on Baobab’s ability to lower blood sugar levels.